First Drive

2015 Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 150 AWD review

Fords ever-popular Mondeo is now available with an optional all-wheel-drive system. Is it worth the extra expense over the regular front-wheel drive model?

Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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The latest Ford Mondeo is no stranger to What Car?; we’ve already tried a range of two-wheel drive models. Although there are family cars with better interiors, the Mondeo has traditionally offered good space and driving dynamics at a competitive price.

So why are we looking at Ford’s company car favourite again? The engine may be the familiar 2.0 TDCi diesel but, in this case, it’s powering all four wheels to give greatly improved traction - a topic of increasing concern as we approach winter.

As you may expect, there are penalties for adding AWD. Ticking that box will cost you Β£1500 while fuel economy and CO2 emissions do drop slightly. Even with the improved traction, the added weight means 0-60 mph takes an extra second too.

What’s the Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 TDCi AWD like to drive?

You’d be hard pushed to notice the difference between the front- and four-wheel drive versions for 90% of the time. Under normal driving conditions, the Mondeo still sends all of its power to the front wheels, only sending drive rearwards under hard acceleration or should the front wheels start slipping.

Where you do really appreciate the AWD is when accelerating from a standstill and cornering. Situations that would have the traction control light flashing in the front-wheel drive model rarely trouble the all-wheel drive variant, a great help when accelerating out of slippery roundabouts, for instance.

Cornering is even more impressive. Push harder and you can feel power being sent to the back axle to help quell understeer, even if unsurprisingly, the front will push wide once you go beyond the tyre’s grip. It's not outright exciting stuff, but it is safe and secure.

The rest of the experience is much the same as the two-wheel drive model. There’s an eagerness to turn in to a bend many rivals don't have, helped by precise (if light) steering. At speed, it’s a comfortable place to be but you’d never call it soothing. Even on smaller 17in wheels the ride can get quite busy while road noise is always present.

As for the engine, the 148bhp version has never felt particularly brisk and the AWD system doesn’t help matters. It’s by no means slow, but you do find yourself working the engine quite hard to get up to motorway speeds. This missing poke is exacerbated by long gearing that may help fuel economy but does nothing for performance.

What’s the Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 TDCi AWD like inside?

If it wasn’t for a display to tell you which end of the car was receiving the engine’s power, you wouldn’t have a clue that you were in the AWD model.

This means you still get a comfortable driving position with well-placed controls and a seat with plenty of adjustment. You sit fairly high but even so, it can be tricky to know where the extremities of the Mondeo are.

The parking sensors and the rearview camera are well worth paying for to reduce anxiety levels while manoeuvring. Speaking of options, the sat-nav works well but can be slow to operate and a little old-school to look at.

One thing taller families will want to avoid is the panoramic roof. While the Mondeo may have plenty of leg- and elbow room for all occupants, rear headroom is affected by the car’s swooping roofline. You might not gain a great deal by sticking with a steel roof, but it might make all the difference.

Boot space is generous and in no way reduced by the addition of the AWD system while the rear seats prove easy to fold. Do this and there’s a huge load area but one that’s marred by a step between the boot floor and rear seat. It’s not huge but will make squeezing a flat-pack wardrobe in that little bit trickier.

Should I buy one?

Whether you’re buying or leasing, there’s a few important things to consider before you take the plunge. If you’re still weighing up competitors, then the Volkswagen Passat is a great contender while the Skoda Superb is even roomier inside, particularly in the back. The Ford counters with driving dynamics that put both the Superb and Passat in the shade.

If it’s the AWD system you’re considering, then there are some figures worth bearing in mind. While Ford say a 2WD TDCi 150 will do a claimed average combined 64.2mpg while emitting 115g/km of CO2, the AWD equivalent manages 58.9mpg and 124g/km.

For company car drivers, that means a two band jump in company car tax, a penalty sizable enough to put many off. For private buyers seeking extra reassurance in slippery winter conditions, though, the extra spend might seem worth it considering much of what is good about the Mondeo remains intact.

Alan Taylor-Jones

What Car? says...

The rivals

Skoda Superb

Volkswagen Passat

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 150 AWD

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

Price from Β£25,295

Power 148bhp

Torque 273lb ft

0-62mph 10.3 seconds

Top speed 134mph

Fuel economy 58.9mpg

CO2 124g/km