In 1992, two years before the Uwe Bahnsen-penned Sierra was phased out of production, Ford of Europe unleashed the Mondeo mid-size sedan. Previously assembled at the Blue Oval’s Genk plant in Belgium, the Mk V Ford Mondeo family hauler is now made at a state-of-the-art facility located in Valencia, Spain.
Despite being marketed as the Mk V, this is actually the fourth generation of the nameplate because the first gen's facelift was marketed as the Mk II. With this matter out of the way, I insist on clearing up a second curiosity for our American readers.
Yes, you are right on this one! This is the tailored-for-Europe variant of the second-gen Ford Fusion, which made its debut more than two years ago at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Motor City.
It boggles the mind why the US-based automaker took its time with adapting the 2013 model year Ford Fusion into the 2015 Ford Mondeo, but the two-year wait has worth it based on three core variants of the all-new Mondeo.
These are the 2-liter turbo diesel five-door liftback sedan, the 1.5 EcoBoost estate, as well as the cool as a sea breeze Hybrid four-door sedan, each model having its own role in the lineup, depending on each buyer's basic needs.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, the 120 horsepower 1.5-liter TDCi and the 125 horsepower 1-liter EcoBoost three-pot are slated to become available by mid-2015.
Alas, Ford's European division leaves the 2015 Mondeo customer with limited powertrain choices if you’re in the market for such a machine right now: front-wheel drive, a six-speed stick shift, a smooth automatic or a quick-shifting PowerShift dual-clutch transmission, as well as a plethora of TDCi Duratorq or EcoBoost four-cylinder engines coming in 1.5, 1.6 and 2-liter formats.
Regarding the models we’ve been driving, these are the sedan version of the 2015 Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi turbo diesel with 180 horsepower and a six-speed manual, the family-oriented estate mated to a 1.5 EcoBoost with 160 ponies and the same stick shift box, as well as the 187 horsepower Hybrid that comes with an eCVT gearbox.
Because this is Europe and turbo diesel vehicles sell like hotcakes in this part of the world, we’ll emphasize our review of the Mondeo on the frugal oil burner, which is going to be most popular with both retail and fleet buyers.
“Mondeo man” was a phrase popularized by Tony Blair in the 1990s, but it still holds true to its meaning to the present day.It’s redundant to compare a volume model to the premium trio from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
If you vector in the B8 Volkswagen Passat's cabin, including materials and fit & finish, even this model holds the upper hand over the Mondeo. As ever, the Ford Mondeo is more utilitarian and down to Earth than its German rivals, but it surprises in areas you wouldn’t have ever imagined before. When you first look upon the 2015 Ford Mondeo, its generous size (4,871 mm/191.7 inches length and 1,852 mm/72.9 inches width) doesn't make it bulky thanks to its smart, chiseled exterior visual packaging.
At all times during our test-drive, the car accommodated four people and their luggage, but when you look at it from the outside, you may be fooled into thinking this is an Aston Martin. But it isn’t an Aston and only the white Hybrid fools the untrained eye. Still, even the Ruby Red 2.0 TDCi sedan received a few admiring glances.
Starting with the front fascia, the Detroit-based design team gave the Mondeo an imposing upper radiator grille, garnishing it with horizontal chromed bars, joined by a trapezoidal radiator grille integrated in the lower bumper.
The round fog lights aren’t that outlandish, especially their black plastic surrounds, but the sculpted hood with a bulge on top of it and the optional LED adaptive headlights with sequential turn indicators à la the Audi A8 make up for it, as you can see in the video below.
All things taken into consideration, the Mondeo, B8-gen Passat, W205 C-Class and F30 3 Series are duking it out for the best face in their class. Moving on to the side profile of the 2015 Ford Mondeo sedan, its sheer bulkiness is at its most obvious if you opt for the basic pygmy 16-inch rubber.
To address the increase in volume, the car's median line was artificially lowered by 35 mm (1.37 inches), the C-pillar’s quarter windows are beautified with sharp curvatures, while the rear windscreen has been raked in a dramatic fashion without sacrificing any rear passenger headroom.
If you like the chrome-finished, trapezoidal exhaust outlets, you might want to know those exits are fakes which cover up two run-of-the-mill round tail pipes.
To boot, the adaptive LED headlights and taillights are bundled in the steeply priced €3,750 Titanium package. Despite the apparently high expenditure, the Titanium pack adds a few other extras, including SYNC Gen II 8-inch touchscreen infotainment without sat nav, Bluetooth and Voice Control, an eight-speaker Sony-branded stereo, heated steering wheel and the power liftgate we've first seen on the Kuga crossover SUV, tinted windows and an automatic parallel and perpendicular parking feature.
Once you step inside, the 2015 Ford Mondeo doesn’t impress, but every little button and switch is exactly where you would expect to find it. There’s some glossy, scratchy black plastic surrounding the window controls, while the dashboard is laden with soft-touch plastic which is great to the touch, but very far from visually appealing.
Regardless of those small niggles, the cockpit is redeemed by silver-painted plastic or real metal, details which add a little premium to an overall form-follows-function type of cabin. The floating lower part of the center stack may be inspired by the Volvo S60
's, but we're not complaining.
One detail I found exaggerated is the thickness of the A-pillars. The Ford Mondeo may be rated 5 stars by the Euro NCAP, but the downside of this level of safety will pose a problem when you negotiate a busy intersection.
From the driver’s point of view, the most useful and enticing aspect of the cabin is represented by the half-digital instrument cluster which comes as standard on higher spec models.
Customers still get an analogue rev counter and speedometer, but inside those and in between the two, Ford throws in digital screens which show you everything from the mileage, radio menu, the speed limit of the bit of road you’re driving on and so forth. As for cubby holes to store half-liter bottles of water, a smartphone or your wallet, there are plenty throughout the vehicle’s cabin. In terms of interior passenger space, the 2,850 mm (112.2 in) wheelbase offers plenty of legroom and headroom, even for the middle occupant in the rear, for both the sedan and estate 2015 Ford Mondeo.
Whichever body style you’re interested in, don’t forget to opt for the two-stage heated rear seats. This bit of optional kit is extremely welcomed during the winter or if you live in a part of Europe that’s chilly throughout the year.
We couldn’t find anything wrong with the standard suspension, more so when you find out the rear suspension is similar to the IRS that equips the 2015 Ford Mustang, but the adaptive suspension is a bit wallowing for the rear occupants when traveling at high speed in Comfort mode.
The latter unit irons out road imperfections rather well thanks to its fair level of damping, but spring travel is insufficient at the rear, giving an overall impression of a four-wheeled fishing boat that's navigating the stormy sea. You can easily correct this by engaging Sport mode, the setup that considerably reduces body roll in the twisties.
But there’s a price to pay for this and that’s the added stiffness. To boot, Sport mode is sporty only by name – let's not forget that this is a 1,584-kilogram (3,492 lbs) car in 2.0 TDCi sedan guise and no type of suspension is able to trick you into thinking the Mondeo weighs a little less.
I’ll grant engineers the fact that it feels light on its feet. In a similar manner to the 2015 Volkswagen Passat, the 2015 Ford Mondeo comes with electric power steering, a contraption that’s good for driving in the city, albeit with the mandatory lack of feedback through the steering wheel.
Once you step outside the concrete jungle to stretch the legs of the Mondeo, you’ll be surprised by the naturally weightier steering feel, just a tad more responsive than that of the B8-gen Passat.
Volkswagen’s steering system gives the impression that it was specifically set up for being effortlessly comfortable in every driving scenario, but Ford's engineers tuned it a little different for cruising on the motorway or when you are preparing to attack those engaging, curvy B roads.
Naturally, it doesn’t compare to the natural feedback a retro hydraulic system transmits to your fingers via the steering wheel, but it’s arguably the next best thing for a D-segment sedan manufactured by a volume automaker.
Keep in mind though, the BMW 3 Series
still has everything nicked in terms of driving dynamics. After all it's hard to compete with rear-wheel drive and the "ultimate driving machine" label.
The 2015 Ford Mondeo seems to understeer a wee at first glance, but I blame the electronic nannies for this. Heck, the electronic stability control can’t be turned off whatever you do. But there’s a rather simple way you can morph it into a pretty neutral-handling car.
I’m not referring to left foot braking into the corner because rally-grade driving techniques aren't safe for driving on public roads. Instead, before entering a corner, I recommend preparing the Mondeo with a nudge of the steering wheel in the same direction the road takes you to.
Once you’re on the ideal cornering line, only then you can flex your muscles and steer 100 percent, but don’t forget to progressively straighten the wheel as you exit the corner. If you don't straighten the steering wheel smoothly during exit, you'll be forced into overcorrecting, thus unsettling the car.