Car Test   R0345
  See also R0130 
July 2003
Brief Test Ford Mondeo
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 2.0TDCi Zetec S
Since it was introduced two years ago, the latest Mondeo has extended its powertrains to include offerings such as Durashift, Duratec, Duratorq and Duraglit. Well, no – not Duraglit. Seriously folks, they’re Ford-speak for the Blue Oval’s new 5-speed automatic transmission, direct-injection 1.8-litre petrol engine and a pair of 2.0-litre diesels, the more powerful of which is the subject of this test.
   Using common-rail fuelling, a variable-nozzle turbocharger and intercooling, it produces 130bhp. More importantly, though, it punches out a hefty 243lb ft of torque and is coupled to an excellent new six-speed gearbox.
   The result is exhilarating acceleration from 2000 to 4500 revs and wonderfully long-legged cruising, with the engine turning over lazily (and economically) at under 2000rpm at the legal limit. In fact, sixth gear is so high that it’s used predominantly when cruising on main roads and motorways. But that’s fine by us.
   What isn’t, though, is first and second gear behaviour at crawling speed. If you try to use second too early, or are a little clumsy with the clutch, the engine is likely to stop stone dead – potentially hazardous if you’re in mid-turn, because you lose the steering’s power assistance.
   This TDCi has a couple of other less-endearing features, as well: there’s a distinct vibration period between 1500 and 2000rpm in the higher gears (though it’s smooth-revving thereafter), and we’re not keen on the way that the turbocharger/torque kicks in with such abrupt enthusiasm at 1900rpm in the lower gears; you have to back off the throttle a shade at this point to avoid giving passengers a neck-bending ride.
   Talking of which, by the way the Zetec S copes with bumps and potholes, you would be forgiven for thinking that it had beefed-up sports suspension. Not so; the stiff-limbed ride is due to the wide 40-Series, low-profile tyres on 18in alloys. At best (on a motorway) it’s firm and businesslike, at worst it’s hard and thumpy. The tyres also ‘tramline’ and there’s twitchy torque steer when you press firmly on the loud pedal. Not very nice. Mind you, they give terrific adhesion and corner with bags more dry-road grip in reserve. But, of course, you don’t have to put up with all this – LX, Zetec and Ghia models are more modestly (and sensibly) shod.
   Comfortable, supportive seats plus reach and rake adjustments to the wheel give a first-rate driving position, but rear quarter vision on the hatchback is marred by wide rear pillars.
   The spacious, well-crafted and safety conscious interior is much as described in our earlier Mondeo reports. Waiting in the wings, however, is a mildy facelifted model which, while mechanically unchanged from the current car, features some useful cabin changes. Among these are a revised centre console, automatic climate control, the option of a full-screen, satnav system, heated and ventilated driver’s seat and rain-sensing wipers. Sports suspension will become standard on the Zetec S. Thanks, but no thanks.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
Safety Euro NCAP
Security, theft of
theft from
  • six intermittent wiper settings
  • convenient cruise control buttons on wheel
  • sunglasses holder in roof
  • two gas struts hold bonnet aloft
  • speedometer calibrated every 10mph
  • satnav screen too small, too low
  • irritating seatbelt warning chimes
  • overstyled clock difficult to read
  • air recirc/air-con warning lights too small
  • no nudge strips on bumpers or scuff plates on sills
The 2.0 TDCi caters for both the fast and the frugal, who will enjoy well-proven engineering and the benefits of a spacious, comfortable, quality-crafted cabin. This 130 diesel isn’t without its shortcomings, but it cleverly combines sporting performance, reasonable fuel economy, a lot tax liability and the lowest-revving motorway cruise in the business - a four-aces combination that its rival can’t match.

engine 1998cc, 4-clinder turbo-diesel with intercooler; 130bhp at 3800rpm, 243lb ft at 1800rpm. Chain-driven double overhead camshafts, 16 valves
drive 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive with traction control. 35.8mph/1000rpm in 6th
suspension front: independent MacPherson coil spring/damper struts, anti-roll bar
rear: independent multi link, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar
wheels/tyres 7.5in alloys with 225/40ZR18 tyres (Continental Contisport on test car); temporary-use spare (full-size optional)
brakes ventilated discs front, solid discs rear with brake assist/ABS and brake force distribution control
0-62mph* 9.8sec
official mpg§ 33.6/56.5/45.6
30-70mph through gears 9.9sec
30-70mph in 4th/5th 12.1/19.8sec
AA maximum speed 126mph
AA mpg range 27-55
AA typical mpg 43miles
CO2 emissions 154g/km
* maker's figure  § urban/extra urban/combined

body upper medium (mid-priced) saloon, hatchback and estate   trim levels LX, Zetec, Zetec S, Ghia, Ghia X, ST220
engines petrol: 4 cylinder/1.8 litre/125bhp, 4/2.0/145, V6/2.5/170
diesel: 4/2.0/115, 4/2.0/130
  drive front-wheel drive; 5-speed manual, 6-speed on 2.0TDCi/130 (5-speed stepped automatic optional)
notable features 6-speed gearbox, driver's 8-way electric seat adjustment, electrically heated windscreen, rear parking sensors, xenon headlamps, two integrated child seat booster cushions, multi-media back seat entertainment system

HOW THE MONDEO 2.0TDCI COMPARES engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m) maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 4/1998/130 1960 9.9 12.1/19.8~ 43/154 19/25 111 108/84 2.8/11.3 473
Citroen C5 2.2 HDi + 4/2179/136 2270 10.2 14.1/22.8 44/170 22/26.5 109 99/77 3.2/10.7 462
FIat Multipla 1.9 JTD 4/1910/110 2740 13.3 19.2/27.5 43.5/170 18/28.5 106 114/83 2.8/11.1 399
Mazda 6 TS2 2.0D+ 4/1998/136 2300 9.8 13.0/24.4 45/176 17/25.5 112 102/74 2.7/11.5 467
Peugeot 406 2.0 HDi 4/1997/110 2400 12.0 15.6/23.1 48.5/147 16/29 113 98/75 3.1/11.5 460
Volvo S60 D5 5/2401/163 2390 8.5 10.9/17.7 43.5/171 12/25.5 115 98/73 3.0/11.5 458
  ~ 36.5 in 6th  + performance figures from estate car version
© The Automobile Association Limited 2019