Ford Mondeo hybrid review
“The Ford Mondeo Hybrid is showing its age next to newer rivals, which makes it hard to recommend”
- Affordable company-car tax
- Comfortable ride
- Well equipped
- Slow CVT gearbox
- 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-car drivers loved the diesel version in particular, thanks to its low running costs, decent turn of speed and motorway manners. The Mondeo is nowhere near as popular as it once was, but the hybrid version is an interesting proposition as diesel becomes less popular and is more heavily taxed.
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid is available as a saloon model, while a more practical estate version was added in 2019. It's possible to get it in Zetec Edition, Titanium Edition, ST-Line Edition or Vignale trim levels, so the hybrid technology isn't limited to just one version. Like many hybrid models it has a petrol engine, in this case a 2.0-litre unit, along with an electric motor and small battery that are 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 a middling bracket for Benefit-in-Kind liability, sitting just beneath diesel versions.
While some rivals like 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 petrol in it, like a normal car, and the small battery is topped-up as the car drives. It means the Mondeo is efficient but can only drive very short distances using electricity alone, unlike the 30 miles-or-so a plug-in hybrid can do in electric mode.
The Mondeo Hybrid is comfortable, decent to drive and spacious, especially in Estate form. It's a decent car and quite good value but its main problem is that the world is moving on so quickly that it feels outdated. There's not really any reason to buy one when newer hybrids like the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports are better in most areas, and plug-in hybrids such as the Skoda Superb iV can offer even greater efficiency.
MPG, running costs & CO2
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 up to 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 a smaller 1.8-litre petrol engine and more effective hybrid setup, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports can manage up to 63mpg.
With CO2 emissions from 127g/km, the Mondeo Hybrid also falls outside the sub-75g/km exemption for low-emissions vehicles set by the London Congestion Charge and is unlikely to gain free access to other low-emissions zones, unlike some plug-in hybrid rivals. The Skoda Superb iV emits just 23g/km of CO2.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mondeo Hybrid has a 2.0-litre, non-turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, which combine to produce 186bhp. However, this is a heavy car, and 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 which doesn't feel as effective as the latest technology from Toyota and Lexus.
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. Once up to speed, the Mondeo is at least a competent motorway cruiser.
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 quite upmarket but it's starting to feel its age now, having first been launched in 2014. 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 SYNC 3 infotainment system as standard but this can't compete with the infotainment setups found in newer models like the Skoda Superb.
Zetec Edition versions are well specified, with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, folding door mirrors, an eight-inch touchscreen, cruise control and a heated windscreen. Titanium Edition adds bigger wheels, heated front seats and keyless entry, while ST-Line Edition adds 19-inch alloys and a body kit for a sportier look.
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. However, despite being from the class below, the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports can carry more luggage.
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 buyers are more likely to favour the hybrid Mondeo in estate form, with a more practical hatchback and low loading lip, along with 403 litres of boot space. However, this is still on the small side for a family estate and the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports offers up to 598 litres behind its rear seats.
The Ford Mondeo Hybrid will hold limited appeal for anyone looking to tow a trailer or caravan. Its hybrid setup results in a 750kg maximum capacity, which is far lower than the 2,000kg of the diesel Mondeo.
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 option, as it comes as part of a Driver Assistance Pack.