I’m finding myself with a bit of a hankering for a Ford Mondeo at the moment. I guess it’s all the talk about the current model, which shuffled off this mortal coil recently, bringing to an end a continuous line of family saloons that kicked off in 1962 with the Cortina.
I’ll put my cards on the table right here: I’ve always been a little ambivalent about Fords, figuring that there’s so much love for them that they don’t really need any help from me – so, in the list of 250+ cars that I’ve owned, there are very few Fords.
There’s a Mondeo in there though, and I’d love to have another. But not the type you might expect. The original 1993 edition was a brilliantly-engineered thing, blessed with shrinking violet looks which meant you’d never know it was a dynamic masterpiece without getting in and driving it on your favourite B-road.
Growing up, growing better?
The 2001 version was a big step up in looks and interior quality, but the Mk4 really did see the Mondeo grow up – and it’s that one that’s currently floating my boat. Next time you see one, take a closer look at a Titanium X in black or silver and on big wheels and tell me that’s not a handsome beast that still looks modern.
But it’s not just a good-looking car. Like all Mondeos (and Sierras and Cortinas before that), the Mk4 is a big beast that’s just perfect for carrying people and their luggage for hundreds of miles without breaking into a sweat.
It’s spacious, well-equipped and honed for the motorway. It’s also available with the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine used to power the second-generation Focus ST, and lest we forget that James Bond drove one in Casino Royale. Now tell me you don’t want one.
My own experiences…
I bought a Mondeo Mk4 on a whim back in 2017 for £780. It was a 210,000-mile example 2.0 Ghia saloon in doom blue with a beige cloth interior featuring enough unsavoury stains to challenge your local forensics lab. It was down on power, had wobbly discs and featured some interesting love taps on all four corners.
But once cleaned up, engine light reset and reshod with decent tyres and brakes, this 10-year-old example proved to be a brilliant thing to drive. It was relaxing and economical, and even had a great stereo and working aircon. Considering its galactic mileage, it still felt tight and could easily have passed for a car with 100,000 miles on the clock – and a well-built one at that.
It’s sad that the Mondeo is no more, as new car buyers move away from big, comfy saloons and into less efficient and more cramped SUVs. It was part of a cultural phenomenon that already feels increasingly distant from today. Sometimes evolution doesn’t go the way it should, and here’s a great example of that. I guess that means if you’re a softie for a Mondeo, the next few years are going to be rich pickings for you as they fade into automotive obscurity.
Such a shame…
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