The term “Mondeo man” has become a little derisory, implying someone is a conventional and boring suburbanite. Not only is that unfair to the people so described, it’s also unfair to the car itself.
The Mondeo was admittedly designed to have mass-market appeal, and the latest version, which launched in 2007, is a very good car and a great improvement on its predecessor — the top-of-the-range Titanium X model can hold its own against more expensive German counterparts. It’s also family friendly, with boot space that is almost on a par with the Mercedes S-class, and a spacious cabin that comfortably seats five adults.
It’s also good to drive, with sharp handling and a supple ride, and offers a multitude of lively engines. Petrol units range from a 110bhp 1.6-litre to a 220bhp 2.5. Diesel engines are fewer and range from the 100bhp 1.8 TDCi to the 175bhp 2.2 TDCi; the 2-litre TDCi diesel giving the best combination of economy, performance and refinement.
The Mondeo also comes with several trim levels, starting with Edge, running through Zetec and Ghia, and topping out with Titanium and Titanium X. There is also a “green” Econetic model. As a general rule the Titanium models feel contemporary, surprisingly minimalist and rather slick, and have metal-effect trim adorning the dashboard, while Edge and Zetec examples tend to be more run-of-the-mill. The Ghia specification feels more “Roveresque” and gentlemanly, thanks to wood-effect inserts and splashes of chrome.
Standard kit is pretty good on all models, though, and emphasises safety and security with a multitude of airbags, traction control and an alarm system with engine immobiliser.
Reliability and servicing
The Mondeo is Britain’s bestselling large family car and the fact that most owners are very content with their purchase underlines how well made it is.
Some early 2.2-litre diesel models suffered from engine management problems but cars from mid-2008 onwards seem to be trouble-free in this regard. Some owners have also complained about rainwater running into the boot when the tailgate is opened, but this seems to be a design characteristic rather than a component failure.
A service is needed every 12,500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. There is often confusion regarding cambelt replacement, as not all Mondeo engines have a cam belt. You can check if a particular car has one by quoting its registration number to a Ford dealer. Cam belts need changing every 100,000 miles.
Mid-grade models retain only 32% of their new list price after three years or 60,000 miles, but thereafter the devaluation starts to level off. On higher-spec models check that all the extra electrical devices work and don’t get drawn into paying significantly more for extra equipment unless it’s to get something that you feel will directly enhance your driving pleasure.
NEED TO KNOW
Adaptive Cruise Control A rare and expensive option that provides automatic braking to ensure you maintain a safe distance from the car in front
Bumpers Parking sensors were available only as an option on most models. Few have it, so check carefully for bumper damage
Radiator Grille Delicate plastic grille is often cracked
Rear lights Don’t be fooled by their appearance: despite looking as if they have LEDs they use conventional filament bulbs
Security Thatcham category-1 alarm and immobiliser standard on all models
Spare wheel Check that the standard space-saver wheel/tyre is present and serviceable
Stereo The Mondeo’s standard-fit stereos are easy to operate and have particularly good sound quality
The one to buy
A 2008 08-registered Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Titanium hatchback with 20,000 miles on the clock and full service history. Pay £13,250 at a franchised dealer or £12,000 privately
Or for similar money
2007 07 Jaguar X-type 2.2d SE
2008 08 Citroën C5 2.0 HDi Exclusive
2009 58 Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi Exclusiv
2009 58 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI S
2009 09 Renault Laguna 2.0 dCi Dynamique