Ford Mondeo hatchback
"The most recent Ford Mondeo is a quiet and relaxing cruiser, with efficient engines, but previous versions were more fun to drive"
- Very comfortable and refined
- Frugal diesel engines
- Plenty of space inside
- A bit too expensive
- Not as fun to drive as before
- Interior quality not as good as rivals'
The Ford Mondeo has been around since 1993 but the latest, fifth-generation model is a very different car to any of its predecessors. It’s no longer synonymous with a section of society that became known as ‘Mondeo Man’, as it was in the 1990s, and is now more refined, bigger, safer, and a less common sight on UK roads. It’s always been a relatively popular car, but after a long wait for this generation and a sales shift towards crossovers and SUVs, the Mondeo now sells in smaller numbers than the more expensive BMW 3 Series.
Today, the Mondeo is a well built, comfortable and practical family hatchback, even if it is much less ubiquitous. It has stiff competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Passat and Mazda6, as well as cars such as the Hyundai i40 and Kia Optima. The Mondeo is also available in upmarket Vignale guise, a version of the car that goes up against executive competitors including the Volvo S60, Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series.
Designed to sell globally, including in North America, it’s more stylish and comfortable than ever before, with a bold grille and narrow headlights giving it a modern and assertive appearance. Interior quality has taken a step up, too, even if it can’t quite match the excellent Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat in this regard. Thanks to a facelift in 2019, the Mondeo now shares some of the styling touches from newer Ford models, including the latest Focus.
The main downside is that Ford’s pursuit of comfort and a wider audience means the Mondeo has lost the class-leading handling it has been famed for in the past. While it’s certainly not bad to drive, it now feels larger, more remote and spongier than before. The main advantage comes on the motorway, where refinement is just as good as the Passat.
In a comprehensive range, there are four trim levels: Zetec Edition, Titanium Edition, ST-Line Edition and Vignale, with even the first grade getting an eight-inch SYNC 3 infotainment touchscreen, DAB radio, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels. For around £2,000 more, Titanium Edition is a more comfort-orientated option, with keyless entry, leather upholstery and powered front seats. ST-Line gets a sporty makeover, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Ford considers the Mondeo Vignale a separate model, with extensive changes, including quilted leather upholstery, a unique grille, adaptive LED headlamps, a powered tailgate and even a concierge service, with prices starting from close to £32,000. The once-pricey Nero Vignale pack is now standard, and its exterior chrome trim and wheels are swapped for dark grey items for a more menacing look.
For 2020, Ford has simplified the Mondeo’s engine range with diesel and hybrid powertrains only. Mondeo drivers typically cover more miles, so the diesel choice is still likely to be suitable for most buyers. Company-car drivers will likely choose one of the 2.0-litre diesel engines with either 148bhp or 187bhp. Those that don’t cover as many miles, or who want a lower Benefit-in-Kind cost, could be better served by one of the hybrid models that combine a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor.
Our top pick would be the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDCi, returning up to 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km, with a fairly high BiK rating due to the increased tax on diesels. For a large diesel-powered car, these are still competitive figures.
Not enough drivers of the Ford Mondeo submitted their feedback for it to finish in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK, but in previous years it was rated poorly for reliability. Less worrying is the Mondeo’s safety credentials, thanks to a long list of safety technology and a five-star rating from independent experts Euro NCAP.