What's the used Ford Mondeo hatchback like?
Mondeo Man has got lucky in recent years; the Ford Mondeo has gone from strength to strength, maintaining its terrific driving manners while adding progressively more technology and increasingly efficient engines.
This fifth-generation model allies those characteristics to smart looks, in an attempt to beat off competition not only from its traditional rivals like the Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat, but also more upmarket alternatives such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.
However, this is the first generation of the car to really suffer at the hands of the SUV. As these raised up and sporty looking cars have sprung to prominence, vying for the buyers' attention, those looking for a car in which to transport a family with the degree of practicality needed in today's built-up world have turned their backs on the more traditionally shaped cars in the Mondeo's class. As sales of the Mondeo have dropped, so has investment, and the car hasn't enjoyed the steady updates over its lifespan that it should have had.
Looking back over this generation, a vast range of engines is available, with petrols ranging from a 1.0-litre with 123bhp up to a potent but thirsty 237bhp 2.0-litre. If you’d rather a diesel, you can choose between four options ranging from a 113bhp 1.6-litre to a 178bhp 2.0-litre.
The same goes for the trims, which have been cut back over the years to just five, in order to simplify. There's Zetec Edition, ST-Line, Titanium Edition, ST-Line Edition and Vignale. Entry-level Zetec Edition models come with 17in alloy wheels, projector headlights, LED rear lights, parking sensors, cruise control, electrically folding wing mirrors and a Quickclear heated front windscreen included as standard. You also get Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system complete with a DAB radio, sat-nav, Bluetooth and smartphone integration. Upgrade to ST-Line and the Mondeo gains a sportier look thanks to its 18in alloy wheels, a body kit, gloss black exterior trim, sports suspension, front sports seats, alloy pedals and a dark headliner. Bulking out the middle-of-the-range now is the Titanium Edition trim which includes 18in alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, keyless entry and ignition, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, a leather upholstery, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition over the Zetec Edition models. Above Titanium is the ST-Line Edition trim, which sees the Mondeo adorn 19in alloy wheels, a sporty body kit and suspension, tinted rear windows and red interior stitching, while losing the electrically adjustable passenger seat and only receiving a part-leather upholstery. Top of the range Vignale adds 19in alloy wheels, LED headlights, tinted rear windows, a handsfree powered tailgate, a premium leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, a rearview camera and a Sony audio system.
Fortunately, the Mondeo makes a much stronger case for itself out on the road. The ride quality on almost every version is comfortable, while all but the least powerful engines offer a good slug of low-down grunt that makes the car feel punchy and responsive. And with the exception of steering that’s a touch on the light side, the Mondeo handles as well as you’d hope, changing direction deftly and keeping body lean in check remarkably well for such a big car.
Inside, the Mondeo struggles to match up to those premium models; while the dashboard is clearly laid out, it suffers from a few rather shiny-looking plastics, and the infotainment system is sluggish and fiddly to use.
Fortunately, there’s loads of space up front and an enormous boot, and there's plenty of space in the rear too, even for three abreast for shorter journeys. Whatever the fate of the Mondeo over the past few years, and whatever the future holds for it, it's still comfortable and more than spacious enough for most.
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