The Ford Mondeo has been awarded the prestigious title of Continental Irish Car Of The Year 2016 by the Irish Motoring Writers’ Association (IMWA).
I drove the Ford Mondeo Estate and Hatchback earlier this year, but it’s the Hatchback that’s the subject of my review here. I also made a video earlier in the year, and now seems like the perfect time to publish it on the back of the Irish Car Of The Year Awards.
But before you watch the video, first let’s talk about our winning car.
The Ford Mondeo has been around for years, has won three Irish Car Of The Year awards and holds a place in popular culture thanks to ‘Mondeo man’.
Yet in recent years, like most of its compatriots, the Ford Mondeo has been under pressure from trendy newcomers that go under the title of ‘crossover’ or ‘SUV’ and even ‘MPV’ (the shame).
But sometimes it’s old timers like the Mondeo who have it right all along, and the new Mondeo that arrived here in late 2014 is arguably more desirable now than it’s ever been in its long illustrious past.
Though the new Mondeo is all-new from the ground up, the profile has changed very little. But it’s the changes at the front that lift the Mondeo into a new dimension. I may have been a little critical of Ford’s new wide old gaping grille at first but having driven most of the current facelifted range – Fiesta, Focus and now Mondeo – and gauged the reaction, both my own and that of the public, I can tell you that it’s the best design move Ford has done in years. The Mondeo goes from a nobody into a somebody in one fell swoop. Bravo Ford!
The interior is new too and while it’s an improvement on the old car – more stylish, improved quality, updated infotainment – it’s probably the Mondeo’s weakest link too. It just doesn’t feel as premium or stylish inside as the Volkswagen Passat.
There are three trim levels for the Mondeo on the Irish market: Style, Zetec and Titanium. While Style models keep the cost down (range starts at €27,645), they do without alloy wheels and cruise control. Ford’s new Sync 2 infotainment system with touchscreen and voice control is standard on top spec Titanium models, along with keyless entry and start, lane departure warning system, high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, parking sensors, ambient lighting and 17” alloy wheels.
For an extra €200 you can opt for inflatable rear seatbelts that reduce the risk of severe head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers in a collision. The cabin and boot space are not class-leading, but still very comfortable and accommodating.
There’s a range of engines available for the new Mondeo, and the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. An entry level 1.6-litre TDCi (115bhp) diesel provides a lower price point into the Mondeo range, yet doesn’t feel underpowered and will return 67mpg – marginally better economy than a more powerful 2.0-litre (150bhp) diesel. Rounding up the range is a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost (160bhp) petrol – but diesel tends to be the big seller in this segment.
On the road in the Mondeo 1.6-litre diesel you won’t feel the same big punch of torque when you accelerate as you do in the larger diesel, but there is still enough power for comfortable overtaking. The refinement is really impressive, and the Mondeo wafts along with minimal intrusion from wind, road and engine noise. Combined with superb grip, body control and steering, the Mondeo offers a premium and exciting driving experience. It’s remarkably agile and feels like a car half its size going around a corner and the quick, precise steering and elastic body control makes the Mondeo a fun drive down a country road. Where others would crumble, the Mondeo just gives you that extra bit of confidence behind the wheel to squeeze a bit more performance from the car – you’ll feel like a better driver than what you actually are. What’s not to love?
The heyday for big cars like the Mondeo, Passat et al. may be over with the fashion for SUVs and crossovers, but make no mistake, the Mondeo is a fine example of the genre.
Model Tested: Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi Titanium Hatchback
Price: €31,645 (Range starts at €27,645)
Engine: 1.6-litre four cylinder turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 12.1 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 109g/km
Motor Tax: €190 per year