Big cars like the Opel Insignia and Ford Mondeo make great motorway companions for daily commutes, and also work well as family cars – big boots, spacious, comfortable interiors and lots of convenience features and equipment to make a journey on board a pleasant one.
The Insignia is available to buy in Ireland as a saloon, hatchback or estate (‘Sports Tourer’). The Mondeo is available as a hatchback or estate. The Opel Insignia currently on sale was launched back in 2009, but was updated in 2013. The Ford Mondeo currently on sale here is a new model that arrived in late 2014. The Ford Mondeo is the current holder of the title of Continental Irish Car Of The Year 2016.
Trims and Pricing
The Opel Insignia comes in five trim levels: S (from €24,995), SC (from €26,895), SE (from €28,850), SRi (from €30,350) and Elite (from €33,550).
The Ford Mondeo is available in Zetec (from €28,845) and Titanium (from €31,445) trim.
Two diesel engines are available for the Opel Insignia: a 1.6-litre CDTi (136PS) and a 2.0-litre CDTi (170PS). Diesels start at €27,295. The diesels for the Mondeo are similar in their size: there’s a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel (150PS or 180PS), a 1.6-litre TDCi (115PS) and 1.5-litre TDCi (120PS). The 1.5-litre is a newer engine and the 1.6-litre is being phased out. Diesel models start at €28,845.
Traditionally diesel dominates in this segment but both the Mondeo and the Insignia have a petrol option. For the Insignia, that’s a 1.4-litre turbo unit (140PS) with pricing from €24,995. The Mondeo has a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit (160PS) from €32,420.
Options: The Mondeo is available with a six speed manual gearbox or a six speed ‘Powershift’ double clutch automatic gearbox. The Mondeo has always been a front wheel drive car but new for 2016 is the option of all-wheel drive (AWD). The Insignia is front wheel drive only with no four wheel drive option.
Both cars have an impressive presence. The entry Mondeo has 16” alloys as standard and chrome finished grille, but Titanium models look a bit more premium with a chrome belt line finisher and 17” alloys. The Insignia comes as standard with LED daytime running lights and 17” alloys, but SC and above add a chrome belt line finisher for a more premium look. SE adds 18” alloys. SRi is the one to go for if you love a sporty look because it has a body kit and special 18” alloys.
There are 10 exterior colours to choose from for the Mondeo including the vibrant Ruby Red and Deep Impact Blue, and more subtle hues like Magnetic grey, Moondust Silver and Shadow Black. There are a total of 12 colours available for the Insignia from sporty Power Red and Summit White, to classy shades like Macademia brown, Carbon Flash black and Sovereign Silver.
Standard spec on the Insignia includes air con, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, electric parking brake, AM/FM radio, CD player, USB, aux in audio connection, 4.2” colour screen, LED daytime running lights, 17” alloys, electric front windows and mirrors, tyre inflation kit and hill start assist. Standard spec on the Mondeo includes front fog lamps, dual zone climate control, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, electric parking brake, AM/FM/DAB (digital) radio, CD player, USB, aux in audio connection, 4.2” colour screen, Bluetooth, halogen daytime running lights, 16” alloys, four electric windows and electric mirrors, space saver spare wheel, quickclear heated windscreen and hill start assist.
The SC trim for the Insignia adds climate control and the Intellilink infotainment system that includes an 8” colour touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth connection, digital radio. SE adds Opel OnStar (automatic crash response, Wi-Fi hotspot, destination download to sat nav, smartphone app, stolen vehicle assistance, and remote vehicle diagnostics).
Titanium trim for the Mondeo adds keyless start and entry, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition, Ford Sync 3 with voice control and 8” touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, ambient lighting and auto dimming mirror.
The Insignia is the nicer of the two, just feeling that little bit classier and better designed. The Mondeo’s interior is easy enough to navigate around and the Sync infotainment touchscreen looks well in the centre of the dash, though it’s not standard on the Zetec model. Opel’s version is called Intellilink and it’s standard from SC grade. Both cabins are comfortable and come with good levels of standard equipment for convenience, with the option of adding even more comfort features such as heated seats, driving aids and parking aids.
Space and Practicality
Both cars have seating for five and feel large and spacious inside, with good legroom in the rear. The Insignia’s stylish sloping rear roofline impedes a bit on rear headroom but that’s only an issue for tall passengers. The Insignia in hatchback form has 530 litres of boot space, the saloon has 500 litres and the estate ‘Sports Tourer’ has 540 litres. The Mondeo hatchback has 541 litres of boot space, while the estate had just 500 litres.
For the Insignia, CO2 emissions vary across the range from just 99g to 147g. The 1.6-litre diesel (136PS) is the most efficient in the range returning up to 74.3mpg. CO2 emissions across the Mondeo range vary from 104g to 137g. The 1.5-litre diesel (120PS) is the most efficient, returning up to 71mpg.
On The Road
These cars are both ideal for long journeys with comfortable, compliant suspensions that smooth out the road ahead. The Mondeo is a sharper and more exciting car to drive when you get off the motorway. It feels more agile than the Insignia and the steering gives the driver more feedback for a fun and sporty drive. Sound insulation is very good in both, and only on larger wheels does the Insignia feel like the less refined of the two due to more road noise.
Read the individual reviews to find out more about how these cars perform on the road: