Ford Mondeo hybrid review
“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
The Ford Mondeo was a default company car choice for years - many will remember the 'Mondeo Man' phrase of the 1990s. Company drivers loved the diesel versions in particular, allowing low running costs but strong performance at the same time. The Mondeo is nowhere near as popular as it once was, but the Hybrid version is an interesting proposition as diesel becomes less popular.
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid is available as a saloon model or as a more practical estate, and it's possible to get it in Zetec Edition, Titanium Edition, ST-Line Edition or Vignale trim levels. Like many hybrid models it has a petrol engine, in this case a 2.0-litre unit, and an electric motor that's used to boost efficiency.
Recent company car tax changes have made the Mondeo Hybrid less relevant as a fleet car, though. It emits 127g/km of CO2 in its most efficient form, which puts it in an upper bracket for Benefit-in-kind. Considering that there are fully-electric cars that cost nothing for company drivers that cost around the same price, the Mondeo Hybrid isn't too convincing as a company car these days.
Remember that although some rivals, such as the Volkswagen Passat GTE and Skoda Superb iV, are plug-in hybrids, the Mondeo Hybrid isn't. This means it can't be plugged in at home and driven on electric power only - you just put fuel in like a normal car. It means the Mondeo is efficient, but misses out on tax breaks for plug-in models.
The Mondeo hybrid comfortable, decent to drive and spacious, especially in Estate form. It's a good car and quite good value overall, but its main problem is that the world is moving on so quickly that it feels old-fashioned. There's not really any reason to buy one when the alternatives - particularly the Skoda Superb iV - are so much better.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Ford Mondeo hybrid costs a little more than the equivalent diesel Mondeo but the current road tax regime means you’ll pay £10 less in tax per year than the diesel.
For company-car drivers, the fact the hybrid occupies the lowest BiK bands of any Mondeo should result in the biggest savings. The Hybrid sits in the middle of the BiK tax bandings with the cheapest diesel sitting towards the top of the bandings.
Ford claims the Mondeo hybrid, in either trim, is capable of 50.4mpg 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 from 127g/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.
The Mondeo's 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 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 Volkswagen's 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 saloon model has a 383-litre boot, which is 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 2020 results, but Ford came 24th overall out of 30 manufacturers.
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.