2008 Ford Mondeo Ghia Review

2008 ford mondeo ghia review

Before emailing a rave review of the new Ford Mondeo, I wanted to understand why an automaker with such great products in the Eurozone has such a mediocre reputation. Posing as a potential purchaser, I phoned to make an appointment for a test drive. Employee of Dealership A: "We have one Mondeo you could try out, but we are booked for the next ten days, I think." Sales guy at Dealership B: "Sorry, I just started here six months ago, the guy in charge is on sick leave.” His stand-in? On vacation. “Please call again in a week or so.” See? It’s NOT all about the product. But I digress…

The Ford dealer experience is miserable, but the Mondeo’s visual delights are marvelous. For me, a handsome car needs three basic characteristics: strength, cleanliness and character. The Mondeo nails all three. The four-door Ford’s long wheelbase (much longer than, for example, the Passat) accentuates its wide, muscular stance. Its sleek headlamps and taut taillights render it instantly recognizable; the detailing is flawless. It's just what America needs: a non-bland, better-proportioned, more modern Taurus.

The Mondeo’s interior may not be a high-style zone, but it’s a satisfying, well-thought-out piece of work. Plastics invite intimacy, sound good to a rapped knuckle, smell fine and are aligned to the dot. The ergonomics excel, in that thoroughly unobjectionable way you expect from a carefully-considered mass market appliance.

On the downside, from a back-seat perspective, the middle console looks like it has labia (not an association its designer should be trying to achieve when there’s a stubby gear shifter in view). The cabin’s fake-aluminum steering wheel buttons look cheesier than Cheddar. And the three-quarters rear visibility is poor. But let's concentrate on the fact that the Mondeo has impressive (above E-class, better-than-Fusion) space for five, and a giant trunk to boot.

In case you were wondering, the Ford Mondeo is a front wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle. The sedan completely violates the pistonhead principle that FWD’s packaging and weight advantages exact a major penalty from the driving dynamics.

My tester holstered Ford's 2.0-liter, 140hp diesel. The oil burner is an extremely refined unit, significantly smoother than the highly respected Volkswagen TDI. On paper, the diesel Mondeo’s 10.6 second zero to sixty sprint time seems, as the French are wont to say, insupportable. But the Mondeo serves-up a wave of torquey thrust from 1800 – 4500 rpm that helps Mondeo man maintain momentum. Using the standard light-action six-speed manual, I never ran out of gears. No matter how hard I thrashed the powerplant, I never saw less than 29 mpg. At a more sedate pace, I averaged 35 mpg.

Thanks to Ford chassis guru Richard Parry-Jones, the Mondeo’s handling is a revelation. Accelerating briskly from rest on a dusty back road, there was a bit of scamper from the inside front tire. But the Mondeo’s electronic damper control system, which pitches the car forward on low-traction surfaces, gave great grip. During a pedal-to-the-floor exit from a roundabout, the feedback-intensive tiller produced a slight tug and then… nothing.

When I lifted off the gas pedal in a high-speed curve, and then floored it, the Mondeo remained unruffled, with no nonsense from the electronic stability Nanny. While we’re at it, how about a 90-degree merge and full-thrust run into an uneven-camber secondary road? Well, in this case, the steering wheel needed a bit of coercive correction, and, to paraphrase Dorothy, I have a feeling we’re not in a BMW anymore. But the Mondeo is inherently fun, agile, and composed– aside from the snatchy brakes (the bane of so many contemporary cars).

The Mondeo rides well, too. On the freeway, over secondary undulations, the Mondeo is bettered by world-leading softies from Lexus, Mercedes and Citroen. In all other conditions, the Ford product rides like the low, long-wheelbase, wide car that it is: well-controlled, comfortable and calm. On a quiet Autobahn morning, I found myself passing other cars as if they were standing still. I peeked at the odometer and saw an indicated 135 mph. Bliss.

So what is the Mondeo? We could quote Germany's famously chauvinistic Auto,Motor & Sport, who said the Ford family sedan is better than the C-Class Mercedes. But let's just say it's a lower-profile, less-roomy Ford S-Max with slightly better handling and somewhat better fuel economy.

But more than that, the Ford Mondeo is exactly what its American admirers believe it to be: four-wheeled proof that Ford can build a world-class, value-priced car that satisfies both practical and emotional desires. So why haven’t they? That’s a discussion for another time. For now, I’ll say this: if Ford can’t send the Mondeo stateside at a profit, they should send the people who built it. And if they build it, customers will come. It’s as simple as that.

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  • Gururajachar Gururajachar on Sep 24, 2008

    I would like to buy new ford mondeo model, can any body guide me about its adv/dis advantages... thanks

  • Paulica Paulica on Aug 23, 2010

    In Europe, 2 or 3 months ago, Mondeo received new engines: 1.6 liter ecoboost (160 BHP ), 2 liter ecoboost ( 203 or 240 BHP ). The 2 liter Diesel has now 163 BHP and the 2.2 liter Diesel has now 200 BHP. Now, it's true that the prices are skyrocketing. In my opinion the Europe cars are better then NA cars. Even if the USD is now closer to EUR the price is still a big problem. But like one of the readers here said :"Americans needs cheap affordable transportation right now!" . Anyway I have the opportunity to see a Mondeo underneath. Belive me, it's built like a tank. On the front axle he has some parts designed for Transit. The rear axle is specially designed and seems to be almost indestructible. Bottom line, with this version of Mondeo, Ford Werke AG exceed much of the expectations. I don't know why Ford Europe has somewhere near 1 bil $ profit and Ford America has near 12 bil $ loses. What do you think?

  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
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