Ford Mondeo Hatchback (14 on) - Review

Review by Keith Jones on
Last Updated: 03 Nov 2014
4.5
There’s a sense of familiarity about the all-new Ford Mondeo hatchback but the latest range of large family cars is different from the ground up. Why familiar? Well there’s undoubtedly more of an evolutionary step between this generation Mondeo and the previous one, whereas before each new model broke with the styling themes of the one before.

4 out of 5

Performance

Despite the entire engine range being turbocharged, it’s done to improve overall efficiency rather than allow Ford Mondeo performance to scintillate.

Three diesels from launch

With diesel engines expected to power 90 percent of Mondeo hatchbacks in Britain it’s important to offer a strong choice and Ford has delivered.

Most economical is the ECOnetic 1.6-litre TDCi producing 113bhp and a useful 270Nm of torque at 1,750rpm. Unsurprisingly with a top speed of 119mph and completing the 0-62mph sprint in a leisurely 12.1 seconds it’s the slowest Mondeo hatchback available, but mated to a six-speed manual gearbox it’s also the most economical too. Posting a claimed average of 78.5mpg with CO2 emissions of just 94g/km.

We expect the 2.0-litre TDCi in 148bhp to be the most popular choice though. Manual versions have ECOnetic fuel-saving measures, meaning 69.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 107g/km, yet top speed jumps to 134mph and the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 9.4 seconds.

Choose the six-speed PowerShift automatic and there’s a negative impact on performance (132mph, 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds) and efficiency (58.9mpg and 125g/km CO2).

Opt for the Titanium specification and there’s a 178bhp edition of the 2.0-litre available. In PowerShift automatic form the efficiency figures remain the same but performance marginally improves to 139mph and 8.6 seconds for the standstill to 62mph test.

Fitted with the manual transmission and no ECOnetic trickery, efficiency suffers: 64.2mpg and 115g/km are Ford’s claims, but performance is impressive at 140mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds. On test the torquey (400Nm from 2,000 rpm, compared to the 148bhp engine’s 350Nm output), relaxed delivery matched the Mondeo’s character well, offering unruffled and relatively quiet progress.

By spring 2015 the diesel range will have been expanded with a 118bhp 1.5-litre TDCi, a 207bhp version of the 2.0-litre motor and four-wheel drive versions of the existing 148bhp and 178bhp engines.

Initial pair of petrols

No petrol engines are fitted to the entry-level Style trim, so you have to go for a Zetec to access the 1.5-litre EcoBoost with 158bhp and 240Nm from just 1,500rpm. On the road this engine didn’t feel as flexible as that torque figure suggests, require frequent flicking of the six-speed manual gearbox from one ratio to another, but again its subdued note didn’t intrude much into the Mondeo’s cabin.

It’s brisk rather than quick with a 138mph top speed and a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds, while efficiency claims are 48.7mpg and 134g/km of CO2.

This engine can also be equipped with an optional six-speed automatic, pulling claims down to 44.8mpg and increases emissions to 146g/km of CO2. While 0.1 seconds is shaved off the sprint to 62mph from a standstill, top speed drops to 133mph.

If outright speed is your concern, then you need to pay attention to the 237bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost, only available in Titanium trim and then exclusively with the six-speed automatic gearbox. 149mph all out and reaching 62mph from nothing in 7.9 seconds sound quick for a family car, aided by 345Nm of torque from 2,300rpm, but you’ll pay the price with claims of 38.7mpg and 169g/km of CO2.

Also in the spring 2015 range expansion, the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost, seen elsewhere in the Fiesta and Focus among others, will debut in the Mondeo too in 123bhp form.

4.5 out of 5

Handling

One Ford Mondeo characteristic that’s been a hallmark since the original debuted in 1993 is the keen and engaging handling, although it has to be noted that while the responsiveness of each generation has improved, the enjoyment the driver senses is slightly diluted.

This trend’s continued with the latest Mondeo too, which handles with greater agility and nimbleness than its size suggests is likely, yet enthusiastic drivers will lament that the experience feels slightly anaesthetised.

Fitting electric, rather than hydraulic, power steering is the key reason. There’s no doubting its accuracy, grip and willingness to change direction, going exactly where you wanted it – understeer, where the car pushes wide, only occurs when you carry an ambitious amount of speed into a corner – but there’s less sensation of what the front end is up to coming through the steering wheel. Many drivers might also feel it lighter than the expected too, which is great for slow-speed urban driving, less engaging on twisty B-roads.

Whether over billiard table-smooth fresh asphalt or seen-better-days surfaces, the latest Mondeo rides well, with composed body control, reducing the floaty sensation some larger cars suffer. No adaptive suspension option is available in the UK but the standard set-up works well. You do feel the initial bump or ridge you’ve driven over, but it’s softened and unlikely to trouble passengers significantly.

Roll through corners is also kept to a minimum too allowing you to maintain good progress without applying the brakes too much on windier roads. The brakes themselves work effectively, with little signs of fading even after repeated, heavy application. Unlike the steering, the pedals feel well-weighted and there’s a slick, well-engineered shift action to the manual gearboxes.

All of which means that the latest Mondeo is refined, composed and comfortable, just lacking the sparkle that attracted keen drivers in the past.