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The Top Gear car review: Ford Mondeo Estate

£21,190£30,610
7/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Newfound maturity, no less useful than the old one

Against: 

A Passat is posher, the old one is better to drive
More grown up and all the better for it. The savings over a Passat are so chunky, the Ford might just be the smarter shout.

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Our choice

Ford

2.0 TDCi Zetec 5dr

£21,273
N/A
53mpg
9.60s
140bhp
139g/km

What we say: 

Mondeo man has grown up and discovered the finer things in life. Less fun, but more satisfying overall

What is it?

One of the backbones of Britain really. Coming soon to builder’s yards, school runs and every motorway in the land, Ford’s handsome fourth-gen Mondeo has spawned a wagon version. For the first time, it’s available with a teeny 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost engine, and you get almost 200 litres of extra boostpace over the hatchback – as long as the rear seats are flipped down. 

It still lacks the cachet of the rather accomplished new VW Passat – which incidentally trounces the Ford for cargo capacity – but the Mondeo is a far more technologically sophisticated machine than the super-common wagon it replaces – and deserves to shift just as many examples.

Driving

Make no mistake – like the Focus, Ford’s latest Mondeo isn’t quite the gigglesome handler it once was – but it’s so much more refined at a cruise that the trade-off is totally worth it. This is a motorway-special repmobile after all. A reduction in road and wind noise and a more resolved, mature ride – that’s what you’ll notice when hopping from the old Mondeo Estate into this one. Sure, along the way it’s also gained a steering numbness and lack of adjustability that robs it of Ford’s trademark ‘drivers’ car’ mantra, but you’d have to concede that for what most people actually buy Mondeos for, the new   version’s a much more refined, sorted companion 

On the inside

Gone are the shiny metal-effect-plastics of the previous model, replaced by higher quality matt plastics throughout. Sure, a Volkswagen Passat feels far posher to the touch and appears so to the eye, but the Mondeo has at least overtaken its Japanese and Korean opposition once again. 

The SYNC touchscreen is a key element of this makeover, but as this is an estate, we’ll concentrate on matters further back. With the seats up, the boot actually offers 25 litres less than the capacious Mondeo hatch, but the wide, low-silled load bay with the spacious rear bench folded is surely big enough for most families’ needs. Overall, Ford could have been a touch more adventurous and titillating with the cabin’s look, but it knows that conservatism sells in this market, and the Mondeo at last has a grown-up environment to meet the competition with.

Owning

No doubt, most UK buyers will walk straight past the zingy petrol Mondeos and plump straight for the diesels. Fear not – they’re good too – the 1.6-litre TDCi is miles more refined than the last-gen, and there’s the predictable array of 2.0-litre mills too. No, it’s not going to set your heart racing, but the Mondeo just swells with a sense of fitness  for purpose.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.0 EcoBoost Titanium 5dr Auto
8.0s 174g/km 37.7 240 £26,950
The cheapest
1.0 EcoBoost Zetec 5dr
12.1s 120g/km 54.3 125 £21,190
The greenest
1.5 TDCi ECOnetic Style 5dr
11.9s 99g/km 74.3 120 £22,290