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Volkswagen Passat or Ford Mondeo?

  • Two crucial company cars compared
  • Six improtant factors explored
  • Which one will come out on top?

Two of the titans of the company car world have been re-launched this year, and it’s likely many of you will have to pick between them.

With that in mind we’ve pit them against one another to find out which we’d choose and why. We’ve set the feature out in terms of six criteria we think are important, and at the end we’ve chosen a winner. Which one will come out on top?

Body style


We’ve got three choices here. The Passat is available as saloon or estate body styles, while the Mondeo gets both a saloon and estate options plus a hatchback too. The reason Ford has added the Mondeo hatchback is actually because the saloon version is only available with a hybrid powertrain. While this keeps CO2 emissions nice and low, they’re actually bettered by the conventional diesel engines. Since you have to sacrifice some practicality to allow the hybrid batteries to fit (you can’t fold down the rear seats and the boot is smaller than the hatchback) we don’t predict many company car drivers picking the saloon.

So that leaves the Mondeo hatchback against the Passat saloon and both cars’ estate models facing off against one another.

For the sake of consistency and to compare apples with apples, we’d pick the more practical estate versions. They’re marginally better-selling in the Passat's case too.

Running costs

Upon launch the Mondeo pips the Passat to the post here. Its 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine is capable of claimed fuel economy of 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 99g/km. The VW’s most efficient engine is also a 1.6-litre diesel, but emits 104g/km and will return 72mpg.

You can see there’s no a lot in it, but the Ford does come out on top.

We don’t have specific Benefit-in-Kind tax information for both cars at this point but since the Mondeo Estate range starts at £22,045 and the Passat Estate at £23,745, we think it’s safe to say the Ford is going to be slightly cheaper to tax as well.

Performance

The range of engines on offer varies wildly here. Ford has equipped the Mondeo with three diesels and two petrol engines, while the Passat makes do with four diesels.

At the top of the tree the VW takes the win – its 2-litre BiTDI diesel has 238bhp and a huge 500Nm of torque, meaning 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and a 149mph top speed. You’re only allowed this engine with the excellent DSG automatic gearbox. There’s no manual option.

Ford’s pinnacle is the 237bhp 2-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, which again is auto-only but thanks to lower torque figures will cover the same 0-62mph sprint in eight seconds flat.

Judging at what’s expected to be the best-selling level, both cars have a 2-litre diesel with 148bhp. The Mondeo’s 350Nm of torque trumps the Passat’s 340Nm, but performance-wise the Passat wins with a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds compared to the Mondeo’s 9.5 second sprint.

Practicality

While neither is a small car by any stretch of the imagination, there’s a clear winner here. The previous version of the Passat was massive, and this one is appreciably bigger. Its 650-litre boot demolishes the Mondeo’s 500 litres of room, while folding the rear seats down sees the Passat’s 1,780 litres dwarf the Ford’s 1,605 litres.

Space for passengers in the cabins of both cars is more than ample, with five adults easily seated in relative comfort.

Both cars have good-sized gloveboxes and cup-holders to accommodate refreshments on the move.

Equipment

The Volkswagen trim to choose is SE Business, and as the name suggests it’s aimed squarely at company car drivers. Highlights on the specification list include sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and rain-sensing wipers.

Ford’s Titanium trim is expected to make up half of all Mondeo sales, and includes sat-nav, sports seats, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition. It goes without front and rear parking sensors, which we’d prefer for day-to-day use over the latter two safety features on the Mondeo. For that reason we’d hand the win to the VW again.

Safety

Again the Passat takes the honours here, primarily because many of its safety systems are standard-fit while Ford has chosen to make features like inflatable rear seatbelts, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning optional extras.

The VW also gets front and rear parking sensors on its fleet-focused trim, so that also works in its favour. It features an incredibly clever optional system which will drive for you in traffic jams at low speeds, and you can also order an automated trailer parking system.

With all that said, neither car is unsafe by any means whatsoever. They’re also likely to pass muster with Euro NCAP crash tests, with both firms expecting five star results.

Verdict

What this exercise has shown more than anything else is that we’ve got two incredibly capable cars here. Both are highly desirable, massively practical and cheap to run.

As with any head-to-head battle though, there has to be a winner and in this case it’s the Volkswagen Passat Estate. It’s bigger, quicker, has more useful equipment and is nearly as cheap to run as the Ford.

Read the full Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Read the full Volkswagen Passat Saloon review

Read the full Ford Mondeo Estate review

Read the full Ford Mondeo Saloon review

Read the full Ford Mondeo Hatchback review