While premium family ranges from BMW, Audi and Mercedes sell in ever greater numbers, sales of cheaper rivals from Ford and Vauxhall have been finding ever fewer buyers. But that doesn’t stop these brands from having repeated cracks at this shrinking market.
This is the third all-new Mondeo iteration since the model’s birth in 1993, and in principle its mechanical make-up is much the same: transverse, front-drive powertrains, MacPherson strut front suspension, something multi-linked at the rear and a level of functional development that enables this Ford to offer more than might be expected in the areas of handling, steering, ride comfort, refinement and convenience.
If you want to see where much of the graft – and money – has gone into this new Mondeo, you need to step inside. This edition takes the cabin finish to a new level as Ford chases after the standards set by industry leader Audi. The Mondeo doesn’t quite get there, but that’s because it costs thousands less than the equivalent A4. There are minor cheap moments, but on the whole it is an attractive piece of work.
At least as important is the spaciousness of this interior, especially in the rear. We wouldn’t quite call it limousine-like, but there really is a lot of leg room back there. The boot is huge and well shaped, and there are load hooks and tie-downs.
Solid, quiet power delivery characterises the 138bhp 2.0-litre TDCi engine sampled here – currently the most potent diesel offered in the Mondeo. As with so many diesel 0-60mph times, the Mondeo’s fails to reveal the thrusting in-gear punch that this engine can deliver. It can prove surprisingly rapid point to point if you make good use of its notably tall gears.
One fast-charged bend reveals the excellence of the Mondeo’s chassis. Its nose turns in with clean, swift confidence; and while there is some roll, body composure is impressive – but not as striking as its resistance to understeer. On sports suspension and 18in alloys, you’ll have a fairly firm ride that’s just pliant enough to avoid jostling over bumps and potholes. But it’s a fraction firmer than it needs to be, which is why we’d recommend the standard set-up.