The Ford Mondeo is a large family car that has been made since 1992. It comes as a hatchback, saloon or an estate and it's one of the most immediately identifiable models on British roads.
Thanks to a blend of comfort, practicality and celebrated on-road dynamics, its popularity over the years as a family favourite refuses to diminish. In the first seven years, Ford sold nearly three-quarters of a million Mondeos in the United Kingdom alone.
All Mondeos are good to drive and the model has one of the widest ranges of engines of any car in its class. They offer everything from brawny performance to out-and-out economy.
A Mark three Mondeo from February 2007 onwards, for example, makes a good buy. The 2.0 TDCi engine from this year is powerful, but the 2.2-litre diesel model is even better. It's punchier yet economical.
Ride and handlingThe Ford Mondeo conceals its weight well. It's almost flawless with a responsive, well-harnessed ride combined with confident handling. It's hushed and comfortable on long distances, and this is all topped off by fantastic feel through the steering.
With reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel, in addition to height adjustment on the driver’s seat, the driving arrangement is spot-on for people of all shapes and sizes. In fact, in terms of daily usability, it's one of best used family cars out there.
Thanks to a broad cabin, and large head and legroom in the back, you can get five adults seated inside the Ford Mondeo. On all models, a split-fold rear seat and roomy boot make it a winner in terms of practicality. The hatchback version is the best compromise, but the estate is vast if you are looking for a pure load carrying workhorse.
What to know before you buy
Ford's history with reliability hasn’t always been the best but the Mondeo is one of the automaker’s most improved models. Also, when things do go pear-shaped it's rarely pricey.
The most frequent faults are electrical, followed by suspension issues on early examples. Symptoms of suspension problems may include too much bouncing, even at low speeds. The car may not sit flat and may not handle well on the road when you take it for a test drive either.
The engines and transmissions are fundamentally sturdy, although the four-speed automatic transmissions on older 2.0-litre petrol models from 2000-2007 can fail after about 60,000 miles. Remember that the Mondeo is a big car, so ensure you’re happy parking it when you take it for a test drive.
The biggest rival to the Mondeo is the Vauxhall Insignia. It loses value quickly, so it is cut-price, well kitted out and dependable - and there are loads of them on the market.
The Mazda 6 is also worth checking out because it, too, is reliable, decent to drive and roomy. The VW Passat is a terrific all-rounder, too. It's brilliantly built but it isn’t as practical as it doesn’t come with a hatchback option.
Skoda’s Superb is also a top notch used buy because it's very refined and offers outstanding room for all passengers.
Used Ford Mondeo’s are low-priced, well made, roomy, generally reliable and – above all – good to drive. Equipment levels are generous, even on the most basic models, and build quality is also first-rate.
The car’s rather widespread and less than stimulating image keeps resale values low, so a Mondeo makes a cracking secondhand family car purchase. There are also stacks of them about, so don't feel you have to buy the first Mondeo you test drive.