The Ford Mondeo. It’s been around for quite some time. When the new model came to the European market, the reaction was a bit mixed. Everyone was very happy about how it looked, but many wondered why it took so long to get here when the USA had their version (Ford Fusion) of it at least a year before. Despite that though, people really did think it was a looker. It smacked of Aston Martin with its aggressive nose. But lately, it seems that people just aren’t as interested in the car as they were back then. Perhaps it’s normalised to some degree and we no longer appreciate its beauty. The thing is though, it’s still one of the biggest sellers in its class and according to the stats (SIMI new car registration stats for 2017) it’s the 34th most registered car in the country (which isn’t bad considering that circa 260 different models were on sale during 2017).
Well, if you’re no longer impressed with the appearance of the Ford Mondeo, I’d definitely recommend having a look at what we were test driving last week. We had the ST Line + version. Yep, it’ll cost you more than an entry-level Mondeo, but it looks a lot smarter than the bog standard version. The bad news is, it doesn’t really add any more grunt, but we’ll cover the engine in a bit. The exterior is chunkier and it’s far more appealing looking. The honeycomb grille and the colour options make sure of this. The ST Line badging is a nice touch too, but any Ford enthusiast knows that doesn’t mean anything major – it’s not as if it’s an ST-proper.
The interior is pretty much as you’d get in a Titanium Mondeo. The plastics feel cheap in the lower door panel sections of the interior, but the higher you go, the softer they get. The SONY infotainment system is very nice, but I don’t understand why the touch screen surround feels a little bit plasticky. I’m also a little irked by there not being any SATNAV as standard in what we were driving – I mean, ST Line is near top of the range (Vignale’s above it) and SATNAV as standard should be a given. The unique ST-Line seats and steering wheel were a very nice fit – very comfortable too. The rear offers really good leg room and my kids especially liked it back there – the optional panoramic tinted roof was very cool – as was the very practical 550-litre boot.
Our test vehicle was powered by a 2.0 TDCi 180PS engine, which is impressive, but it lacks exclusivity because it’s available with non-ST models too. There is a more powerful engine available, but once again the 2.0-litre TDCi 210PS engine is available across every trim. It would be a little more impressive if the larger engines were limited to ST Line and Vignale – but the other school of thought is, why shouldn’t the larger engines be available on the lesser-specced cars? The 180PS engine is very good though and it’s mated to a 6-speed manual which on occasion felt a bit notchy. For the record, we returned a fuel economy of 6.6l/100km from this car – which in my view is very impressive.
The car itself sits lower than normal Ford Mondeo cars, which means that things are nicer and more fun on corners. The steering is typically Ford, which means it is actually well weighted and very good.
Then we move onto price. Yep, you’ll pay more for this than you would an entry-level Mondeo, but you don’t need to be a genius to work that out. In fairness, the price for this is actually reasonable-enough. You can get into an ST-Line for €34,295. Our one cost more though. We had a 180PS engine and some optional packs thrown in, which brought the price up to €39,020.
Here’s the thing about the Mondeo. In whatever guise you buy it, it’s a great looking car that drives well. I’m confused as why we’re not as in awe of it as we should be – I guess we have become slightly desensitised to its charm and beauty. The car itself is up against some major competition like the Avensis and the all-rounder that is the Skoda Superb. Would I drive the Ford Mondeo ST-Line +? Hell yeah, but it wouldn’t be my first choice from this segment, it’s second only to the Skoda Superb.