Ford Mondeo vs Vauxhall Insignia: which is best?

  • Popular mile-munchers go head to head
  • Both diesel powered with sporty look
  • Which should you go for? 
  • Popular mile-munchers go head to head
  • Both diesel powered with sporty look
  • Which should you go for? 

Ford vs Vauxhall – an age-old rivalry that has seen cars of all shapes and sizes from both companies vying for customers. One of the most important is the fight between the Mondeo and Insignia.

We’ve brought together 2.0-litre diesel versions of both cars in the sportiest-looking trims available:

Which is best to drive?

Once upon a time, if you wanted the best-handling family hatchback, you went straight to the Ford dealer. Now though, it’s not so clear-cut.

In becoming a car that sells in most markets around the world, the Mondeo needs to appeal to a broader selection of customers, meaning it’s now more focused on all-round comfort rather than out-and-out sportiness.

As a result, it’s the Insignia that wins the prize for driving enjoyment, as its steering is weightier and provides more feedback than the Mondeo’s which feels inconsistent and very keen to self-centre, while body control is tauter compared with the Ford as well.

In terms of performance, they feel evenly matched. Both 2.0-litre diesel engines are effortlessly smooth and torquey – ideal for motorway journeys – and remain refined at speed. The Insignia produces 170hp and 400Nm of torque, while the Mondeo has 180hp and an equal 400Nm of pulling power.

If you’re concerned about 0-62mph times, the Mondeo will complete the benchmark sprint in 8.3 seconds, while the Vauxhall takes an extra 1.3 seconds, although it doesn’t necessarily feel much slower in action.

Again, it’s the Vauxhall which feels more involving to get up to speed thanks to a slick manual gearbox. There’s nothing wrong with the Ford’s per se, it just doesn’t feel as precise to use.

The Mondeo claws back some ground with a more insulated interior with less noise intrusion from the engine and large tyres (both test cars rode on 19-inch alloys), as well as a softer ride over bumps in the road. For many drivers, this will be more important for the majority of journeys than a pin-sharp drive.

Which has the best interior?

Inside, the two cars feel very different. The Vauxhall feels much smaller inside with a low roof, high window line and dark headlining. The dashboard is beginning to look dated too, and the quality isn’t up to the firm’s high standard of more recent cars.

However, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position and once you’ve navigated your way in avoiding the low roof, there’s actually plenty of space.

The Mondeo feels much more modern and spacious inside – especially widthways. The dashboard is simple in design but easy to use, and feels higher quality than the Vauxhall.

There’s plenty of space for driver and passengers but, again, it can feel quite dark with that sloping roofline and heavily tinted rear windows.

Which car comes with the most equipment?

Both of these trim levels focus on offering sporty looks in combination with an economical engine under the bonnet.

Naturally, there’s a lower-slung stance thanks to an all-round bodykit, subtle boot lip spoilers and large 19-inch alloys completing the look on both cars. Both are effective, but there’s no disguising just how long the Mondeo really is.

In terms of equipment thrown in, here’s what you get as standard on both cars.

Vauxhall Insignia SRi VX-Line Nav (£25,965):

Ford Mondeo ST-Line (£26,345):

To get the look of our Mondeo test car though, you’ll need to splash the cash on £545 metallic paint, £900 adaptive LED headlamps, £550 19-inch alloy wheels and £200 privacy glass, while a selection of safety and driver assistance kit on top of this brings our test car’s total cost to £31,000.

For comparison, the Insignia just adds metallic paint for £555, £460 parking sensors and £405 OnStar for a total of just over £27,000.

How much do they cost to run?

Here’s all you need to know regarding running costs, fuel efficiency and company car costs.

Insignia: 62.8mpg, 118g/km, 954 miles per tank, £99 per month BIK

Mondeo: 62.8mpg, 117g/km, 845 miles per tank, £108 per month BIK

How much to finance these cars?

If you’re buying privately using PCP finance, here are the numbers you’ll be interested in:

Mondeo - £479p/m over 36 months at 0% with a £3,000 deposit, 9,000 miles per year. Cash price is £29,384, and the same if you finance the car and buy it at the end of the term.

Insignia - £418p/m over 37 months at 3.7% with a £3,000 deposit, 9,000 miles per year. Cash price is £26,165, or £28,035 if you buy on finance and pay the optional final payment at the end of the term.

Verdict

Ford and Vauxhall are seasoned professionals in making cars of this size, and it shows.

Despite the Insignia being a much older car than the Mondeo, it doesn’t feel it when you drive it. In fact, Ford could learn a thing or two from Vauxhall in how to make a good-to-drive large hatchback once more.

That’s not to say the Mondeo is bad. Far from it. It’s the one to go for if you need space and want the most equipment for your cash, plus it’s more refined and relaxing to drive on a long journey.

It’s hard to recommend the outgoing Insignia when its replacement – the Grand Sport – offers more space and equipment at a lower price than both cars in this comparison.

At £26,165 with £2,365-worth of options added to match our Mondeo test car’s £31,135 price tag, a Grand Sport represents great value, so we’d wait and go for that.

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