Before PCPs allowed car buyers to realise their wildest dreams, motors such as the practical, spacious and good-to-drive Mondeo were what families bought and fleet bosses leased.
The big Ford is still practical, spacious and good to drive, but times have moved on and it, and other large hatchbacks like it (it’s available in saloon and estate forms, too), are being left on the shelf.
That’s good news if you’re a used car buyer, because while other people are paying top dollar for an SUV, the bargain hunter has the pick of Mondeos at lower prices.
The model was launched here in 2014, two years after its US unveiling. In the interim, Ford of Europe had been tuning Henry’s world car for our tastes. The chassis might have lost a little engagement but its handling was as fluent as before and its ride and refinement stronger than ever. The cabin had lost none of its famed roominess, either.
And then there were the engines: 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrols spanning outputs from 123bhp to 237bhp, and 1.5 and 2.0-litre TDCi diesels ranging from 113bhp to 207bhp. Over the years Ford has refined the line-up, among the casualties being the 112bhp 1.6 TDCi, which, in 2015, was replaced by the 118bhp, Euro 6-compliant 1.5 TDCi.
The pick of the crop? Depending on your requirements, it’s a toss-up between the 158bhp 1.5 Ecoboost petrol, the 148bhp 2.0 TDCi or a 118bhp 1.5 TDCi. Meanwhile, if you must have an automatic, the Powershift gearbox hurts economy but is a sweet-shifting thing.
Only in its interior finish and design does the Mondeo betray its workaday roots. On the upside, infotainment is provided by Ford’s Sync 3 multimedia set-up. It’s not the most responsive but it’s got full phone integration and a digital radio.
Every car has its orphan and in the Mondeo’s case it’s Style trim. Actually, it’s a big improvement on Edge, its equivalent in the previous-generation Mondeo, since it has alloy wheels, air-con and, crucially, colour-coded door handles, but the rear windows remain manual only.
It’s good value but Zetec, the next trim up, is more plentiful and better equipped, with niceties including dual-zone air-con, rear electric windows and chrome and colour detailing. In 2016, it morphed into Zetec Edition with even more kit. It’s all you need really unless Titanium, the third spec, with its leather trim and parking aids, floats your boat. Also in 2016, ST-Line arrived. With lowered sports suspension, a bodykit, privacy glass and 19in alloys, it’s fun but pricey. The facelift came in this year, bringing a revised exterior, improved fit and finish (according to Ford) and new diesel engines.
At prices to suit most pockets, the handsome, spacious and dynamically capable Mondeo makes a great used buy and, in this age of SUVs, it reminds us that riding high ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
BUYER BEWARE RecallsFor a volume car such as this, there have been impressively few recalls. However, there are some potentially serious ones including the headlights switching off and the sump cracking should the engine overheat. Check they've all been actioned. The better news is that in sister magazine What Car?'s reliability survey, the Mondeo pipped the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class.
Engine If it's a 1.5 EcoBoost, examine the coolant for oil stains and that it runs quietly and smoothly at all speeds. EcoBoost engines can be troublesome and the 1.5 has a big job on its hands moving the heavy Mondeo around.
Transmission The Powershift auto can have selection issues to do with the control module not communicating with the gearbox correctly. It was replaced by an eight-speed torque-converter unit in 2018.
Electrics Bulb failures are common so be sure all the lights illuminate. The tailgate solenoid can also fail. Dashboard indicator lights can usually be traced to faulty sensors.
Steering If the steering is noisy or feels faintly rough as you turn the wheel the rack could be at fault, and that's a big repair bill.
Infotainment Check the sat nav mapping in Ford Sync 3 systems (2017-on). If there are problems, there is a Ford update that should cure them.
Need to know
The Mondeo HEV was Ford’s first hybrid car. It has a combined output of 185bhp and emits just 99g/km CO2. Prices start at around £10,500 for a 2015/15-reg example with 84,000 miles.
If it’s a toss-up between a late 2018 or early 2019 Mondeo, it’s worth knowing that the model was facelifted in March 2019. It gained Ford’s new EcoBlue diesel engine (in 148bhp and 187bhp outputs) and an intelligent speed limiter.
Confusingly, Ford operates two used car schemes. Ford Approved Used offers the balance of the new car warranty and a guarantee that the car has a full history. Ford Direct offers a two-year unlimited warranty and the assurance that cars are independently inspected and approved by the RAC.
Mondeo 1.5 158bhp Ecoboost Titanium 5dr: This mid-power Ecoboost engine is punchy, reasonably economical and good value. A 2015/15-reg with 34,000 miles is £11,300 from a Ford dealer
Mondeo 1.0 123bhp Ecoboost Zetec 5dr: This entry-level petrol engine struggles to haul the Mondeo and needs a light foot to return anything like its claimed economy. It’s good value, though, with a 35,000-mile 2015/15-reg car costing £9350.
Ones we found
2014 Mondeo 1.6 TDCi Style estate, 129,000 miles, £4999
2015 Mondeo 1.5 TDCi Zetec 5dr, 117,000 miles, £6999
2016 Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec 5dr, 62,000 miles, £10,000
2018 Mondeo 1.5 TDCi Titanium estate, 18,000 miles, £16,500