The current Ford Mondeo has been a long time coming. It was first seen in 2012 at the Detroit Motor Show, but for various reasons didn’t arrive in the UK until 2014. In that time, the mainstream, as distinct from premium, family car class has declined as buyers move into the latest generation of more popular SUVs and crossovers.
As a result, the Mondeo, which is available in five-door hatchback and estate body styles, has its work cut out for it appealing to the remaining saloon-car buyers out there. Its case isn’t helped by the presence of much classier Volkswagen Passat. Other rivals include the Vauxhall Insignia, the recently facelifted Toyota Avensis, the Hyundai i40 and the Mazda 6.
In its favour, the Mondeo is a handsome-looking car with sharp body creases and the trademark gaping grille, as seen on the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. It also feels more mature and refined than the model it replaces, although this sees it lose some of the sharpness and involvement that made it the class-leading driver's car for so long. It's also become a little more expensive. However, in return for those higher prices, the Mondeo now has much more safety equipment and technology as standard.
Running costs are kept in check by a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines. There's a choice of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrols. Our favourite – the 1.5-litre – is smooth, reasonably powerful and impressively economical (48.7mpg).
The Mondeo is a popular company car, so unsurprisingly there's a wide choice of diesel engines on offer. Kicking off the range is a 1.5-litre followed by three increasingly powerful 2.0-litres. The 1.5-litre manages 78.5mpg, but for its balance of strong power and good fuel economy (67.3mpg) our pick of the line-up is the 146bhp 2.0-litre diesel.
Topping the range is the Mondeo Hybrid, which pairs an electric motor with a 2.0-litre petrol engine. It's powerful, but no more economical than the standard diesel engines.
There's a choice of six-speed manual, automatic and twin-clutch gearboxes and while the car is front-wheel drive in standard form, you can specify four-wheel drive with some of the more powerful diesel engines.
There are three trim levels: Style, Zetec and Titanium. A fourth, called Vignale, is intended to take the Mondeo experience to another level. Equipment on the standard versions includes alloy wheels, LED tail-lights, DAB digital radio, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, climate control and cruise control. The Titanium trim provides a satellite navigation, automatic headlights and wipers and some great sports seats, which makes the Mondeo feel a little special. That's why it's our favourite trim.