Fleet News

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDdi Zetec 5dr – 12,1250 miles



ONE of the biggest benefits of buying a Ford is that you generally know what you're getting for the money. The cars offer value for money, standard levels of reliability, comfort, refinement and economy.

Get into a Ford and everything falls to hand and has been put in a place where it makes sense - or so I thought.

Climbing behind the wheel of our Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDdi Zetec 5dr, everything seemed in place, until I had a look at the stereo.

After spending some time with the Ford Focus, I became used to the big button stereo designed to 'do the job', even if it didn't look like something out of the space shuttle, which is fine with me - I prefer to look where I am going.

But the stereo fitted to our long-term test car, which includes satellite navigation, seems to go against the grain, firstly being fitted low down on the central console behind the gear-lever, which makes it difficult to reach when cruising in fifth gear.

Secondly, microscopic buttons make it difficult to change stations, while the on/off switch is cleverly designed to be difficult to spot without looking down. And the price of this added inconvenience? About £1,500.

Apparently, Ford has upgraded the specification to offer an easier-to-use satellite navigation system along with a six-CD autochanger for about £1,700. But the lesson is an important one, as this major investment will be worth a maximum of £250 on top of the car's value at disposal time, according to Glass's Guide.

Once you get over the stereo obstacle course, the Mondeo is a fine car. I will forgive its clattery diesel engine, as the TDCi common-rail unit is now available. Our test car is also showing signs of necessary repairs, such as the steering wheel being slightly aligned to the right when the car is heading straight ahead, a problem I hope will be fixed when the car has its service shortly.

The garage will also be asked to look at the gearbox, which, as has been mentioned in previous tests, is reluctant to engage third gear. It gives the impression of being in place when you change, but quietly pops out again before you accelerate, leaving a screaming engine and no pace. And just for good measure, I dislike the bonnet lock too, which can only be opened with the ignition key.

A good idea in principle, but if your engine sounds a bit odd, there is no way of checking if there is a problem without switching it off first.

Looking back over previous road tests, a trend seems to be emerging with the Mondeo of a car that has won several prestigious motoring awards for handling, dynamics and comfort, but is let down by minor niggles.

Despite these problems, I actually like the Mondeo and have moved to it from our long term MG ZT without the keys having to be prised from my hands (although I do miss the MG's fantastic V6 engine).

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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