"The five-door Ford Mondeo has a massive boot, loads of passenger space and the most comfortable ride in its class."
The fourth generation of Ford Mondeo, originally launched in 2007, was the winner of the CarBuyer 2011 Best Large Family Car award, and remains a popular car, even on the eve of its replacement by a newer model. Even though it is very common on UK roads, it's still one of the best family cars available on the UK market – and is anything but average, despite being a bit long in the tooth. The five-door Mondeo hatchback has a huge boot, lots of space for passengers and luggage, and one of the most comfortable rides on offer in the class. Plus, it's still fun to drive, too. It's also fairly well equipped, with even the entry-level Edge models coming fitted with air-conditioning and alloy wheels as standard equipment. Meanwhile, top-of-the-range Titanium cars come very well stocked with technology indeed. The diesel engines are the best on offer – especially the turbocharged models – and would be our recommended choice. A 2010 facelift added LED lights on top-spec models, and managed to keep it looking relatively fresh for a car of its age. It may not be able to match the Volkswagen Passat for sheer quality and high resale values, but the Mondeo definitely outpaces the Vauxhall Insignia is almost every possible criteria. The Ford Mondeo comes in – entry-level Graphite, then Edge, Zetec Business Edition, Titanium X Business Edition, and top-of-the-range Titanium X Sport.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
As is common in many cars, the best efficiency and fuel economy is offered by the Mondeo's range of diesel engines. They may be more expensive to buy but as long as you clock up enough miles on a regular basis then the extra cost will hopefully balance out. The 138bhp 2.0-litre TDCi is a solid and popular choice, returning more than 50mpg while retaining plenty of performance and emitting 139g/km of CO2. Meanwhile, the 1.6-litre TDCI diesel ECOnetic model, fitted with start-stop, is even more fuel efficient, returning 65.7mpg and emitting only 114g/km of CO2. None of the Mondeo's engines offer emissions that fall below the magic road tax-free 100g/km mark. We’d suggest avoiding the petrol engines because they have by far the worst economy, lower resale values on the used car market and are the harshest on the environment (and therefore on your wallet). Plus, we’d also go with the manual gearbox as the automatic version further reduces fuel economy.
Interior & comfort
There may be more expensive and more premium executive options out there, but the Mondeo could give lessons in comfort – even for a car that's been around since 2007. It copes well with even the worst of the UK roads – which are now in pretty bad condition, generally – with body roll also kept well under control when driving through the corners. Passengers inside the Mondeo have loads of space to stretch out in inside, both in the front and the back. In fact, thanks to the excess of head, leg and elbow room, you can easily carry five six-foot adults with no difficulty. A massive range of reach-and-rake adjustment in the steering and a fully adjustable drivers seat makes it very easy to find a good driving position, too.
Practicality & boot space
With its rear seats in place, the Mondeo offers more luggage space in its boot than its main rival, the Vauxhall Insignia. Its 528 litres is generous but still smaller than the Skoda Superb, but once the standard-fit split-folding back seats are also folded down out of the way, that expands to a truly massive 1,448 litres – all accessible through a nice, large opening to make loading and unloading of large, bulky items even easier as well. If you need even more space, the total luggage space in the Mondeo estate is a huge 1,733 litres. The Mondeo's roomy dimensions mean that the interior is large enough for five six-foot adults to genuinely sit inside comfortably, with Ford paying particular attention to things like side-opening doors to create ease access for passengers and thus maximise its practicality. The driver's seat is fully adjustable, as is the steering wheel for reach and rake, so any driver can get comfortable and have good visibility.
Reliability & safety
The Ford Mondeo has certainly wracked up the years since launching in 2007, and there's a new model waiting just around the corner, which you might want to consider before you buy. However, there haven’t been any major recalls or safety issues reported with the Mondeo. It still managed to come 56th in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, a drop of 23 places on its 2012 rank of 33rd but still pretty solid for a car of its age. It lost marks for ease of driving (its big dimensions may prove unwieldy for some), build quality and, alas, reliability. However, it previously placed as high as 11, giving Ford its highest ever placement in the list, ahead of compact executive car rivals from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, so it's not a bad car in any regard. Ford itself still illustrates that it's hard to be a mainstream mass-producer of cars without sacrificing something, coming 23rd in the Driver Power manufacturers rankings, which is even a climb of two spots on the previous survey. It's still ahead of arch rival Vauxhall, but we think Ford is showing signs of improvement, so watch upcoming models closely. The Mondeo secured the maximum five-star rating the in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with all cars coming fitted with seven airbags, electronic stability control and traction control as standard equipment, making it still a really safe car regardless of its age.
Engines, drive & performance
When it was first launched back in 2007, the Mondeo was the car that cemented Ford's reputation for making car that far outshone its main competitors. And that's because it doesn’t really have any major flaws to speak of. As well as offering a comfortable, bump-absorbing ride that can handle even the most jarring of potholes and a widely adjustable driving position, it's also plain old fun to drive. The Zetec models do have stiffer suspension to give the car a sportier feel, but they’re still comfortable on all but the poorest of roads. The smaller 1.6-litre petrol engine does feel underpowered, though, but luckily he latest 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engines are much better. The diesels – which range from 1.6 litres to 2.2 litres – all offer superior fuel economy and enough power to tow substantial loads at the same time.
Price, value for money & options
There's a lot of variety in the list prices for the Mondeo, thanks to its wide range of choice in both specifications and engines. The whole range is well equipped, though, coming fitted with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and seven airbags for safety as standard equipment. The entry-level Edge models also come with cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity as well, while top-spec Titanium models add MP3 connectivity, rear parking sensors and climate control. The quality of the interior is generally excellent, and it's clearly laid out and very easy to use – even if the car's age does mean that a VW Passat or Vauxhall Insignia feels that little bit more modern inside. Sadly, resale values on the used car market aren’t very good because of so many Mondeos being available second hand over its long life, and it has a poor reputation as a ‘sales rep’ car. A Mondeo on average only retains approximately 37 per cent of its value after three years of ownership.