Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 77%

The Mondeo has become a ubiquitous sight on British roads since its launch in 1993.

But the Mondeo is now far more than a runabout for the masses – its huge range of bodystyles and engine choices means there’s something for everyone.

We took to the roads in the hot Mondeo ST220 for a week to put it through its paces.

1. Looks 8/10

With a Mondeo on every street, it’s easy to overlook the car’s styling. It really is a sharp looking machine. The pointy grille, headlights and taillights were radical departures from the previously bulbous Mondy when this generation launched in 2000. Our ST220 test car is the sporty cream of the crop. Featuring a racy but subtle body kit – complete with the obligatory chrome bits and big alloys – it has a huge amount of presence on the road. A pair of big chrome exhaust pipes signals the ST’s powerful pretensions.

2. Looks inside 8/10

Step inside a new Ford and its more Audi that Aldi – Ford’s of yore often had nasty, plasticy interiors. The Mondeo is no different, with a Germanic feel – the Mondeo was designed there – and instrumentation which gives it a premium feel. The analogue clock in the centre of the dash is a feature reminiscent of luxury brands such as Bentley. Our ST220 test car has racy red stitching around the leather steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake, and there are a number of aluminium panels on the dash. The half-leather Recaro sports seats are very comfortable and supportive – and look great. There’s bags of room in the rear too.

3. Practicality 8/10

Yep, another good score here too. Our hatchback test car, and the saloon version can hold an impressive 500 litres in a boot which is usefully devoid of intruding wheel arches. The estate version has an extra 40 litres of capacity, and a low sill makes loading easy. There’s lots of space for all the occupants, allowing the tall and the broad-shouldered plenty of room up front. The rear can house six-footers in comfort too. Up front a decent sized glovebox is supplemented by a driver’s side tray for change, cupholders and a compartment beneath the armrest.

4. Ride and Handling 9/10

Back in 2000, few affordable cars of this size could boast a blend of excellent handling and cosseting ride. Having said that, the driver-focused ST version we tried has sports suspension, which while sharpening the handing to almost hot hatch levels, stiffens the ride. Even so, the ride only becomes tiresome on the bumpiest of tarmac. The steering is very precise and offers plenty of feedback from the front wheels.

5. Performance 8/10

With a 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, the Mondeo ST220 is a rapid machine. But then it should be with a lusty 3-litre V6 engine producing 226bhp. It makes a lovely noise too, especially with the boomy twin exhaust pipes. The ST220 is the quickest model in the range, with a diesel ST holding up the sporty end of the bargain for the cost conscious buyer. More mainstream models include 1.8, 2-litre and 2.5 petrols and 2-litre and 2.2 diesels, all of which are impressive performers.

6. Running Costs 6/10

Depreciation is the biggest pain in Mondeo ownership. The ST220 we tested will lose a staggering £15,000 in its first year, and a further £2,000 a year for the next three years. Other models fare better, but the amount of cars Ford sells to rental companies which are then sold to private buyers mean the market gets flooded with cheaper, nearly new models. Ford says the 3-litre model we drove will clock an average of 26.7mpg, but during a mix of motorway and congested city traffic it struggled to reach 18mpg. Tax is expensive on our model too, with 249g/km of carbon placing it into the highest band.

7. Reliability 8/10

The Mondeo scores well in the Reliability Index for the cheapness and rarity of breakdowns. There’s an obvious advantage to running a very popular car, because every repairer – franchised or independent – will know every microscopic foible.

8. Safety 7/10

The Mondeo scored four stars in the EuroNCAP crash test programme, which was good for a car launched in 2000. All models come with a huge amount of safety kit as standard – in fact, the entry level LX has exactly the same standard kit as the range toppers. That means all models get Ford’s Intelligent Protection System, which determines the severity of the collision and activates the most suitable features to protect the occupants. This is joined by driver and passenger, front side and curtain airbags, a collapsible brake pedal to avoid leg injuries, ABS with brakeforce distribution and brake assistance.

9. Equipment 7/10

The Mondeo comes very well appointed across the range, more so the ST220; which counts 18-inch alloys, electric seats and puddle lights which illuminate under the doors when opened, among its standard kit. Our test car came with a host of extras, including a DVD sat-nav system with six CD changer (£1,750), rear park sensors (£300), xenon headlights, tinted glass and headlamp wash/wipe (£550) and a telephone connectivity pack (£300).

10. X-Factor 8/10

The Mondeo has featured in every top ten most popular car list since 1993, so is now firmly ensconced in the nation’s hearts. This, the third generation Mondeo has done more than enough to ensure this continues. No matter what you’ll use a car for, the Mondeo is more than capable of putting a smile on your face.

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Mondeo ST220
On the road price: £24,740
Price range: £16,222 – £24,740
Date tested: February 2007
Road tester: Stuart Milne