Currently reading: Ford Mondeo at 20: picture special
We take a look back at the history of Ford's family workhorse, the Mondeo, as it reaches its 20th birthday
Autocar
News
4 mins read
24 September 2013

The Ford Mondeo began its life in 1993, when it was launched as the replacement for the Blue Oval's ageing Sierra. 

It was billed as the first 'car for the world', with Ford hoping the model would gain the same affinity with the public as the iconic Model T.

Ford took lessons learnt from its sales of the Escort, namely that European and American models would need different routes to market, and planned the Mondeo's launch accordingly. 

American innovations, like the inclusion of a driver's airbag, were brought over for the European version, which was to be offered in three body styles. Buyers could also pick from one of five trim levels: Base, LX, GLX, Ghia and Si.

Initially, the Mondeo was offered with three petrol engines, including a 1.6-litre, a 1.8-litre and a 2.0-litre unit. The 1.6-litre unit had 104bhp which allowed for a 0-60mph time of 12.5sec, while the 1.8-litre had 114bhp and a 0-60 time of less than 10 seconds. 

The 2.0-litre engine offered up 134bhp, which allowed the Mondeo to sprint from 0-60mph time of 9.6sec. 

The Mondeo shared little with the Sierra that preceded it. For one thing, the Mondeo was 5cm shorter than the Sierra, making it more suitable for British garages. 

Ford had done its homework with the Mondeo and it subsequently proved to be a hit, beating its rivals and clinching the Car of the Year award from What Car? in 1993 

In 1994, the Mondeo continued its success and won European Car of the Year. That year also saw Ford put its V6 petrol variant of the Mondeo into production. 

1996

Three and a half years into production, the Mondeo received a facelift that brought around changes inside and out. The new Mondeo shed up to 18kg from the previous model, improving performance and economy.

The Mk2 Mondeo had a base price of £12,395 for the 1.6-litre Aspen version, rising to £20,850 for the V6 Ghia X. With improvements made to the ride, handling and engine, the Mondeo stayed ahead of its competitors.

In 1997 a new sporty V6 variant, the ST-24, was introduced. Featuring a 2.5-litre 168bhp V6, which catapulted the ST-24 from 0-62mph in 8.0sec and onto a top speed of 148mph, the car was Ford's first ever ST.

The next ST variant, the ST200, was introduced in 1999. The car was named after the engine output of its 2.5-litre V6 engine (although the engine actually produced 202bhp), and was sold with Recaro seats and sports suspension. The police quickly started using the ST200 as a pursuit car.

2000

The millennium brought with it an all-new Mondeo, which came with a big incentive for buyers as over £800 of previously paid-for equipment was added to the standard model.

The car was longer, too, increasing in length by almost two inches compared to the second generation car. The seats were also raised, which made for improved all-round visibility.

In 2002 along came the introduction of Ford's ST220. With 226bhp from a newly developed 3.0-litre V6 engine, the 0-62mph sprint was dispensed in 6.6sec. The ST220's top speed was also an impressive 155mph. Despite the power, the ST220 managed 27.7mpg on a combined cycle.

At £21,745, the ST220 came with Recaro heated leather seats and more aggressively styled bodywork. Since the ST220 was based on the Mk3 Mondeo, it was still a practical car to use every day and to live with.

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2003

The 10th anniversary of the Mondeo saw another new model of the car, one that had come some way from the original. Updates to the new model included a re-profiled bumper, trapezium shaped fog lamps, larger mirrors and puddle lamps that shone on the ground. 

The Smart Charge Injection Duratec engine further improved fuel economy and was Ford's first direct-injection petrol engine. The Durashift 6-speed manual transmission was used on higher powered Mondeo specs whilst an automatic paddle-shift option was also available.

Another minor facelift was given to the range in 2005.

2007

The fourth and current generation Mondeo was unveiled at the Paris motor show in 2007. A new family face featured, with a large upper and lower-inverted grille. Big headlamps and lower fog lamps were also introduce.

A wide range of powertrains were offered, including the popular 2.0-litre TDCi diesel, and recent additions include economical EcoBoost petrol engines.

This year the Ford was also given a £2000 price cut, ahead of a planned replacement due to the market in 2014.

Will it remain at the top of the ladder in its class? You'll find out first from Autocar.

To read more about Ford's range, click here.

Omar Bahadur & Darren Moss

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fadyady 20 August 2013

The first models

I still see some of the first models running on the roads. So much for the questions on Ford's reliability.

sirwiggum 19 August 2013

I agree with Marj, preferred

I agree with Marj, preferred the Xantia and the post-facelift 406s over the Mondeo.

Had an early Zetec (Zeta) in a 92 Orion, was a terrible engine. Early Mondeos tend to rust round the arches, the bumpers by now are mostly duck tape, the 1.8 I test drove had a ridiculously heavy clutch.

Mind you, they're the only Ford I'd consider (until the Mustang gets a UK release).

jer 19 August 2013

I had access to company

I had access to company petrol Mondeos around 94 when they launched, I remember the steering, it just went where you pointed it, no roll ; leaning on the outside front wheel, no understeer scrub it was pin point. It flowed. One of the frist modern handling fwd cars. Later I had a Peugeot 405 that was also very good perhaps not as light feeling, more nose heavy ( a diesel) and with a rubbish interior and gearbox.

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