New Ford Mondeo vs used BMW 3 Series: which is best?

You're after an executive car but you have a difficult choice – do you buy a new one that’s extremely practical or a used one with a premium badge?

Words By Mark Pearson

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New Ford Mondeo vs used BMW 3 Series – costs

According to our Target Price team, it’s possible to pick up a new Mondeo in our chosen 1.5 TDCi Zetec trim for Β£20,790, and for the same money you could easily pick up a good 2016 BMW 320d in SE trim. It’s worth considering that the Mondeo will also suffer the usual first and second year depreciation that the 3 Series will already have shed. In our most recent reliability survey the Mondeo actually finished above the 3 Series in the Executive class, although both cars scored well and finished highly placed in the table. From new the Mondeo comes with Ford’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which can be extended up to five years for a reasonable extra cost. The 3 Series will have between one and two years of its original warranty left, at this age.

On paper, the Mondeo’s fuel economy bests the 3 Series, with both cars offering outstandingly good claimed figures. The Mondeo’s handsome 78.5mpg also means CO2 emissions of just 94g/km, but unfortunately due to the changes in the car tax laws from April 2017 onwards you’ll still be charged a flat rate of Β£140 annually. By contrast, the older BMW, registered before April 2017, with its higher CO2 emissions (111g/km), will only attract a charge of Β£30pa.

New Ford Mondeo vs used BMW 3 Series – alternatives

The Executive car class is full of tempting alternatives to these two. If you’re considering a Mondeo for its space you might do better to look at the Skoda Superb, a massive hatchback that dwarfs nearly every other car in this class. The interior’s huge, the boot’s enormous and yet,despite its gargantuan, it handles well and is great to drive. Most versions are well equipped, too, and some models undercut even the Mondeo on price.

The Volkswagen Passat is similarly huge, a rock-solid, sober-sided car that drives well, is refined and smart and feels like it’ll last forever. Target prices for the Passat put it at roughly the same level as the Mondeo and Superb, at which price point it might well be the bargain of the class.

As an alternative to a used 3 Series you might consider an Audi A4, which is roughly the same size inside and out. This is one of our favourite executive cars, with a good range of engines, the best of which make it an impressively refined motorway cruiser and also surprisingly economical. On top of that there’s a classy and well equipped interior that offers the quality of pricier luxury cars. Used examples can now be had for the prices we’ve quoted for the Mondeo and the 3 Series.

If space is less of a priority you might like to consider the Audi A4’s smaller sibling, the A3 Saloon. This is a handsome three-box, four-door and boot saloon based on the successful hatchback and Sportback versions of the A3. It handles well, there’s a choice of good engines, all of which are strong and, like the A4, the interior’s beautifully built. The only minus point is interior space, as the smaller A3 is quite cramped in the back and the boot’s small. A used 2016 example would now be available at around this price point.

Find the best deals on a new Ford Mondeo...

...or find a used BMW 3 Series in the What Car? Classifieds

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