2015 Ford Mondeo – first drive review

New 2015 Ford Mondeo combines an excellent driving experience with attractive looks and a premium interior.

Andrew Brady | October 2014

The Ford Mondeo. Possibly the iconic family car of the last 20 years, right? Perhaps, but recently that’s all started to go a little wrong.

It’s not that the outgoing Ford Mondeo is a bad car. But Mondeo man has opened his eyes to a world of motoring possibilities. Mondeo man is now Qashqai, 3 Series or even Focus man – with sales in the traditional (non-premium) family saloon sector dropping like a stone.

And then there’s the fact that the new Mondeo is well overdue. We first saw it (in North American spec, badged as a Fusion) at the Detroit Motor Show as far back as 2012. Yes, two whole years ago. Since then, it’s gone on sale in America, but the closure of the Genk factory in Belgium meant Mondeo production had to be shifted to Valencia. And shifting an entire production line for a car like the Mondeo doesn’t happen overnight.

What’s the 2015 Ford Mondeo like to drive?

The good news is, Ford knows how to make a typical family car drive much better than it has any right to. And it hasn’t disappointed with the Mondeo.

We tried the 180hp 2.0-litre TDCI diesel and 160hp 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol. Around 90% of buyers will go for a diesel of some description, which is a shame – the 1.5-litre Ecoboost is a really sweet engine. It’s quiet, and easily powerful enough for lugging around the Mondeo’s relatively heavy 1,484 kerb weight (compared to the smaller, lighter Focus, which gets the same engine). But even at 48.7 mpg and 134g/km CO2, it can’t quite match the diesel on green credentials – an important consideration for Mondeo buyers.

Despite the 180hp TDCI being the most powerful diesel available in the Mondeo at launch (a 210hp variant will follow in spring 2015), it features a very narrow torque band (2,000 – 2,500 revs) which means you have to be willing to work the gearbox to hustle it along. Unfortunately this is more of a problem than you’d expect, as the gear change does let down the Mondeo’s driving experience – it feels slack, and not as precise or honed as the rest of the car.

However, the majority of Mondeo buyers will spend most of their time in sixth gear, cruising at motorway speeds. Here, it’s immensely capable– it’s more refined than ever before, and even on larger 18-inch wheels the ride copes remarkably well with the bumpiest of roads.

If Mondeo man does turn off the motorway though, and throws it into a few corners in an attempt to get to the next business meeting as soon as possible, he’s going to shocked at just how well it copes. The 1.5-litre Ecoboost is slightly less prone to running wide than the diesel, but regardless of the engine, both hatchback and estate variants are eager to turn in.

The light, electric power steering doesn’t offer quite as much feedback as we’re like, but in a car in this sector, we’re nitpicking.

Will the 2015 Ford Mondeo compete with premium rivals?

The Ford Mondeo now lags behind the BMW 3 Series in sales, and with over 50% of buyers of the outgoing model opting for top-of-the-range Titanium or Titanium X derivatives, it’s no surprise that Ford wants to move its Mondeo upmarket.

The Mondeo has to be very good to compete with the BMW 3 Series, and we’ve already established that the driving experience certainly is (bar the gear change and the TDCI’s narrow torque band).

But what about the interior? Well, Ford’s done a good job on that too. The new Mondeo is 8.7cm longer than its predecessor in hatchback form, and there’s acres of room inside. But what do you expect from a car that’s nearly as long as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class? Even the tallest adults will be comfortable in the back, and the hatchback’s 550-litre boot is plenty big enough to swallow most things Mondeo man will throw at it.

The interior feels good quality, although we did notice the odd squeak on both cars we tested. Aside from that, the dashboard is soft to touch and free of clutter, thanks largely to the 8.0-inch colour touchscreen through which most functions are operated.

To be taken seriously against premium rivals (including the new Volkswagen Passat) it needs enough gadgets and tech to please a bored company car driver on a long journey. Fortunately, Titanium trim has plenty of kit to make life easier, including automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers and a cool lane keeping aid which applies pressure to the steering if you start to wander off-track.

It also gets inflatable rear seat belts, a sector first and available for £175. These are essentially small airbags which take nanoseconds to deploy, meaning passengers are less likely to be injured in a crash.

A DAB touchscreen navigation system with eight speakers is standard on Titanium models, but buyers also get the option of a Sony system for an extra £450. This features 12 speakers and a subwoofer in the boot, and will easily compete with the premium sound systems on offer from German rivals.

For those who want a properly premium Ford Mondeo, the company will be launching its Vignale sub-brand next spring. Previewed by the Mondeo Vignale concept car at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, expect a more luxurious interior with quilted leather seats, and an exterior that leaves you in no doubt that this is more than just a top-of-the-range Mondeo. We’re talking Vignale badges, bespoke bumpers and unique alloy wheels. Buyers will get special Vignale dealerships, too.

MR verdict: 2015 Ford Mondeo 

The new Ford Mondeo looks the part and has the kit to appeal to buyers of more expensive rivals. The company has a tough challenge on its hands convincing BMW drivers that they do, in fact, want a Ford, but starting at £20,795, the Mondeo offers excellent value for money.

We’d struggle to recommend the 180hp 2.0-litre TDCI engine that we drove – simply because its performance doesn’t warrant the cost and economy penalties over the lower-powered versions. If you’re going down the diesel route, like most buyers will, go for the most economical model available (that’ll be the 115hp 1.6-litre TDCI Econetic emitting 94g/km and capable of 74.3mpg) – or wait for the 210hp unit due in April.

Don’t dismiss the petrol models – the Ecoboost engines punch well above their weight, and for those who want to be properly green, there’ll be a hybrid model for the first time on sale soon.

Rivals: 2015 Ford Mondeo

  1. Audi A4
  2. BMW 3 Series
  3. Volkswagen Passat
  4. Vauxhall Insignia
  5. Mazda 6

The Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series should be concerned by just how good the Mondeo is – and the excellent value it offers. In reality, though, the main competition is likely to come in the form of the Volkswagen Passat. 

First impressions from the Paris Motor Show suggest it might have the edge over the Ford – but it’ll also start at £1,500 more than the Mondeo. The Vauxhall Insignia has always been a close rival to the Mondeo, but in reality now it just isn’t as competitive. Finally, the Mazda 6 is slightly cheaper than the Mondeo, starting from £19,595, and offers excellent green credentials. It drives well, too, but the interior isn’t quite as upmarket.

Specification: 2015 Ford Mondeo

Engines: 1.0- to 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrols; 1.6- to 2.0-litre TDCI diesels

Gearbox: six-speed manual or automatic

Price from: £20,795

Power: 115 – 240hp

Torque: 125 – 295lb ft

0-62mph: 7.9 – 12.3 seconds

Top speed: 146mph

MPG: 37.7 – 78.5mpg

CO2: 94 – 174g/km