January 24, 2020
Refreshed for a Premium Feel
After 27 years in production, Ford has refreshed the Mondeo in 2019. Ford added some premium appeal to the exterior, with a deeper trapezoidal grille with different finishes depending on the model; a sophisticated chrome bar highlights the Titanium models, while a gloss-black slotted grille points to the sportier ST-Line trim. These are joined by new bumpers and lower grille, along with some updated lights.
Take the Ford badge off and you’d be forgiven for thinking the sleek body belongs on something more expensive.
The model tested here is swathed in Leather, including across the dashboard and up the centre console, but there’s a slightly flimsy-feeling plastic around the stereo or gear lever. Those with an eight-speed automatic gearbox have that stick replaced with a rotary dial, adding an extra sensation of spaciousness.
Airs and Spaces
It’s more than a sensation – the Mondeo is large, being built to accommodate the US market as well as our tiny island nation. The extra bulk you carry around with you means there’s enough room for three adults to travel alongside each other in the rear, although there isn’t much space at that point. The estate, as tested here, benefits from a long, extended roofline that also increases headroom, so six-footers are catered for as well.
The driver, sitting there all day, gets a cabin that is oddly difficult to get cosy in but, once you’ve found the perfect position, rewards you by becoming possibly the most comfortable place you’ll ever sit.
The estate adds a lot of luggage room too, with a wide and flat floor making life particularly easy. Some rivals may offer a few extra litres, but the shape of the Mondeo’s boot and meagre differences in total capacity means it’s right at the top of the class.
Unless you specify the Hybrid, that is. Thanks to having to hide a battery pack somewhere, the boot reduces from the regular 755-litres to 633-litres.
Power to Boot
There’s a clue that this is the new hybrid-powered version of the Mondeo Estate – that huge ‘HYBRID’ badge on the door is a giveaway, for a start. The lack of any kind of noise once you’ve pushed the ‘Start’ button is also a hint.
Like the Prius, the Mondeo uses an engine and electric motor, both mounted under the bonnet where you would expect. The engine is a 2.0-litre petrol unit, much like you’ll find in many other Fords, while the electric motor sits alongside, pulling power from the 1.4 kWh batteries mounted under the boot floor, which explains the reduction in space.
There’s a CVT automatic transmission between them and the wheels, with computers deciding whether to use petrol power, electrical charge or a combination of both to keep you moving. And, like every other hybrid, it will gather up lost energy from braking or coasting and put that back into the battery pack.
The fuel-saving benefit can be significant around town, where you’ll find the engine switching off more frequently than you might expect. It’s less pronounced on the motorway, where there’s 1.8 tonnes of metal to pull along, but it’ll run a ‘normal’ diesel engine close.
The only real downside is that Ford has chosen to tune the hybrid system almost entirely for economy, which leaves it feeling rather lethargic when you do want to make swift progress. That’s made even more frustrating by the CVT gearbox that takes some time to react, so dashing out into a tight gap requires careful consideration.
Still, assuming you’re not hurling around country roads, trying to defy Ford’s engineers, the Mondeo is remarkably comfortable, both for you and your passengers.
A Kind of Benefit
Low CO2 numbers bring a lot of cost benefits to the Mondeo, with the capital allowances falling into the 18% WDA range thanks to emissions dropping below the 110g/km. Where the car is used as a company vehicle, drivers will also benefit from a BIK rate of 24%, avoiding the extra 4% uplift for diesel-powered choices. Even car tax is lower, although the £10 a year saving won’t buy more than a couple of pints, and don’t think the hybrid nature means you’ll avoid paying to get into London.
There’s also a wellbeing benefit, with something as simple as being able to sit with the radio and heater on without the engine vibrating away, making noise and producing pollutants. It’ll kick in eventually, of course, but you’ll be able to spend a long time in comfort without the downsides of motoring coming into play.
There’s a reason that a local cab firm to me runs a huge fleet red Mondeos, and that is that it’s a hugely capable car. It might lack the badge kudos that you get from an Audi A4 or similar, but the big Ford makes up for it with comfort, space and equipment that its rivals can’t, well, rival.
The hybrid power option adds a whole new level of refinement to the package too, even if that comes at the expense of driving engagement and the sacrifice of a little boot space. For those based in town or city, it’ll pay for itself in a number of different ways, but the outright economy isn’t quite strong enough to make the diesel engine redundant for those doing lengthy motorway runs.
Depreciation costs are likely to be quite steep though, which could impact leasing costs. That said, there are huge discounts available which could shore them right back up again.
You might not initially think of the Mondeo as a place you want to spend your days but stick with it, and you’ll be happy that your office is as plush, more spacious and better specified than anyone would imagine.
About the Author
Phil Huff is one of the UK’s most respected motoring journalists, with years of experience test driving new cars and light commercial vehicles for national magazines and newspapers, as well as popular online sites. When not driving other people’s cars, he can be found provoking the ire of Cambridge residents in his old Corvette.
Model Tested: Titanium Estate 2.0 TiVCT HYBRID
|Warranty:||3 Years / 60,000 miles|
|Car Tax:||£140 then £135|
|Power:||187 PS (120 bhp)|
0-62 mph: 9.2 seconds
|CO2 emissions:||103 g/km|
|Loadspace:||633 / 1,508 litres|