Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

For its time, the mk3 Ford Mondeo was a game-changing car, and even today, it could show a lot of much newer rivals a thing or two. Yes, it had one or two ergonomic issues and a few low-quality interior panels, but otherwise, the Mondeo is a brilliant family car, with a huge amount of space, decent equipment and a wonderfully polished driving experience. It’ll be a really affordable choice, too.

Fact File

Body Styles

  • Five-door hatchback
  • Four-door saloon
  • Five-door estate

Years Available

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Main Rivals

Introduction

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

Ah, the good old Mondeo. Not all that long ago, you’d find every street in the country absolutely littered with these things, such was their popularity. However, now that so many family car buyers have switched their allegiance to super-popular SUVs, the traditional family car is a rather rarer sight on British roads.

However, just because this type of car happens to be a bit out of fashion right now, it doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot to like. Especially so in the case of the third-generation Mondeo, sold between 2007 and 2013, because this was hands-down the best car of its type.

First of all, it was massive. All of the five seats were surrounded by loads of space, meaning even families that contained the gangliest of teenagers would be comfortable, while the boot was absolutely huge. And that’s if you went for the five-door hatchback or four-door saloon versions. Plump for the estate, meanwhile, and the loadbay was even more enormous.

It was also fitted with a reasonably generous amount of equipment for the day. Even the entry-level trims came with most of what you needed in terms of luxury and safety, and more and more gadgets were added throughout the car’s life, so the later your car, the better stocked it’ll be.

Another thing that changed pretty much constantly throughout the car’s life was the engine range, with regular updates to existing power units, and regular releases of new ones. The best - and the most popular - one, though, was available throughout, and that was the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel. This was easily the best compromise between performance and economy.

What never changed, though, was that the Mondeo was by far and away the best car in its class to drive. The ride was sensationally smooth, mopping up every blemish on the road surface without any fuss whatsoever, yet the handling was also sensationally sharp. The strong grip, tight body control and sharp steering gave the Mondeo a level of agility that was previously unheard of in cars of this size. So, not only was it comfortable, it was also great fun. Decent refinement also helped make the Mondeo a fairly relaxed motorway cruiser, too.

Was it perfect? Well, no car is, and sure enough, the Mondeo has its shortcomings. Look below the dense soft-touch dashtop and you’ll find plenty of panels that are made from plastic of a rather more questionable quality (the glovebox lid looks particularly unappealing). The stereo controls are pretty fiddly, while the optional touchscreen satnav system is very fiddly and dated by more modern standards, and the rear visibility is a little bit impaired. Still, if that’s all you’ve got to complain about in a car of this age, you’re not doing too badly.

Three Things To Know

  • Five trim levels were available in the Mondeo’s early days. The entry-level Edge came with most of the equipment you really need, including air-conditioning, cruise control, electric front windows, a leather steering wheel, powered door mirrors, a single-slot CD stereo, electronic stability control and seven airbags. However, we reckon it’s worth upgrading to Zetec trim if you can for its alloy wheels, two-zone climate control, electric rear windows and body-coloured door handles. Then came the Ghia, which had automatic lights and wipers, rear air-con vents, a six-disc CD autochanger and extra exterior chrome elements, along with a less-than-plausible wooden-effect interior trim. Titanium trim was pretty much the same but without the faux-wood (mercifully) and the automatic lights and wipers, while Titanium X trim reinstated the latter and added heated front seats and part-leather upholstery.
  • A 2010 facelift brought about some tweaks to the car’s trim structure. Entry-level Edge cars were given four powered windows and a Bluetooth phone connection as standard, and while Zetec trim stayed pretty much the same, Titanium trim added automatic lights and wipers and Ghia trim was dropped altogether. Titanium X cars were given front and rear parking sensors and front seats that were both heated and cooled, while above that, a new Titanium X Sport trim added racier exterior styling, lashings of red stitching inside the cabin, a sports suspension and Bi-Xenon headlamps. On top of all that, various high-value special editions also came and went throughout the Mondeo’s life.
  • That 2010 facelift brought much more than revised equipment levels, though. Updated exterior styling gave the Mondeo a slightly more aggressive look, along with new LED lighting front and back, and there were also slight tweaks to interior design, with some new colour schemes on offer. More driver assistance systems - such as lane departure warning, high-beam assistance and blind spot monitoring - were made available, along with a number of new and revised engines. What’s more, the saloon bodystyle was dropped, leaving only the five-door hatchback and the estate.

Which One to Buy

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review
  • If you’re after ultimate economy, you’ll want to hunt out a version with an Econetic badge. The precise engine that your Econetic model is packing will much depend on the age of your car. The first Econetic was a 1.8-litre unit, but it was later swapped for a much better - and even cleaner - 2.0-litre unit. Then, towards the end of the Mondeo’s life, this was switched out for a 1.6-litre engine. Regardless of which you’ll go for, you’ll get the same power output of 113bhp, but it’s worth noting that the early 1.8 is nowhere near as flexible as the later options.
  • For most people, we reckon the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel is the pick of the range. It has all the go that most drivers will ever need or want (in fact, it’s actually pretty difficult to even detect the extra pace you get from most of the more powerful diesels), and it does a cracking job on economy and refinement, too. And, because this was by far and away the most popular engine, there are absolutely shedloads of examples on the used market.
  • If you simply must have a petrol engine in your Mondeo rather than a diesel, ignore early examples of the car. Neither the 1.8 or 2.0-litre versions were really up to the job of hauling this enormous car around, and while the 2.3 and 2.5 were quicker, they were also thirsty. During the car’s facelift in 2010, though, a turbocharged 1.6 petrol was introduced, and that’s the one you want because it’s perky, smooth and refined.
  • If you want the most powerful Mondeo you can possibly get, then again, you’ll want to ignore the early 2.3s and 2.5s. The 2010 facelift also bought with it a more powerful version of the existing turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, but hiked the power output up from 200bhp to 237bhp. For our money, it doesn’t actually suit the car as well as the diesels do, but there’s no denying how strong the performance is. Won’t be cheap to run, though.

Running Costs

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

The Mondeo was a fairly affordable option even when it was new, and although the car’s comparatively weak residual values were a thorn in the side for the original buyer, they’re great news for used car buyers. You certainly won’t have to pay anywhere near top-dollar to get a very tidy example, and the huge amount of these cars on the used market mean you shouldn’t have any problem finding a car to suit your taste and budget.

We’d recommend avoiding the petrol-powered cars unless absolutely necessary, as they’re all pretty thirsty. According to official figures, even the best of them only achieved high thirties in the miles-per-gallon stakes, while the worst only return around 30mpg, and that’s likely to be even worse in the real world. As we’ve said, the diesels were the most popular choices due to their superior fuel economy, and if you go for an early car, all of them (except those fitted with an automatic gearbox) should return between 45mpg and 50mpg according to official figures. Bear in mind, too, that the engines were constantly tweaked throughout the car’’s life, so the later your car, the cleaner it's likely to be. For instance, the popular 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel started life with an official combined figure of 49mpg, but by the time the car was facelifted in 2010, this had risen to above 53mpg. The cleanest version you can get is the later 1.6-litre Econetic diesel, which had an official figure of more than 65mpg.

Due to their super-low CO2 emissions, these versions also qualify for super-low annual VED payments of £20 or £30. Earlier Econetics, though, along with the rest of the diesels, face annual bills of between £125 and £205, with most of them sitting on or around the £150 mark. Of the petrol, the cheapest VED bill you’ll face is £165, while the most expensive stands at £330. Insurance groupings range between 12 and 28 on the Mondeo, meaning premiums on most versions should be fairly affordable.

Reliability

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

Fords generally do pretty well in this area. Most reliability surveys doing the rounds - including both the Warranty Direct Reliability Index and the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey - put the brand firmly in the top half of the table in their respective manufacturer rankings, and where applicable, this generation of Mondeo also does a pretty solid job when considered as an individual model.

The Warranty Direct study reports that if something does go wrong with this generation of Mondeo, then it’s likely to be either an electrical problem or an engine issue. In regards to the former, take the time to make sure all the various switches and gizmos are working as they should, with no intermittent behaviour. The central locking is a well-known source of glitches, so make sure you lock and unlock the car several times over, and make sure that all the doors do as expected each and every time. In regards to the latter, it’s been reported that some 2.0-litre diesels have cut out for no apparent reason, but this is a glitch that can be fixed with a simple ECU update.

Because the Mondeo was such a popular car with company car drivers, you’ll find lots of high-mileage examples on the used market. This shouldn’t be a major cause of concern in itself, but do make sure that the car you’re considering has been looked after properly with a thorough inspection of the service history, and we’d always advise insisting on a comprehensive one.

The CarGurus Verdict

Ford Mondeo Mk3 (2007-2013) Expert Review

If you want a whole heap of family car for not a lot of cash, we can’t think of many better options than the third-generation Ford Mondeo. Whether you go for the hatchback, the saloon or the estate, you get masses of interior space and a huge boot, along with decent equipment levels and a very presentable safety record. And, thanks to the combination of affordable new-car prices and comparatively weak resale values, these cars are an absolute steal on the used market.

Best of all, the Mondeo was head-and-shoulders above its contemporaries for how good it was to drive, with a comfortable ride and genuinely entertaining handling, while the best engines delivered a tempting mix of performance and economy.

Granted, some rivals of the same vintage feel posher inside, and there were one or two ergonomic foibles, but otherwise, the Mondeo is a fabulous all-rounder that can be had for a snip. Thoroughly recommended.

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Updated by Ivan Aistrop

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