Many people who would once have bought a Mondeo Estate by default now find their attention drawn towards the new breed of road-going SUVs. If you’re willing to take the traditional approach, however, the latest version of Ford’s family wagon has a great deal to recommend it.
In fact, there’s very little in the ‘against’ column – these days, you don’t even need to worry about everybody else driving the same car as you. One of the black marks is a big one, however – depreciation has always been a thorn in the Mondeo’s side, and though it’s well priced against most of its rivals it could prove more expensive to own in the long term.
Those rivals include the VW Passat, Volvo V60, Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia. There’s some talented opposition in that list – but the Mondeo is hardly short of skills itself.
For one thing, it handles better than any other comparable wagon. It’s agile and responsive, resisting body roll even when the corners are coming thick and fast. It rides well, too, so long as you avoid the bigger alloys in the range, though the steering could do with more more feel to go with its praiseworthy accuracy.
This all makes the Mondeo a very pleasant car in which to travel, whether you’re hustling it on B-roads or gliding up the motorway. Excellent refinement aids matters here, too – wind and tyre noise are muted, and all the diesel engines in the range are quiet and vibration-free.
Of those engines, the 1.6 TDCi will be enough for most of the people most of the time, but there’s also a 2.0 TDCi with a choice of 148 and 178bhp outputs. Petrol power is catered for too, with a choice of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 units developing 124, 158 and 237bhp respectively. The latter comes with an auto box as standard, while the rest of the range gets a six-speed manual whose action is one of the nice things you’ll experience while sat in the cabin.
The seat you’re sat in will be another, but unless you’ve sprung big money for the privilege you won’t be able to say the same thing about parking your Mondeo. All-round sensors are available as a pricey option, only coming in as standard on the prohibitively expensive Vignale range-topper.
You won’t be overjoyed about the Mondeo’s multimedia system, either, which puts an 8.0” touch interface between you and more or less everything. Ford is hardly unique in having taken this route, but this kind of system needs to be clear and easily understood in order to work effectively – and the Mondeo’s is neither.
Still, with DAB, Bluetooth, alloys, cruise and dual-zone climate across the range, the Mondeo is well equipped as standard. Sat-nav is an honestly priced option, too, which becomes standard on the third-up Titanium version – as do sports seats, which are even more supportive than those on the Style and Zetec models. The list of safety kit is extensive, too, with autonomous braking on the options list and a five-star NCAP result across the board.
What you don’t get, though, is a deep-rooted air of quality. It’s all solidly enough put together, but here and there you’ll come across controls and trim materials which feel obviously cheap next to more aspirational rivals like the Passat.
It’s every bit as roomy, though – indeed, the Mondeo has more space in the driver’s seat than premium rivals like the V60 and BMW 3 Series. There’s plenty of room in the back two, even if the middle seat is compromised by a raised floor and intrusive centre console, and the 60:40 rear seats fold flat to leave a fairly basic but certainly enormous boot.
This is an area in which the Passat offers you more – like a height-adjustable boot floor and remote handles for dropping the seats. It’s more expensive, of course, but then the Skoda Octavia offers them too – and though it’s a touch smaller, it’s more than a touch cheaper.
As mentioned above, though, the Mondeo does manage to look like good value next to most of its competitors. This is enhanced still further by the dealer discounts you should be able to get, and general running costs will be similarly modest, though below-average residual values mean there could be some pain to take later.
Over the piece, though, the Mondeo is an excellent estate car. You can find fault with elements of its interior, but it does all the important things well – and everything about the way it drives will make you want to give it the thumbs up.
John Calne is a writer for WhatCar.
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