What’s it like?
Dynamically, it is excellent. The Mondeo has class-leading ride and handling and there’s no exception here. The ride is composed and smooth, especially when travelling at motorway speeds. It absorbs both minor and major imperfections in the road and is able to cover the miles in an elegant and comfortable fashion.
Around town, the ride suffers a bit from the optional 17-inch wheels fitted to out test car, but even then only larger cracks and potholes catch it out. The low resistance tyres they are fitted to are noisier than their traditional counterparts (particularly at motorway speeds), but don’t have much of a negative impact on the ride quality when up to speed.
The handling is excellent, and the big Mondeo feels like it has the poise and composure of family hatchback. Even on wet roads and in this eco guise, it has levels of grip that would see off more sports focused estate cars.
Its engine, however, is somewhat disappointing. The 113bhp feels underpowered to propel its 1578kg kerb weight and initial progress is slow. The 236lb ft of torque feels unusually absent (it can’t quite pull away in second gear), especially around town, leading to slow getaways and blunted progress on the motorway.
There’s also a nagging issue with the gearchange indicator, which only advises you of when to change up for maximum efficiency and not to change down. If you follow the indicator’s commands, it’s possible to get caught out in too higher gear, which again exposes the lack of urge.
On the 300 miles covered on our test route, which was mainly dual carriageways, the Mondeo returned shy of 40mpg, some way short of the official figure but respectable for a car of its size and weight.
The optional seats are firm, yet comfortable and a suitable driving position is easy to find with reach/rake adjustable steering wheel. The controls are well laid out, although the interior does feel a tad dated now, sharing more in common with the Focus than the Fiesta. That said, the Titanium touches aid a suitably premium feel, although it’s not at the same level as the Vauxhall Insignia.
Should I buy one?
This model confirms to us what we already knew - the Mondeo estate has superb, class-leading dynamics and an impressive 1733 litre load capacity. It’s just hard to make a case for this particular model given the limitations of its engine and that eye-watering cost.
The Mondeo estate will be looking over its shoulder very carefully with the imminent arrival of the Skoda Superb estate on UK shores early next year. It’s bigger and cheaper than the Mondeo trim for trim, engine for engine, and can certainly challenge the Ford on the dynamic front.