Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- An excellent all-rounder and a truly multi-purpose car
- Unbeatable price in the 2nd hand market
- Expect to be spoilt for choice when it comes to engines
- A relatively safe car whose body was built with safety in mind
- Great ergonomics and space for a car this size
- Auto-gearboxes are erratic and very expensive to repair
- Some spare parts are very expensive
- Turbo diesel may have reliability issues
The Ford Mondeo was launched in 1993 as a successor to the famous Ford Sierra, which despite it's established place in motoring folklore managed to sell almost 1.3 million units in the UK alone. The Mondeo has successfully continued the traditions of dominating the highly-competitive family car market. The car was voted European Car of the Year in 1994. By the time of the new model launch the majority of Sierra's inbred faults had been eradicated. Combined with the usually wide array of body styles and engines it was always destined to be a winning formula. The fact that Mondeos were manufactured at the Ford plant in Genk, Belgium meant that good-quality assembly was guaranteed.
The Mondeo has something for anyone ‐ starting from an extra efficient diesel ending with the sporty ST200 managing 200BHP. Because several new Mondeo generations have been introduced ever since, the first generation Mondeo is a great value for money. It is advisable to go for a post-1996 model to have a better choice of engines and equipment.
Exterior and Interior
The Mondeo provides a convenient driving position and plenty of space for passengers and luggage. The instrument panel and turning selectors are easily accessible and pleasant to touch. Ford is always offering a good amount of standard equipment so if you manage to find a GLX modification, expect great quality trim and a load of extra features, including air conditioning. The best thing about Ford in general is that, unlike some other car manufacturers, its top of the range GLX version was equipped with any engine depending on the client's choice (except of the 2.5-litre ST engine that was available only on the ST200 models). It means that if you prefer to save money on a diesel, you can still find a car with a great trim and acceptable design.
Safety was one of the main points in the marketing plan for the Mondeo. It was advertised as a car whose body has been created to be extra safe. Yes, for the standards of mid-90s it is a safe car, especially the later versions with air-bags. However, striving for ergonomics and good pedal positions they've pushed the pedal box too far into the engine compartment. It might be a problem in high-speed frontal collisions. Another weak point of the Mondeo is the B pillar that has a reduced stiffness in case of a side-collision.
The Mondeo debuted slightly before the famous New-Edge design revolution of Ford, hence you'll find no New-Edge design elements in the exterior of this car, although the face-lifted models started featuring headlamps trying to get the car under the same design blanket. It was not an ugly car but it's neither classic nor modern, especially the hatch-back version.
Performance and Economy
You cannot really fault Ford's engines ‐ they are reasonably efficient and powerful. Even though some of the older ones are lacking power, they can do the job and won't break the bank. If you find a diesel with under-100,000 miles on the clock, it should be a good choice. The savvy choice, however, will be a 1.8-litre GLX ‐ it will give you decent economy and it usually fits within insurance group 17. On a side note, an ST200 will catapult you in the group 34 making it difficult to insure.
Like to Drive
You won't be disappointed. The Mondeo isn't a boring car, it is pleasant to drive but it's main value is the utility. The first generation of the Mondeo isn't a big car yet it can seat 5 people relatively comfortably and there's plenty of space in the boot. The sedan version has 460 L, hatch-back up to 1290 L topped by the Wagon modification with up to 1610 L of space with folded back seats. If you don't mind the outdated looks, you'll get plenty of joy driving one.
Faults and Repairs
Nothing serious should happen to your Mondeo unless it hasn't seen good maintenance. The parts that are prone to breakages are the automatic gearbox and clutch. Other than that they are mostly minor faults that are easily fixable.