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Ford Mondeo review (2007-2011)
Model: Ford Mondeo 2.5T Duratec Titanium
Bodystyle: five-door hatchback
Engine: 2.5-litre turbo, petrol
Transmission: 6–speed manual
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What is it?
Ford's Mondeo is still the archetypal company car. Once upon a time this was simply the 'reps' car but more recently that has been a damning indictment of the big Ford. The Mondeo moved onwards and upwards in its last incarnation and has done so again with this new model introduced in 2007. It needs to, for UK buyers have been drifting away from family saloons like the Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra and Peugeot 407 and into posher cars from the prestige manufacturers like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. These cost more and have less space but if room really is an issue, then a compact MPV is now often seen as a better bet for family motoring anyway. Can this new Mondeo break that trend?
Where does it fit?
Well, it could do, for Ford has re-invented the Mondeo as a bigger car, very little short of the old Granada and Scorpio in size. Yet the design has cleverly disguised the bulk of the car. The sloping rear roofline and bulbous wheel arches somehow make it look more compact that it really is. This is Ford's largest European saloon, though Ford has thrown its hat heavily into the MPV basket for those who need maximum volume. As well as the compact C-Max, there is the second generation Galaxy and S-Max with full seven-seater capacity, both excellent cars in their own right. Ford continues to offer the Mondeo in saloon, hatchback and estate versions and there are enough diesel and petrol alternatives to satisfy almost everyone.
Is it for you?
Try getting a 3-Series, A4 or C-Class driver to move into a Mondeo and you might as well try to turn straw to gold. It's all about the badge. But that's long been an illogical argument, for the last generation Mondeo was a superb car and this new one is better still. Not only do you get a far roomier package, matching equipment levels with the Germans widens the price disparity even further. And, as we know, if this is a company car, how much disappears from your monthly pay packet is directly related to the cost of the car new. And the C02, which admittedly on this 2.5 turbo isn't the best. But here we have a car with 216bhp that costs £23k, less than a BMW 320iSE with 150bhp.
What does it do well?
Most things really. The 2.5 turbo engine will inevitably be a niche choice but it really is a very fine power unit for the Mondeo. It's the same as fitted in the Focus ST but here there's little hint of these hot hatch credentials, just smooth flowing power coupled to the pulling power of a decent turbo diesel. This Mondeo can be a very relaxed long distance cruiser as well as providing the performance you'd expect: 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds, the top speed is 152mph should you get the opportunity. The steering and handling are also of a high order. Perhaps there could be more feel though the wheel for the enthusiastic driver, but even BMWs seem rather artificial in this respect these days.
What doesn’t it do well?
The ride is good, smooth and comfortable on all surfaces in the new Mondeo, but there is an issue with wheel size. As the wheels move up in size, from 16-inch to 17 and optional 18-inch, the ride gets firmer, especially with the optional sports pack. It's the one area that slightly lets the Mondeo down, for this is otherwise a remarkable refined and extremely quiet car. To be fair you don't quite get the feeling of driver involvement that you do in the 3 Series, but the BMW is better than its prestige peers in this respect anyway (though the 2008 Audi A4 may match it). Like all new Fords immediately after they are launched, the equipment levels leave you feeling slightly short-changed - sat-nav or parking sensors are not standard even in this top-line model. Give it 12 months and that may change.
What’s it like to live with?
Generally extremely easy. You might quibble that the starter button needs holding down where rivals are cleverer and just need a touch, or the rearward visibility in the hatch isn't great for parking, but otherwise it's undemanding. There is heaps of adjustment to the seats and steering wheel. The half leather seats are well shaped and comfortable and, as noted above, the Mondeo is very quiet in this 2.5T form. But the big selling point is undoubtedly the space inside. Rear legroom is simply a class leader (though the extra long Vectra estate rivals the Mondeo in this wagon format). There is no compromise on luggage space either, with a massive 540litre boot and a full tilt-and-fold rear seats that swallows a couple of mountain bikes.
How green is it?
The Ford official figures quote an average of 30mpg and highly unusually we were actually able to better this on a long motorway run at high cruising speeds. Such is the torque of the engine that the transmission could be left in sixth gear and the Mondeo would ease past traffic with just a sniff of extra accelerator pressure. Of course around town it will be worse, possibly much worse, but this is a powerful car. That's reflected in the C02 figure of 222g/km, which is uncomfortably close to the top level for company car taxation.
Would we buy it?
There's a new sense of style and purpose about the latest Mondeo that deserves to make it punch at a new higher level. We reckon it's an extremely good large car and coupled to Ford's recent reputation for reliability (it shines in the Which? survey) it makes a lot of sense. But cars like the Mondeo are never the bargain they quite seem, because they drop in value so quickly. This car may be worth £8,300 as a trade-in in 3 years; that BMW 320SE more like £10,700. Even after discounts (and yes, you can get 7% off the BMW too) it means the Ford costs 63.9 pence per mile to run compared with 55.6 for the 3-Series. Sobering, isn't it?
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