CJ Hubbard
25/04/2007 00:00 | By CJ Hubbard, contributor, MSN Cars

Ford Mondeo review (2007-2010)



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Ford Mondeo (© Ford)

What: Ford Mondeo
Where: Sardinia
Date: April 2007
Price: £15,010 - £24,210
Available: £15,010 - £24,210
Key rivals: Vauxhall Vectra, Peugeot 407, Volkswagen Passat, Honda Accord, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4

Summary

The new Mondeo is seriously important for Ford, and needs to be good. Offering more space, lots of gadgets, great looks and a more premium feel sets it off to an excellent start.

Likes: styling, interior design, driving experience, rear legroom, boot space, valueDislikes: door plastics, Ghia wood trim (try the Titanium instead), rear headroom

Read more Ford car reviews

Are you humming the theme tune?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

So this is Bond's rental car. My editor dislikes the secret agent cliché the 007 association has quickly become, but I'm willing to risk bringing it up this early because it reflects Ford's ambitions with this car. The Mondeo – the old ones, that is – has turned into a code word for average. To say you own or drive a Mondeo isn't exactly a bad thing; it's just become altogether uninspiring, and a little dull. Well made, good value, and above all great to drive – sure. But somehow everyone ends up aspiring to own a BMW 3 Series instead.

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

Aspiration is the key. Ford wants to make you want a Mondeo again. So on top of those existing strengths, ones we're all already well aware of, the new Mondeo has to offer something more. Something in the design, the quality, and apparently, the 'emotion' of the car. Marketing spiel? Of course, but this doesn't make it irrelevant. What's neat about the casual Bond movie appearance is that it short-cuts this nonsense through implication. If a new Mondeo is good enough for enigmatic, exciting James, then surely it must be good enough for you...

Back to reality – how does the new Mondeo measure up?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

Let's stick to getting straight to the point. The short answer is pretty darn well. Even if you haven't seen the film you've more than likely seen the pictures. Good design sells, and it's hard to argue the new Mondeo is anything but a fine looking device. What's less immediately obvious about the muscular exterior is just how cleverly it disguises the car's bulk. The new Mondeo is BIG. In fact, it's as big as a Scorpio, the last car that Ford made for the segment above. Thank the pronounced curve to the roofline and the exaggerated wheel arches for the deception.

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

And you will be thanking them. Especially once you've finished gawping at the looks, opened the door and got in. The new Mondeo is simply enormous inside. Both wider and longer than before, front seat occupants will appreciate the extra shoulder space, while those in the back should be more than comfortable with the added legroom. Star of the show in this regard is the four-door saloon variant, but even the five-door hatch and estate rival a much larger class of car for rear accommodation. Boot volume is more than generous, too. You practically need a torch to see into the corners.

Size isn't everything

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

At least as important is the quality of materials and overall appearance of the cabin – and again the Mondeo scores very highly. The dash is so soft touch it's almost like rubber, absolutely nothing creaks or rattles, and from air vents to seat design the ambience is overwhelmingly premium. There's also stacks of equipment and options that seem to belong in a much higher grade of vehicle. Standard steering-wheel controlled 'Human Machine Interface' in the instrument cluster (with fancy colour graphics on top-end models), optional adaptive cruise control, and voice activation are notable examples. Where the Mondeo aims to impress, it does.

VIDEO: the Ford Mondeo

Ford Mondeo: dials (© Image © Ford)

The emphasis on engineering a premium feel has also impacted on the driving dynamics – but mostly in a positive way. Noise suppression is excellent, with only a small amount of wind hiss from the usefully large wing mirrors. The steering isn't quite as communicative as the outgoing car, but there are optional sports and electronically controlled suspension set-ups, and masses of grip as standard. As the twisting roads of the launch venue underlined, the Mondeo remains great to hustle. Overall, the impression is of a much more cultured, refined, and upmarket vehicle – but one that's still fun when you want it to be.

It can't all be good news, surely...

New Ford Mondeo: dashboard

The biggest interior let down is the lower door trim plastic – far nastier than the rest of the cabin. However, such is the colour matching to the soft touch areas round the handles this isn't even immediately obvious. In the back, the curving roofline doesn't do wonders for headroom in the non-estate variants, but will probably only trouble taller rear seat passengers. While damping and ride quality impressed on the smooth Sardinian road – regardless of any sport settings – a UK drive is needed to determine how it copes over here. And with the only engines available on launch being range-topping 2.5-litre turbo petrol and 138bhp diesel, we don't yet know how less powerful variants will deal with the new Mondeo's extra girth.

A new beginning

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

But ultimately this new Mondeo isn't about outright performance, it's about making people feel genuinely inspired about owning one. The new car starts cheaper than the outgoing model, offers improved environmental credentials, low insurance ratings, and – with ESP as standard, and seven airbags – promises decent levels of safety. It's bigger, higher quality, has better design, and maintains Ford's enthusiastic driving tradition without ruining the extra maturity of its more premium-feeling appeal. If there's a car to make the mid-sized saloon sexy again, this is it. If you never thought you'd ever really want a Mondeo again, it might just be time to start thinking again...

The MSN Cars verdict: *****

More than just a worthy successor, it's got the looks, the legroom, and that little something extra, making the new Mondeo a car that you – and Ford – can really be very proud of.


Read more Ford car reviews

Ratings out of five: Ford Mondeo 2.5 T five-door hatchback

Need to know

Petrol engine1.6 (110bhp), 1.6 (125bhp), 2.0, 2.5 T (216bhp)(2.3 coming)
Diesel engine1.8 (100bhp), 1.8 (125bhp), 2.0 (130bhp), 2.0 (140bhp)
Power (bhp)100 - 216
Torque (lb/ft)118 – 236 (250 with overboost on 2.0 diesels)
0-62mph (secs)7.5 - 14.9
Top speed (mph)112 - 152
Combined MPG30.4 - 49.6
CO2 emissions (g/km)/tax (%)151/20 - 222/31 

VIDEO: the Ford Mondeo

Also consider in this class:

Vauxhall Vectra
BMW 3-Series
VW Passat

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