Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Estate | Shed of the Week

The Mondeo is gone. But not definitely not forgotten

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, April 8, 2022 / Loading comments

If there was some sort of graph or index to illustrate the correlation between road test reviews and actual real-life ownership, Ford’s Mondeo would very likely be at the pooey end of the line. For those who only drove Mondeos when they were new, i.e. magazine road testers, the difference between their experiences and the ones that owners were often complaining about has always been a bit of a mystery, but for at least some of the owners who bought Mondeos on the strength of the metronomically positive UK road tests the gap wasn’t so hard to explain. Stonelike Mondeo depreciation was, for them, a pretty accurate reflection of what they saw as the general rubbishness of the product going forward – or not, as the case may be.

PH has no official view on this sort of thing. Shed does. He reckons that Ford-bashing has been hard-wired into the British motorist’s psyche since 1962 when Britain’s first monocoque car, the Cortina, was launched. Like every Mondeo, the Cortina was a terrific new car in many ways, but the ownership experience went downhill faster than a skier on the Italian piste from which it took its name, thanks in the main to quality and rust issues that earned it the politically incorrect nickname of Dagenham Dustbin.

Two decades later, in 1982, the Cortina was replaced by the Sierra. Ten years after that, in 1992, the Mondeo replaced the Sierra. Now, after three more decades and four generations, the Mondeo has kicked the bucket, the last example coming off the Valencia production line just four days before the story you’re reading went live. The big difference this time is that there will be no successor apart from a gen-five model to be built and sold exclusively in China where they still don’t mind non-SUVs in this segment.

Does the Mondeo’s disappearance mean that its rate of depreciation will slow up and that it will eventually achieve classic status? Unlikely, but who cares about that in 2022 when you can pick up a rather handsome gen-three estate like this one for just £1,490. Not only that, but one with a brand-new and completely advisory-free MOT, albeit with some typo wonkiness on the mileage.

This is the first gen-three Mondeo we’ve had in here. In 2010, when it was new, a 2.0 TDCi Zetec estate like this would have cost £20k-plus. It might not have been the last word in dynamic excellence but it was extremely comfortable, arguably the most comfy car in the class, in fact, and in Zetec guise it came with plenty of kit – a lot more than you would get in a similarly priced BMW 318d, for example.

As it’s not a Titanium mega-speccer our shed won’t have keyless entry, and that’s a good thing because they could intermittently fail. Intermittent failure is probably worse than total failure because at least you knew where you stood with that. Sci-fi author Arthur C Clarke was bang on with a lot of things, but the ability to predict, with a startling degree of accuracy, the upcoming failure of a component – in his case the AE-35 comms array on Discovery One in 2001: A Sapce Odyssey – has so far not become reality.

You’d think car companies might have spent some money on researching that as a credible system of diagnostic certainty would have wrung quite a lot of money out of nervous motorists keen to fill their boots with mobility-guaranteeing spare parts. Even if the part didn’t blow, well, better safe than sorry, and if your original parts lasted longer than predicted, well, that was a good ad for the quality of your original parts wasn’t it.

Anyway, back on planet earth, the 2.0-litre diesel unit does have a certain predictability in regards to its reputation for cutting out. You could often sort that out with an ECU reflash though. Talking of flashing, Mondeos burn through more bulbs than average, but that’s maybe because a lot of them ended up as suburban minicabs ploughing their lonely late-night furrows up and down the land. On the other hand their consumption of brakes is lower than average, due to many owners being in a hurry to get to their next breakdown. That’s unfair actually as overall Mondeo reliability has been middling to good with affordable repair costs and stuff like cambelts and clutches hitting six-figure mileages with relative ease. Seat bolsters might not fare so well, collapsing early doors under the sweaty buttocks of your average bun-munching Brit. Trim could get rattly too.

To finish, does anybody else think that yellow rear numberplates look terrible on black cars? Red Belgian ones would look so much better. Cast your vote on this important topic now.


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