What is it?
This is the all-new Ford Mondeo. The fleet favourite is new from the ground up, sharing most of its architecture and tech with the US-built Fusion saloon. However, the European Mondeo is arriving here a full three years after its American cousin went on sale, due to alterations to production plans.
It also arrives after what we’re told are significant revisions to make it palatable for a European audience. This ‘tailoring’ in Ford-speak includes substantial changes to the chassis, improvements to interior quality, new engine options and additional body styles.
It will go on sale in January as a five-door hatchback and estate. At launch we’ll have the choice of a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, in two outputs, plus 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol turbo EcoBoost engines, all allied to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. There will also be a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid, which will be the only Mondeo available as a four-door saloon. Shortly afterwards, more frugal and more powerful petrol and diesel engines will be added to the line-up, as will an all-wheel drive option.
Later in the year we’ll also have the novelty, for this class anyway, of a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol option which will hardly be a fire breather but should be attractive option for anyone paying company car tax – hugely important for most Mondeo clientele.
The Mondeo is the first Ford to use a new integral link rear suspension set-up, although it retains MacPherson struts up front. It’s also the first Mondeo to have electric power-assisted steering that can be adapted to match the adaptive damper system, which can be switched to Comfort, Normal or Sport for the first time.
Inside, it gets the latest generation of Ford’s Sync infotainment system and has a suite of optional safety technology to bring it in line with rivals, including pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and rear seatbelt airbags.
So it’s an attractive package, but it will have a tough time on its hands. The new Mondeo is arriving late to a party that will shortly include a brand new Volkswagen Passat, a refreshed Vauxhall Insignia with new engines and a revised Peugeot 508.
It is also centre stage in a class that is rapidly declining as private and company buyers alike are finding more favour in SUVs, small premium saloons and increasingly spacious cars from the class below.