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First drive: Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.

First drive: Ford Mondeo
The all-new, fourth-generation Ford Mondeo wants to steal sales from BMW et al. Will it succeed?

   



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Ford Mondeo

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

By ramping up the premium levels on the Ford Mondeo and giving it sharp styling, it should win plenty of fans in the showrooms, given it is spacious, well-equipped and supremely comfortable. Most won't mind that it has lost the fine edge its driving dynamics once possessed.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 180hp Titanium hatchback
Pricing: Titanium 2.0 TDCi 180hp starts at 24,245
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 115g/km (VED Band C, 0 first year, 30 per year thereafter)
Combined economy: 64.2mpg
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Power: 180hp at 3,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 2,000- to 2,500rpm

What's this?

The all-new Ford Mondeo, a car we've been denied from having for 18 months; it has been on sale as the Fusion in the US since 2013, but due to moving European production from the doomed Genk plant in Belgium to Valencia in Spain, the Mondeo has been delayed. It has a tough job on its hands, though, as it is now only the sixth biggest-selling car in its sector in the UK; the premium brands have taken over, with Audi A4s, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars preferred, not to mention the Vauxhall Insignia and the Mondeo's toughest rival, the Volkswagen Passat - the eighth-generation of which has just been launched.

Therefore Ford has taken the 'upmarket' stance, claiming this new car has a plusher interior, more toys as standard and highly refined driving manners. It's clear the new Passat is the target, as UK pricing sees the Mondeo range start around 4,000 more expensive than the Insignia. However, the Mondeo certainly looks the part - in five-door hatchback form, predicted to be the most commonly-sighted Mondeo on our shores, it is handsome and beautifully styled. If we've got one criticism, it's that from dead-on rear, it looks like the outgoing Mondeo hatch. But the lean headlights, trapezoidal grille and contoured bonnet give it a lot of presence, while it has an attractive profile with a flowing roofline. We do prefer the estate, though, which is even more pleasing on the eye.

Inside is massive, with enough room in the back for two large adults and possibly three grown-ups, provided they aren't all rugby players. Behind the cabin is a good-sized boot of at least 458 litres, rising to 1,446 litres if you forgo a spare wheel and have a tyre repair kit, fold down all the rear seats and then load it up to the roof. Back in the passenger compartment, the quality is good, with high-end Titanium-spec cars getting a TFT instrument display and satnav among many other toys, and all Mondeos are fitted with SYNC 2 infotainment software with an eight-inch touchscreen as standard. The surround for that touchscreen, though, is the one area of the interior that makes you suck air in through your teeth, as the finish of the plastic already looks outdated. The front seats, meanwhile, are very supportive with a good driving position available.

How does it drive?

Like every Mondeo that has gone before it: very competently, but it's clear that outright handling verve has been sacrificed on the altar of refinement. Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with the ride - even on 18s, it remains supple, and so comfortable that you'd believe it was an E-Class competitor. It's brilliant at moving about in a serene, near-silent fashion, although there's a bit of wind noise generated by the door mirrors.

It remains a planted car in the corners too with plenty of grip, but the switch from hydraulic to electrically-powered steering has robbed the Mondeo of feedback. It's not terrible, as the weighting of the set-up is consistent and the car is easy to place accurately, but if you used to love the way even the most mundane of Mondeos could carve up a back road, you might be disappointed.

Other than that, there's little to complain about and lots to commend. The 180hp 2.0 TDCi diesel engine is a gem (alongside a 115hp 1.6 TDCi, there's a lesser 150hp/350Nm version of this motor available), the six-speed manual gearbox is slick as you like and performance is generally strong. Diesels are expected to make up 90 per cent of UK sales and the 180hp is quieter than the 1.5-litre petrol version we also tested on launch, meaning it is the pick of the first Mondeos that you'll see in showrooms.

Verdict

There hasn't been a bad Mondeo yet and the new car continues that trend. Whether it can push the advancing German premium tide back remains to be seen, but it definitely has all the tools at its disposal to do so - provided you accept the interior is going to be inferior to that found in the new Passat. What makes the Mondeo appealing is that it's still fun to drive, steering aside, and it's hugely refined for motorway work. It's another great Ford.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 13 Oct 2014



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2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.



2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 

2015 Ford Mondeo. Image by Ford.
 






 

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