Video : Twenty years of the Mondeo

Mondeo story (60)

The Ford Mondeo is celebrating its 20th anniversary and more than 4.5 million sales in Europe, including 1,400,000 in the UK. To mark the occasion, the company has released a new video with voiceover by Ray Winstone.

The Mondeo was introduced in 1993 following a five-year, £3bn development programme and was named Car of the Year in 1994. The first generation car might have looked conservative, but it set was underpinned by an all-new suspension set-up, which blessed it with class-leading levels of ride, handling and steering.

It also was fitted with up-to-the-minute technology – for the time –  including a standard driver’s airbag, an optional passenger airbag and offered traction control, adaptive damping, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and optional four-wheel drive. In 1996, a revised, restyled and lighter weight Mondeo delivered optional side airbags, which were standardised two years later together with four-channel ABS.

It was so popular it even became part of the English language, when Tony Blair coined the phrase ‘Mondeo Man’ to define a new voting class in the early part of the last decade.

Keith Adams


  1. Wow! I just realised it’s been going for the Cortina’s life span almost!

    Never was a fan, but it may be time to start giving it some respect.

  2. Pity the MK2 was such a flaky, brick-like bore mobile. When the Germans got their hands in it all the usual signs of “quality” started to appear, like failing electric window mechanisms and electrics, brittle plastics, badly designed glovebox locks, squeaking dash and failing seat incline adjusters. I had 2 mk1s and they were a paragon of quality and sturdiness, they also looked great, I then made the mistake of buying a 2002 mk2 and it all went downhill from there, awful, dull car that was no where near as good.

  3. My Dad had an ex-fleet 2002 example 9.5 years & hardly anything went wrong with it during that time.

    It had plenty of long drives fully loaded, along with a lot of short round town trips to test it.

  4. @4 When the Germans got their hands on it? Every European Ford since the late 60s has been a German design.

    @5 Any rational person would say the Mk2 is the new Edge version. The 1996 car being a Mk1 facelift. Those who think they know though call the 96 a Mk2.

    @6 What criticism?

  5. Don’t forget the American versions of this car. There was the Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique in the M1 and 2 versions, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, the Mercury Cougar (1999-2002) and Ford Cougar (for non-US markets and made in the USA with RHD for UK, Australia, etc), the Mazda MX-6, and 6 sedan (to the latest version). Another variance of the USA Contour was available in a 2.5 L V-6 and SVT versions that were quite hot. While the Mondao is the ‘big’ Ford in Europe, it’s USA versions it was more mid-sized, between the Escort/Focus and Taurus/500.

  6. I don’t suppose the 1990 Escort was developed with the aid of a five-year, £3bn development programme..

    Was it the Mk 2 Mondeo whose bumpers always seem to crack, revealing yellow foam underneath?

  7. @LeonUSA

    The Mercury Milan and mk1 Ford Fusion are unrelated to the Mondeo, other than some interior items.

    They do share some ‘new edge’ styling, though Ford did this before with the AU Falcon which looked like a mk2 Granada but was unrelated.

    Was a closet fan of the Ford / Mercury Cougar. Seems quite similar in execution to the US-built 99 Accord Coupe I’d later end up owning.
    With a greater range of engines it could’ve been a modern capri. As it was, a 2.0 and V6 when petrol prices were starting to soar, and diesel was becoming popular, were suboptimal.

  8. The Mark 2 (or Mark 1 facelift) bumpers did crack. Both my front & rear ones did!

    Nobody has commented yet about the steering issue whereby the cars veered to the left that the original Mondeo suffered from. It was highlighted by watchdog for sure & Which magazine I think & Ford were in complete denial about the issue.

    Funny how the facelift model didn’t suffer from this!

  9. The steering pull was down to subframe alignment and nothing more, still have the tool for doing them as well!

  10. Personally, I still have a lot of respect for the 2001 Mk2/3 Mondeo – Somehow it’s always reminded me of a modern-day Mk4 Cortina – I’ve driven a few of them, and always found them to be a great drive – especially in Diesel form. For a big car, it was always a doddle to park. I also liked the simplicity of the interior, although some of the plastics were a bit dodgy. The current incarnation is just too bloody big! I’ve driven them too and find them impossible to park – no-one needs a car that wide! Styling still looks great though, but I hate the ‘vegas’ interiors Ford are pushing these days….

  11. All Mondeos were good cars they had to be, the CDW27 was peerless even better than an E46 without a doubt,the MK 1 1/2 sharpened the looks nut i find i prefer the original.

    The MK2 was agian superb to drive-the sweetest was the Mazda derived 1.8 Duratec HE, the puma engined diesel was a dog of an engine best left in the Transit.

  12. I had a 2000 Mercury Cougar with the 2.5 Duratec V-6, from new to 2006. Mechanically sound, handled good, nice performance, looked good, but got a little too tough to get in/out of and had been hit 4 times, each leading to a trip to the body shop. They along with Contours and early Focus, had a bad fuel pump design, with high rates of failures.

  13. I liked the Mundano as a hire car. The sort of motor you could jump in at an airport car hire depot and know how everything worked straight away. Mostly a pretty good drive if you avoided the 1.6 and early diesels. I was lucky enough to get a V6 when Hertz were short of cars and they were brilliant — except for the fuel consumption.

    However, the dull interiors and blobby styling put me off the early ones and I still don’t like the interiors on any Mondeo model. Mu brother had a Mk3 for many years and racked up well over 100k miles on it with not much trouble.

    As I said, great hire car, just not one I’d ever want to own.

    PS Current model is over a foot (300mm) longer and almost 4″ wider than a Granada!

  14. The first Mondeo was rumoured to be a near copy of the Nissan Primera, Ford having stripped the Primera down to looking for ideas.

    My dealings with Ford Customer Services over a replacement starter motors for an early 90s Mondeo sent me straight into the arms of Nissan and Honda.

    The first Mondeos had a serious fault,well-known in the trade and owners etc.

    The starter motors were very substandard with a failure rate of probably 90% in 20000 miles.

    With such a problem why not own up and replace the motors free of charge at service schedule or recall.

    Not so Ford Customer Services, they wanted full price for the part (£275) plus £100 labour, minus 25% discount, the latter as a “sympathetic consideration”.

    Their specious reasoning that it had lasted for 18,000 miles, so could not be deemed “unfit for purpose” (the car was just outside the warranty period).

    In the end payment received, a new redesigned part installed and they took their profit, or so they thought. Goodbye Ford…..hello Nissan I would like to buy a…..

  15. It’s no rumour. Ford said at the launch of the Mondeo that the Primera was the benchmark car, with the Honda Accord being the original one when the project CDW27 started out in 1987.

    • I think the quality benchmark for the design of the 2001 version was the 1996 Passat, inspiring features like pull instead of lift door handles amongst others.

  16. It would be interesting to consider all the new cars released over the last 50 years or so – that had some inherent failing that ruined or significantly marred their reputation in the first few months.
    With no research whatever and just thinking on my toes –
    Hillman’s Imp and it’s water problems
    Ford’s Mondeo and the starter motor
    Jensen’s Healey and it’s head issues
    Jaguar’s MK 2 and electrics
    NSU’s Ro 80 and the rotor tip seals
    BMC’s Mini and water ingress – and the wet dizzy problems
    Triumph’s Herald steering mysteries
    Ford’s Cortina MK 4 height issues
    Ford’s Corsair fuel and fire problems
    ……..but of course why restrict to the last 50 years or so?
    Rover made the most almighty cock up with the 1924 Rover Eight – the twin cylinder 998cc engine was horrible and soon revamped and upgraded to 1100cc.
    Nothing changes.

  17. @15 “peerless”? You’re obviously overlooking the Nissan Primera P10 which had an even better chassis than the Mondeo – I preferred the styling and interior of the Mondeo – but the Primera was an incredible driver’s car.

  18. I popped my Ford cherry in a Mondeo 3 (Mk2 really but the moniker has stuck). It may only be a 2001 2.0TDDi LX but it is a great car. While the interior quality went downhill when it went ‘German’ it looked good atleast.

    The Mondeo could be regarded as the vanguard of the revolution in Ford chassis design – since then, FWD Fords have just got better (well, until the Mk3 Focus).

    While the Mk1 was a little dull but it did look a bit more modern than the Cavalier Mk3 but the 1996 face-lift was ugly – especially compared to the Vectra B, the Mk2 looked good and I must admit, I do really like the current Mondeo…

    Happy Birthday Mondeo – 20 years old – God, I’m getting old…

  19. @21, I had two 2.0 eGT’s the Mondeo steered better and was tidier overall. And lasted longer….

  20. I am 6ft4 and have size 12 feet and having driven a MK4(07-onwards)Mondeo, it didn’t seem that much bigger than my Peugeot 407. I am considering buying one in the future.

    The MK1 estates were desperately slow sellers when they first came out, I think I only saw about 3 or 4 in the first 6 months of production, so I doubt there are that many K-reg examples.

  21. @Iain

    I’m 6ft3, size 12s and always found the pedal placement of the Xantia and 406s I owned a little off.
    Though the only 407 I test drove was an autobox.
    Best car in that regard was the US Honda, could drive it with winter boots.

    Friend has a mk4 Mondeo, in terms of size, reminds me of the mk3 Granada my uncle used to have.
    Maybe the slab sided design makes it look bigger than it is.

    Certainly the current Focus is roughly Sierra sized (perhaps 10cm or so shorter, but wider and higher).

  22. @20 aaah fond memories of my dads Corsair which caught fire after vigorously testing the new brakes needed for an MoT pass…..the bonnet paint bubbled as it was reversed into his garage which was in a block attached to some high rise flats (rented off the council). I was stuck in the back whilst he set about beating out the flames with his donkey jacket. Some new HT leads and a hand painted bonnet later……good as errrr….new!

  23. @ Will M – I agree with you about the pedal placement – why are they at different levels? My 407 is a manual and has the same pedal setup. My previous car was a 406, one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever driven, with an excellent power to weight ratio. The 407 is such a letdown, with uncomfortable seats, oversized centre console, which makes it difficult to reach for things in the glovebox. The mechanical side is even worse, with a weak turbo and the completely pointless DPF & DMF.

    Next time I will buy an automatic, as they are easier and not as irritating to drive, you don’t have a DMF to worry about, I’m less likely to get arthritis in my left foot/ankle, etc.

  24. The Mondeo had more direct feeling steering (once it was aligned properly as many UK Mk1s were not!) – but that isn’t handling, chuck both cars into a high speed bumpy corner and the Primera would stay on-line and just grip without fuss, excessive body float or harshness, the Mondeo (although very good) would start to feel squirrelly as the bumps upset the composure of the car slightly – particularly the rear. Don’t get me wrong, the Mondeo is excellent – the Primera was better IMHO.

  25. The Primera was supposed to be an underrated, great handling car. Though it didn’t manage to be sold as such, in later iterations Nissan performed a bit of cost cutting.

    Sadly replaced by the Qashcow urban assault vehicle.

  26. @30 Indeed, when the road testers continuously overlooked what was a fantastic drivers’ car – by far the best in the class when launched and still better than the excellent later Mondeo, they cut their losses and ditched the expensive multi-link rear suspension replacing it with the cheap Estate car setup. Most journos wouldn’t know handling if it smashed em in the face – give them stiff suspension and over-sharp steering and they think the car handles. Muppets.

  27. I drove my manager’s 2000 Ghia hatch company car, and hated it. The sun visor would not turn right to cover the driver’s window, and a large plastic box just in front of my seat got in the way of my ankles when getting in or out.
    Having checked that these faults were not carried over to the Edge Design model, I just bought a 2007 ST diesel (wonder why they didn’t call it the STD? – NOT!) estate, 54mpg on the first tank – will keep the community updated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.