- Comfortable and spacious
- Economical diesels
- Refined, upmarket feel
- Safe and strong
- Some important kit optional
- Lacks enthusiast appeal
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.
It also feels familiar because we’ve known what the car would look like since 2012 after it was first revealed as the American market Ford Fusion, although the hatchback body is for Europe only. The delay bringing the car to Europe is predominantly down to moving the old Mondeo’s entire production facility down from Belgium to Spain where the latest model’s built.
Ford prides itself on introducing relevant technology to its customers that hitherto had remained the preserve of buyers of more prestigious brands.
This continues with the latest Mondeo, although it doesn’t go unnoticed that with its elongated, tapering bodywork, larger trapezoidal grille and a liberal application of chrome-look trim, the latest big Ford also has the air of a more expensive car about it. Mondeo’s fitted with the optional LED headlamps also feature a thin strip of day running light at their base which pulsate with an amber glow when indicating.
Significant advances have been made with the Mondeo’s on-board safety kit and driving aids, building on existing technologies and introducing refinements to them. Parking assistance now parallel parks as well as into ‘bays’, the significantly stronger and safer body shell is also lighter but the safety item likely to grab the most headlines are the optional inflatable seatbelts on the outer two rear seats, giving more cushioned protection in the event of a crash, five times the area of a conventional seatbelt.
All models come with Sync2, Ford’s latest infotainment system with an eight-inch colour touchscreen. It’s intuitive and simple to get used to, using software developed for Ford by Microsoft.
Diesel and petrol options
While the Mondeo continues to be available in hatchback and estate formats, the four-door saloon has made a return to the UK, powered exclusively by a petrol-electric hybrid system. Unlike the latest Volkswagen Passat, petrol engines continue to be available in the latest Ford Mondeo, although they’re only expected to account for around 10 percent of British sales.
From launch at the end of 2014, diesel Mondeos will come with a choice of a 1.6-litre TDCi with 113bhp and a 2.0-litre TDCi delivering 148bhp. Both are fitted with six-speed manual gearboxes and ECOnetic fuel-saving features. The latter is also available with Ford’s PowerShift automatic transmission, as is the more powerful 178bhp edition of the 2.0-litre diesel, although it too comes with a six-speed manual as standard.
With a claimed fuel efficiency of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 94g/km, the 1.6-litre TDCi ECOnetic is the most efficient engine in the range from launch.
By spring 2015, the diesel offering will be expanded with a 118bhp 1.5-litre TDCi, four-wheel drive versions of the existing 2.0-litre TDCi motor as well as a more powerful 207bhp range-topper.
Those preferring petrol will find a smaller choice of 1.5-litre, 158bhp EcoBoost from Zetec trim upwards (with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox choice) and a 237bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost in the Titanium (automatic only).
The petrol range will be expanded in spring 2015 also, when the three-cylinder, 123bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost, more familiar from the Fiesta and Focus, will be slotted under the Mondeo’s bonnet.
There’s no official word yet on a sportier ST version of the new Mondeo although company engineers suggest it would be able to react quickly to market demand if necessary.
More space, more upmarket
Passengers clearly benefit from the wealth of interior space in the Mondeo, with genuine space for five adults, riding comfortably on standard suspension – the impressive adaptive version is not available as an option on UK cars. The boot’s spacious at 541 litres (with a space-saver wheel; an optional full-size spare shrinks it to 458 litres), although rivals offer more luggage capacity if that’s your primary concern.
Previous Mondeo owners may also lament that while the new car is accurate and nimble it lacks the impressive driver involvement older models have provided enthusiasts with.