The Ford Mondeo, potentially, is one of the most underrated cars currently on sale, and it’s been the case for at least a couple of generations now. The Blue Oval’s big saloon provides big space and surprisingly sharp drive along with an alternative flair that’s refreshing in the automotive landscape.
It’s offered in three grades: Ambiente, Trend, and Titanium. Unlike many other cars of this size, the Mondeo ‘sedan’ technically arrives as a hatchback because the entire lid lifts out. This is also necessitated by the shallow boot overhand relative to the C-pillar due to its sportier coupe-like shape.
In addition to its improved looks, Ford has upped its game inside too with a noticeable effort made to the cabin’s materials, ergonomics, refinement, and build quality. Competitors such as the Mazda6, Honda Accord, and Volkswagen Passat each have their strong points, but Ford is swinging for the fences with their fourth attempt at the Mondeo, offering an impressive blend of talents and value that buyers should take notice of.
Unlike the previous generation version, this newest iteration places focus more on comfort, which some say sacrifices the dynamic ability that the Mondeos have traditionally excelled in relation to its rivals. But to broaden its appeal, Ford has decided to shuffle the car’s focus to an extent.
On the surface, the change makes perfect sense as a pliant ride is more important than absolute handling prowess, especially to the kind of buyers who look toward a car like the Mondeo. But has the pendulum swung to far the other way and alienated who’d rather suffer a reduced level of comfort for a more engaging drive? In other words, is the Mondeo now too German for its own good?
Mondeo hatch has the same coupe-like styling that Mercedes pioneered with its CLS-Class. It works well with the Benz and equally so with the big Ford – at a third of the price. - CarsGuide
With hints of Aston Martin coming from that large front grille, flanked by squinty headlights and accent lines on its hood, the 4th-generation Mondeo can roll with the best of them in terms of making a strong first impression.
It’s ironic that this Mondeo is being so frequently being compared to some German competition. While it’s true that the influence of Ford’s European arm has been steadily increasing over their global portfolio, this car can be traced to the Ford Fusion with which it shares many components and an near-identical exterior, and which debuted in North America before the rest of the world came to know it as the Mondeo.
As far as how it looks on the road, its size certainly makes its presence felt, particularly when fitted with the large alloys fitted to the range-topping Titanium variant, managing to look aggressive but mature and purposeful.
It might not have the all-out panache of the Mazda6 nor does it quite match the immediate sense of solidity upon gazing at Volkswagen’s B8 Passat, but it can proudly sit parked next to both without looking like the odd one out. Next to the Accord and Camry, though, and its confidence should stand a much better chance.
Engine and Drivetrain
“The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine may sound a bit wussy compared to the muscular 4.0-litre in-line sixes and larger V8s that have typically been the beating hearts of large Aussie cars. But it pulls well, which makes overtaking erratic drivers on the 110km/h highways a breeze.” - Motoring
Elsewhere in the world, the Mondeo can be had with Ford’s eager turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. But with less than 100kW to play with, we’d struggle to fathom how it would even move with over 1,500kg of Ford to lug.
Luckily, Australian buyers get a more streamlined range of engines, starting with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 177kW (or 149kW in the Ambiente) and 345Nm and for keen highway cruisers, a 2.0-litre TDCi turbodiesel four pot is also offered with less power at 132kW but a more robust torque figure of 400Nm. Depending on how heavy your right foot is, though, and you may find the modest 2.0-litre petrol to abandon its normally frugal operation to deliver the most poke at the your literal expense.
At times, although speed climbs quickly enough in the, the 2.0-litre petrol EcoBoost motor can feel strained when asking it to fling the Mondeo up an open straight stretch of road, which no doubt contributes to the drop in fuel economy. Therefore, the TDCi diesel earns our recommendation instead, with a caveat.
All versions of the Mondeo come with a six-speed torque converter automatic which is a decent pairing to the car in terms of slick shifts. Ford’s dual-clutch Powershift transmission would have been able to eek out some extra fuel economy points in the EcoBoost petrol, but is reserved for only the diesel option.
The conventional automatic transmission, which was originally created with GM’s involvement back in 2002, also urged Ford to include it in lieu of the Getrag-sourced PowerShift unit in the updated third-generation Focus.
"From every angle, the Mondeo is an exercise in clean and simple design that doesn’t ‘wow’ you, but just works. Yes it errs to the bland and safe end of form, but the Mondeo is all about function." - CarAdvice
The Mondeo’s interior is a definite step up in terms of material quality and cabin convenience technology. Most of the surfaces in direct eye line or are likely to come into contact with occupants have been lined with solid feeling and/or soft touch substances, and the inclusion of the Ford’s latest infotainment suite puts it on par with the competition.
Its quality is not quite on par with the Passat but can definitely trade punches with the Peugeot 508 and Mazda6, but not in terms of flair. Everything is logically placed and easy to understand, but the glossy piano black finishes on the centre stack, for example, can accumulate small scratches over time, and the aluminium accents do little to save from what isn’t a very inspiring cabin.
But the Mondeo makes up for that somewhat with its comfort levels. And in comparison to the Mazda6 and Honda Accord, can be classed as the most accomplished cruiser thanks to its quiet cabin, poised ride, and very accommodating seats.
The Mondeo 5-door hatch can easily accommodate a family’s worth of luggage for a weekend trip, with 458-litres of cargo space and much more practicality when the wagon body style is chosen.
Behind The Wheel
“…seconds into an enthusiastic drive it becomes clear the engineers responsible for fine-tuning the suspension are fans of driving. Some of the DNA we experienced in our recent Focus drive – a poised, agile chassis, accurate steering – can all be felt in the larger Mondeo.” - EVO UK
While it is true that this fourth-generation Mondeo is more comfortable than its predecessors, driving dynamics hasn’t exactly been pushed to wayside. When it first debuted in 2013, it was the first car in the Ford stable, it was the first car in their stable to gain an integral link rear suspension.
The argument against driver involvement can be pointed somewhat to the shift to electrically-assisted power steering over the hydraulic system used previously. It’s rather a quick rack as well, light too, helping the Mondeo to feel nimbler in urban traffic than its dimensions might have you assume.
In higher grades, the Mondeo even comes with selectable Sport mode that tightens up the steering response and adaptive suspension, helping you feel more connected that twisty scenic mountain after you’ve had your fill of highway cruising - something the Mondeo does particularly well.
Around more challenging corners, however, the car’s weight becomes more obvious but the nicely judged chassis and predictable dynamics rarely feels overwhelmed if kept within reasonable limits.
Safety and Technology
“Most of the Mondeo’s functions are controlled through a large touchscreen that’s easy to read. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to use, because some of the on-screen buttons are small and fiddly.” - Telegraph Cars
All Mondeos come standard with a 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display at operates on Ford’s SYNC3 software which also includes integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The resolution and response isn’t class leading but, all told, is one of the most usable systems in the business once you get used to it.
Other niceties include dual-zone climate control, LED tail lamps, reversing camera, together with front and rear parking sensors. ANCAP gives it a rating of 5-stars and seven airbags are also included for every variant, however you’d have to step up from the base Ambiente to enjoy features such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
Ford’s in a better position to compete with the more sophisticated European competition with this fourth-generation Mondeo, more so that it had ever been. However, some areas such as the uninspiring cabin need to be improved if Ford intends to make its mark on market.
To really change the tide with relation to buyers at this price point, this Mondeo takes a step in the right direction, offering a stylish car that’s more mature to drive, look at, and be in, emphasising refinement while being careful to retain the sharp drive that its forebears are known for. It’s a tough balancing act, but Ford seems to have managed it impressively.
EVO UK - 4/5 - “Ford Europe’s most technologically advanced car mixes tech and practicality with a talented chassis.”
Telegraph Cars - 8/10 - The Ford Mondeo blends space and comfort with driving fun, and while there are plenty of rivals with classier interiors, most of them will cost you more to buy and run. Whether you’re looking for a family car or a business car, then, the Mondeo is a fine choice.”
CarAdvice - 8/10 - “We owe it to the Mondeo to come up with a better word for average - it's great but bland; all the kit you need; great space; comfortable on long trips.”
AutoExpress - 4/5 - “The fourth-generation Ford Mondeo is not only a bigger (and more expensive) car than it's ever been, but it's also more upmarket, more refined and considerably more high-tech.”
Motoring - 73/100 - “As a substitute for the Falcon, the Mondeo works. It’s not perfect – it doesn’t have the dynamics, the comfort levels of the Falcon, nor its dirt road confidence – but if it’s time to move on, this isn’t a bad way to do it.”
CarsGuide - 3.5/5 - “With its smooth styling, spacious interior and general good looks it should attract plenty of attention from the daily commuter or family buyer, as well as for its performance from the keen driver.”
Drive.com.au - 7.5/10 - “…the Ford clocks consistently high scores for value, technology, functionality, safety and servicing. Its diesel engine is a refined, economical gem, and its mix of comfort and control is one of the sweetest on the road.”
The Motor Report - 4.5/5 - “However, for overall quality, for its refined cabin, on-road dynamics and safety technology, Ford’s Mondeo Titanium wagon is a very convincing car. It is, in our view, a genuine alternative to the much more expensive prestige German brands.”