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Low-volume Mondeo hybrid has its charms, but the diesel makes for a better all-round choice

Our Verdict

Ford Mondeo

Ford's family car is now in its fourth iteration, but is the Mondeo ready to take the fight to a world burgeoning with rivals?

Richard Webber
10 October 2014

What is it?

This is the all-new Ford Mondeo hybrid. It’s the first time that Ford has sold a petrol-electric car this side of the Atlantic and like the rest of the range it’s closely related to its American sister, the Fusion. 

Like the rest of the 2014 line up, plenty of work has gone in to make it more appealing to European buyers. However, because of the anticipated low take up of the hybrid – it’s expected to take just three per cent of sales - Ford hasn’t gone the whole hog. Which is why the hybrid version will only be available as a saloon and only with a CVT gearbox when it goes on sale in January.

That ‘box is allied to a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 35 kilowatt electric motor, adding up to 184bhp. It produces just 99g/km of CO2 and returns a claimed 67.2mpg, giving it an advantage over the nearly identically priced 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel option in both cases.

What's it like?

Terrifically refined. Like every new Mondeo it’s an extremely quiet cruiser. There’s barely a murmur from the engine when you’re up to speed and other outside irritations such as wind and road noise are kept well in check. It’s just as hushed at urban speeds, too. 

You’ll detect a mildly firmer ride than the diesel or conventional petrol cars but this is still a supple car, far more so, in fact, than almost any rival you care to name. It embarrasses an Audi A4, let alone a Toyota Prius

The downsides are that it doesn’t feel quite as nimble as, say the Mondeo 2.0-litre turbodiesel and isn’t as sprightly off the mark or when you’re trying to build up pace. It also suffers from the customary blight of accelerating in hybrids fitted with CVTs: the feeling of engine speeds rising faster than road speeds, simulating a slipping clutch. 

Elsewhere, though, it’s got the same virtues as the rest of the Mondeo line-up. So it’s spacious, even as a saloon, and the cabin and equipment levels are far plusher than anything we’ve seen from Ford before. 

Should I buy one?

Whether this is a viable purchase really comes down to the numbers. There’s no doubt that Ford is offering this at an impressive price and the prospect of lowering company car tax bills will be tempting to some. 

However, there are downsides - the main one being that any diesel Mondeo is a better all-round car. Also remember that it’s only available as a saloon which, although spacious, is also the least useful format. 

So, whilst the Mondeo hybrid has many of the virtues of the rest of the range it’s the one that will make the least sense for most of us. 

Ford Mondeo hybrid

Price £24,995; 0-62mph 9.2sec; Top speed 116mph; Economy 67.2mpg; CO2 99 g/km; Kerb weight 1579kg; Engine 1999cc, 4 cyls, petrol with 35kw electric motor and lithium-ion battery; Power 184bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 128 lb ft at 4000rpm; Gearbox CVT

10 October 2014
So it's two reviews of the Ford Mondeo, that swine Passat estate, a Suzuki shitbox and a Corsa chavmobile this week then. Well, I suppose you have to tow your caravan somehow. Definitely cars for people who shit in a bucket for their holidays and tell everyone about how it's all about the freedom of caravanning.


10 October 2014
Wow, what an egotistical, judgmental person you are. Im guessing your significant other is out having a great time while you sit spitting venom on here. Still im glad your forever destined to the minority and that real car enthusiasts come on here to put there view across of the cars rather than a group of people. Funny that you also carry that picture on your posts too, the poor man would be turning in his grave knowing that you trade yourself off on his good name. Do please let us all know where you get your mirrors from, because what you see when you wake up in the morning is a million miles away from what we do!

10 October 2014
Sam_notts wrote:

Wow, what an egotistical, judgmental person you are. Im guessing your significant other is out having a great time while you sit spitting venom on here. Still im glad your forever destined to the minority and that real car enthusiasts come on here to put there view across of the cars rather than a group of people. Funny that you also carry that picture on your posts too, the poor man would be turning in his grave knowing that you trade yourself off on his good name. Do please let us all know where you get your mirrors from, because what you see when you wake up in the morning is a million miles away from what we do!

Yawn.


10 October 2014
I think you mean the opposite, because the one thing CVTs do is maintain constant engine speeds under firm acceleration. Personally I don't mind this sensation, though I agree that it does give the impression of lethargic acceleration, because your ears are telling you one thing while you have to rely on your visual senses to detect rising speed.
Whatever, to me this is the most interesting Mondeo if only because it is the most different. I'd be interested to know if this is the result of a license deal with Toyota, and does it use any actual Toyota components such as the CVT transmission? Also what is the battery capacity in kW, where is it located and can it run in purely electric mode? Finally is this a US import, or is it made in Europe - if it's the former maybe Ford does not want to sell too many for reasons of profitability.

10 October 2014
It's a shame the saloon version of the new Mondeo won't be made available. I know saloon versions of 'mainstream' cars in this class attract very few buyers but this bodystyle variant of the new Mondeo looks terrific IMO and looks much better than the hatcback and looks better proportioned too. As good looking at the hatcback is, it just doesn't look as cohesive. This could have been a saloon from a mainstream marque which perhaps could have sold well.

10 October 2014
Doesn't mention if it has plug-in capability, presume not. The motto here is ignore battery power at your peril. Ford are late to the eletric party and are playing catch up with VW, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Renualt, etc

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 October 2014
The bulk of this car means that, unless it's wearing 19"+ wheels, it looks like a complete fatty.

10 October 2014
Hybrids for the mainstream manufacturers seem set to be a "low-volume" choice for now - other than the Toyota of course - that has sold millions of hybrids in the last decade and half or so. It's however good that Ford has got the ball rolling this side of Atlantic and I bet it drives better than Prius.

10 October 2014
I'm also interested to hear what the technical specifics are. Toyota use a planetary gear-set (not a true CVT in the normal sense at all, despite what journalists keep repeating ad nauseam) for their transmission, and for all its downsides it has one huge upside: it is incredibly reliable. There's no clutches, there's no bands, there's no DMF and there's no torque converter. i.e. they are nearly indestructible.

It'll be interesting to see if Ford use the same system or a proper (and therefore quite rubbish CVT) like the Honda Insight.

As for that slipping clutch feeling, after a year and a half with a Prius, I can tell you it's a complete non-issue. You're more than grateful for the near silent running the rest of the time.

10 October 2014
Oilburner, CVT stands for continuously variable transmission, i.e., with no fixed gear ratios, "stufenlos" as they would call it in German. The toroidal version (Planetengetriebe) has ratios that are just as continuous as the band-and-pulleys version found in scooters, in the Fiat Uno Selecta, in the former A4 and in MB A and B classes.
In other words, CVT refers to the "infinite ratios" and not to internal construction of the gearbox, which I agree, is completely different.
The toroidal / planetary version, as you say, is more robust; my MB B200CDI Autotronic had torque reduced to 280NM (as opposed to 300 for the manual version) precisely for that reason.

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