It may have taken a bit longer than expected but the new Ford Mondeo is finally here. In fact, it arrived here toward the end of 2014 when we got the chance to jump behind the wheel for the first time at its Irish launch last October. But now we’ve finally got the chance to live with it for a week and find out was it worth the extra wait.
As popular as the Ford Mondeo has always been, by now it is very likely you have passed more than a few examples of this new model on Irish roads already. To be fair, it’s pretty hard to miss with its wide ‘Aston Martin’ style grille, sharp squinting headlights and defined bulging bonnet. It’s safe to say it has presence. There is no doubting that it looks good and its new front end really is its defining feature. In profile, it’s not quite as dramatic but still an attractive car. The saloon model has been entirely dropped in favour of a ‘Sportback’ design with an estate model also available. Unlike the latest competing models like the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat where the ethos has been evolution rather than revolution, Ford thankfully opted for the latter, and it paid off.
The Ford Mondeo’s interior has also been completely revised with specification levels available in the familiar ‘Style’, Zetec’ or ‘Titanium’ trims with our test model finished with the ‘Zetec’ spec. The inside feels a lot more spacious and comfortable, while the dash and centre console have received a streamlined make over. It all feels fresh and intuitive with making it a very pleasant environment to be in. While it definitely feels like Ford have upped their game and the standard of finish and use of quality materials is obvious throughout, some of the smaller plastics do let it down in places (around the gear knob in particular). With Zetec being the mid level option, it still offers a generous amount of kit for the money. Dominated by the 7 inch touch screen on the centre console that controls everything from your phone/bluetooth, air conditioning and multimedia, it also features additional switchgear below adding function while on the move, while a nicely designed multifunction steering wheel enhances that usability.
Driving the Mondeo back in October for a short stint on the bendy mountainous roads of Wicklow, it was obvious the dynamics were good but that was all I really stood out for me. I’ve always had a preconception of the Mondeo and I thought I knew what kind of car it was and what it offered, but this latest model is a very different product from its predecessor. Our test model was the 1.6 TDCi 115PS ‘Zetec’ fitted with a 6-speed manual. It feels much more spacious and refined like a German executive car now and it drives like one too. Its acceleration is more wofty than urgent, while mid-range torque is stored away for motorway and overtaking manoeuvres. It absorbs all of the lumps and bumps that Irish roads present exceptionally well, and it by far offers the most supple ride in its class. It used to represent function over form for me but now that has firmly flipped. It felt like a car that you would happily cover extended miles in, and in comfort too. It was a car that grew on me more and more over the time I spent with it.