Ford Mondeo hybrid
“The Ford Mondeo hybrid is hard to recommend over the diesel equivalent – unless you’re a company car driver”
- Cheap company-car tax
- Comfortable ride
- Well equipped
- Saloon only
- Noisy at speed
- Poor real-world economy
Diesel is the fuel of choice for the vast majority of Ford Mondeo buyers because it suits the car’s motorway-cruising nature. With pressure on diesel emissions mounting, however, the Ford Mondeo hybrid represents an interesting alternative, particularly for company-car drivers.
That statement comes with a few caveats. The hybrid is only available in two trims, both of which are well-equipped but expensive, and as either a four-door saloon version, which is the least practical in the Mondeo range, or as an Estate, rather than the popular hatchback. It doesn’t have the smooth driving manners of the diesel models, and we weren’t able to come close to match the 52.3mpg WLTP economy Ford claims. Despite these drawbacks, the hybrid isn’t without merit.
It’s as a company car that the Mondeo hybrid makes the most sense. Its CO2 emissions of 98g/km (103g/km for the Estate) are the lowest in the range and qualify it for a 23-24% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) ratings. This is somewhat higher than the 78g/km of the smaller Toyota Prius, and doesn’t qualify the Mondeo Hybrid for exemption from the London Congestion Charge zone.
It's worth noting that most of its natural rivals are plug-in hybrids, with a reasonable electric-only range: the Mondeo hybrid is more like a Toyota Prius in that regard. The Volkswagen Passat GTE and Kia Optima PHEV are both plug-in hybrid models with CO2 figures of less than 50g/km, qualifying them for the lowest 9% BiK band.
Elsewhere, the Mondeo hybrid is largely as per the rest of the range: comfortable, decent to drive and spacious, even if the saloon's 383-litre boot is 158 litres less than the hatchback. This expands to 633 litres in the Estate, making it our pick in Titanium Edition trim.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Ford Mondeo hybrid costs roughly the same as the equivalent diesel Mondeo but the current road tax regime means you’ll pay £135 a year, a saving of only £10 over the diesel.
For company-car drivers, the fact the hybrid occupies the lowest BiK bands of any Mondeo should result in the biggest savings. For a 20% taxpayer, BiK will cost from around £106 a month for the hybrid, while the equivalent diesel is just under £160 a month.
Ford claims the Mondeo hybrid, in either trim, is capable of 52.3mpg on average, but our experience with the car was nearer 43mpg on mainly urban roads, which is about what you’d expect from a diesel Mondeo.
With CO2 emissions ranging from 98-103g/km, the Mondeo Hybrid also falls outside the sub-75g/km exemption for low-emissions vehicles of the London Congestion Charge, unlike some plug-in hybrid rivals.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mondeo hybrid has a 2.0-litre, non-turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, which combine to produce 186bhp. Sadly, it rarely feels like it has that amount of power. Unlike other automatic Mondeos, which have a more conventional dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the hybrid uses a CVT unit.
Its electric motor can power the car at up to 85mph, as long as you’re gentle with the accelerator pedal, and even when the engine cuts in, it does so almost imperceptibly. The trouble comes when you attempt anything more than moderate acceleration, as the CVT gearbox is slow to respond, feels like it saps power, and worse, leaves the engine droning in the background. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.2 seconds.
The problem is made more pronounced because the Mondeo offers an otherwise smooth and quiet driving experience, so this additional noise really stands out.
The latest Mondeo lacks much of the driver engagement that set previous Mondeos apart. Both the Lexus IS and Mercedes C-Class are better in this regard, although the Mondeo’s tall tyres (on Titanium-spec models, at least) allow for a smoother ride more akin to the Mercedes than the Lexus.
Interior & comfort
That softer ride allows the Mondeo hybrid to be a little more comfortable than the standard car, provided you can put up with the additional noise at speed.
The general look and feel is upmarket – not quite to VW standards, but not far off. The controls are sensibly laid out and both the Titanium Edition and Vignale models have clear TFT screens that replace the car’s analogue dials. It also packs Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system as standard.
The seats are comfortable, and if you choose the more upmarket Vignale trim, they are covered in sumptuous quilted leather. You’ll also get LED adaptive headlights, a hands-free powered tailgate, ambient lighting and a Sony infotainment system.
Practicality & boot space
As far as passengers are concerned, the Mondeo hybrid is perfectly spacious. Room in the front is at least on par with its rivals, and there’s space in the back for two adults to sit comfortably – three at a pinch.
There’s a good amount of storage space too: the glovebox is of a decent size; there are a pair of cupholders up front and a tray behind the gearstick.
The only real fly in the ointment is the saloon's boot. The hybrid is only available as a saloon, which limits practicality compared with the hatchback straight off the bat, as the rear windscreen doesn’t lift, limiting the loading area. Its 383-litre boot is not only smaller than the 541 litres you get in the hatchback too, but also 133 litres smaller than other Mondeo saloons because of intrusion from the battery pack.
UK customers are more likely to favour the Mondeo hybrid in estate form, with a more practical hatchback and low loading lip, along with up to 633 litres of boot space (with no spare wheel). Fold down the rear seats and this increases to 1,508 litres, making the Estate much more flexible.
Reliability & safety
While it’s hard to know just how reliable the Mondeo’s hybrid system is – such a small number of them are sold in the UK each year – the standard Mondeo isn’t proving to be exceptionally robust.
In our 2017 Driver Power survey, the standard Mondeo was rated poorly, and 12.7% of owners who responded said they’d had at least one problem – chiefly engine and electrical faults. The Mondeo didn't appear in our 2019 results, but Ford came 23rd overall out of 30 manufacturers, with an average of 14.8% of customers reporting a fault in the first year.
Things are better on the safety front, as the Mondeo scored a full five star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing. It's worth noting this was back in 2014, however, so rivals that have achieved five stars more recently are likely to be even safer.
Inflatable rear seat belts are an innovation that are available on the options list, while a lane keeping aid and traffic sign recognition are standard. Ford’s Active City Stop emergency autonomous braking system is also standard, improving the Mondeo hybrid’s safety credentials, but active cruise control is a pricey £550 option that's only available for Vignale trim levels.