by Lem Bingley
The next generation Ford Mondeo is due to arrive in the UK before the end of the year, with sales expected to commence around the end of September. It’s been a long time coming, given that Ford unveiled the new car early in 2012 and sales in North America, where the Mondeo is known as the Ford Fusion, began a full year ago.
But the fully revamped version should be worth the extended wait. A petrol-electric hybrid will join the Mondeo range for the first time, though sadly not with the option to plug in at the mains. Americans are offered a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, but any Mondeo equivalent or the UK remains to confirmed.
The non-pluggable Mondeo Hybrid we will get achieves a 99g/km mark in its CO2 exams and a 67.3mpg combined cycle score. It features a lithium-ion battery in the boot, good for storing 1.8kWh of energy. That might not sound like much compared to the 23kWh battery that powers the fully electric Ford Focus EV, but it’s not bad for a plain hybrid, being 0.5kWh more than the current Prius can call upon.
The battery is beefy enough to provide a decent extra slug of power during acceleration, and to allow silent running on electric motor alone at low speeds.
The Hybrid will scamper to 62mph in 9.2 seconds, making it adequately swift as well as thrifty. Beneath the bonnet Ford has slotted a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, with its innards adjusted for fuel efficiency rather than outright power. As a result the engine provides a relatively lazy 141bhp, but is backed up by a beefy 118bhp electric motor. When the motor and engine join forces, they can muster a combined peak of 188bhp.
Starting at £24,995, the Mondeo Hybrid will need to square up against the better equipped end of Toyota’s Prius range. A mid-range T4 Prius costs from £23,745, while a top-of-the-tree T-Spirit starts at £25,295. However, the Prius itself is due to be replaced in the not too distant future, which will no doubt raise the fuel economy bar if not the price point.
The set of bells and whistles fitted as standard to the Mondeo Hybrid remains to be seen, though the Mondeo range as a whole is set to gain the full gamut of modern options including park assist, massaging seats, powered tailgate, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, internet connectivity, adaptive LED headlamps and inflatable seatbelts for extra cushioning in a crash.
Hybrid aside, the range at launch will dip as low as 94g/km when fitted with the entry level 1.6-litre diesel engine and six-speed manual gearbox, at a starting price of £20,795 before options. The capacious Mondeo Estate will manage an impressive 99g/km with this engine and transmission, starting at £22,045 or £1,250 more than the standard car. This engine won’t be the speediest choice in the range, obviously, with the dash to 62mph taking 12.1 seconds in the five-door and 12.3 seconds in the estate.
The workhorse of the range will be the 2.0-litre diesel, starting at £21,545 and offering a sub-10-second sprint combined with a parsimonious 107g/km, or 109g/km for the estate.
The new Mondeo is also in line to receive Ford’s remarkable 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine. It will offer 125 horsepower, a steady 170Nm of torque or up to 200Nm in short bursts, and a CO2 score below 130g/km. It might seem like a mismatch to have just 999cc to call upon in such a substantial car, but the EcoBoost engine is evidently up to the job.
Starting next year, Ford will bravely attempt to compete on luxury with a new Vignale edition of the Mondeo. The car will come lavished with chrome and leather, sitting on gleaming 20-inch wheels, but it’s the services that come with the car that might swing the deal for some, including VIP partnership deals with airlines and hotel chains.
All of which will be a far cry from the first Mondeo, and its mission to provide transport for ordinary families and busy sales reps. Below is a brief history of the first three generations of Mondeo, in reverse order.
The outgoing Mondeo was introduced to the world in 2007 as a hire car, albeit one rented by James Bond in Casino Royale, prior to winning his trademark DB5 in a card game.
The third generation ushered in a variety of electronic driving aids including Adaptive Cruise Control, shadowing the speed of the car in front and no doubt greatly welcomed by Mondeo Man pounding the UK’s motorways.
Thunking depreciation makes a nearly new Mondeo a bargain used buy. One interesting option is Hertz’s Rent2Buy scheme, which allows you to hire a car for up 10 days and either hand it back afterwards or turn your rental fee into a deposit to buy the car outright. That should let you verify you’re buying a car still possessed of some zest, rather than a tired old lemon.
We found a one-year-old Mondeo Estate in Zetec Business Edition trim, with a 140-horsepower 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine and just over 26,000 miles, listed by Hertz for £13,900. That’s about 40% below list price before considering options like metallic paint.
Look more widely and the earliest version 3 cars with plenty of life left in them are now comfortably under £6,000.
The sharply styled second-generation Mondeo arrived in 2000, squeezing into a market seemingly dominated by people carriers and BMWs. Ford’s answer was a big uplift in interior quality as well as quantity – the echoing interior would have been big enough for most cars a class or two above, while the estate edition could put most caverns to shame.
Used examples are still in plentiful supply and a budget of around £3,000 should secure a good one.
Twenty one years ago, in 1993, the first Mondeo arrived to supplant the Sierra in Ford’s line-up. Sharing little with its predecessor other than blobbily curvaceous styling, the Mondeo made the move to front-wheel-drive after the Sierra’s rear-drive setup.
Safety features including a standard airbag (the passenger side was optional) plus ABS brakes helped it to carry off 1994’s European Car of the Year award.
In 1996 a substantial facelift made the Mondeo look like a confused and angry fish, but more helpfully ushered in side airbags, which became standard issue from 1998.
Buying used will be a lottery, as with any car now at least 14 years past its prime. The most pampered examples can be found at around £1,500.