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It's been a long wait, but Ford's new Mondeo estate delivers on the space and comfort that's required to be competitive in this class
7 January 2015

What is it?

Is there another model that says ‘company car’ louder than the Ford Mondeo? Probably not, but the big Ford's ubiquity has never taken anything away from its brilliant driving dynamics and, in estate form, its serious amount of space and practicality.

While the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel will account for the bulk of sales, this 114bhp 1.6-litre version will be the one starring on posters on the walls of your company's accounts department. It emits just 99g/km of CO2, is claimed to be capable of 74.3mpg and isn't woefully short of torque, with 199lb ft available from 1750rpm. 

So it stacks up financially and has a history of being entertaining to drive, but does the new Mondeo estate prove to be a better proposition today than rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf estate and Skoda's similarly capacious Octavia estate?

What's it like?

There's enough performance from the 1.6 diesel for it to feel comfortable around town and when overtaking on the motorway, but you need to keep a closer eye on which gear you're in than with the 2.0-litre at low speeds.

Unfortunately, however, the new Mondeo estate has lost some of it's handling prowess. There's plenty of grip, yes, and body control is tidy enough, but the new electronic steering just doesn’t give the same feedback as the old car’s hydraulic rack, and it doesn’t weight up enough in fast driving. 

The ride is far more impressive. On its standard 16-inch wheels, the Mondeo Zetec deals with speed bumps brilliantly, while it smoothes out patchy asphalt and expansion joints well at all speeds. The cabin is a peaceful place in which to spend time, with very little road or wind noise intruding even up at motorway speeds. 

The boot is suitably large, with an official 525 litres of load space with the rear seats in place. On paper that's less luggage capacity than you get in the rival VW Golf estate, but in reality the Mondeo’s boot is longer and wider, if not quite as tall. 

Better still, the floor of the Mondeo's boot lies flush with the boot aperture, meaning there’s no lip to negotiate when you’re lifting things in and out. Folding down the rear seats leaves a totally flat extended load bay, with a Golf-beating 1630 litres of space.

It's just a pity that you can only drop the rear seats by pulling levers next to the headrests from inside the rear cabin; there are no handles in the boot compartment or spring-loaded seatbacks to make life easier when your arms are full of stuff.

This Mondeo is one of the longest cars in its class, so there is loads of rear legroom. Carrying three in the back is also relatively easy, thanks to the car’s broad cabin. There’s considerably more rear headroom than in the hatchback version, too, and even tall adults will fit comfortably.

The centre of the dashboard is dominated by a new 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, which controls most of the car's multimedia functions. It’s undoubtedly a big improvement on the outdated system in the old Mondeo, but even so it’s often slow to respond to inputs and the menus could be more intuitive. DAB is standard on all trims, but sat-nav costs £300 on Zetec trim, although it's standard with Titanium spec and above.

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Should I buy one?

The Mondeo Estate remains a spacious, comfortable and refined way to travel, but those climbing out of the previous model and into this new one are likely to be disappointed by its steering. It isn't awful, and overall the Mondeo remains the handling benchmark in this class, but it no longer stands head and shoulders above its rivals.  

There are other estates to consider, though. In 1.6 TDI form, the Skoda Octavia isn't especially refined, comfortable or fun to drive. However, it’s almost as big, similarly frugal and cheaper to buy. The new Passat estate is also likely to provide strong competition – and we’ll be driving that in the UK later this week.

Ford Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec

Price £23,045; 0-62mph 12.3sec; Top speed 116mph; Economy 74.3mpg (combined); CO2 99g/km; Kerb weight 1515kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1560cc, turbodiesel; Power 114bhp at 3600rpm; Torque 199lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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Comments
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jer 8 January 2015

It looks so undesirable

I find it hard to reconcile the looks, the interior console has the same old shiny plastics, unless I was given it I simply would not choose it however good the ride is. I think I'd take a Pug, Insignia, Passat first even if the chassis are worse. A bit of a tangent I had a ride in a new taxi based on the existing Mondeo I was amazed how little of it wasn't shaking at tick over.
Carmad3 8 January 2015

Mondeo Estate

Peugeot's 308 SW has it beaten for style, efficiency, build quality,space and efficiency.
Carmad3 8 January 2015

Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCI

Not as smart, efficient, or as spacious for loads as the 307SW 1.6HDI that can out carry it. Peugeot does 88.3 MPG and is better built.

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