Ford Mondeo – The end of an era

01 Apr 2021 by Lisa Simm

Ford has recently announced that it plans to end the production of the Ford Mondeo in 2022. It cites a growing decline in popularity of the saloon as the main reason. As a result, it plans to focus its attention on the electrification of its growing SUV and hatchback sectors instead.

The news is sparking much sadness in the automotive world, where the Mondeo is a legendary model with over five million sales in Europe.

So to give it the send-off it deserves, we look back at how it all began for Ford’s iconic Mondeo.

All in a name

We begin our history of the Mondeo before its conception with the Ford Sierra. The Sierra had been around for about 11 years and was starting to date, so Ford needed a replacement model. The result was the very first Mondeo.

The name of its Sierra replacement was a play on the Latin ‘Mundus’, which means the world. Ford’s idea was to create its very first ‘world car’ known as the Mondeo.

The first Mondeo

After what was alleged to be one of the most car development programmes undertaken, the Ford Mondeo was launched in the UK in 1993. The investment paid off almost instantly. The Mondeo won the prestigious title of European Car of the Year in 1994. Judges praised its sleek looks, excellent handling, reasonable pricing and strong engine range.

Moving away from its predecessor, the Sierra, the Mondeo offered a radical shift from rear to front-wheel drive. Furthermore, it was the first production car to get a driver airbag in all its models to make it safer.

The original Mondeo was available in CLX, GLX, Si and the exclusive Ghia trim. The Ghia trim was Ford’s foray into the luxury car market and featured trademark wood trim on the centre console.

The first Mondeo options list may read like the spec we would now expect. But at the time, the options of air-conditioning, side airbags, traction control, a trip computer and cruise control were all pretty luxury functions.

What’s more, if you opted for the automatic transmission model, you got the novelty of an electronic switch so you can choose between ‘Economy’ and ‘Sport’. It was the beginning of a now-familiar drive mode selector.

Ford Mondeo MK II

In 1996, the Mondeo got a substantial facelift. Re-designed front and rear bumpers, new headlight and taillight clusters, wings and a bonnet give it an all-new dynamic look.

The Mark II Mondeo is the first Mondeo to feature a sat-nav system. By today’s standards, it was basic. However, at the time, it was state-of-the-art and demonstrated Ford’s push to be more high-end.

The Mondeo got a boost when Tony Blair referred to the ‘Mondeo man’ as being at the heart of Britain in his 1996 Labour Party Conference Speech. The phrase has stuck, and ever since, the Mondeo has been seen as a model of the people.

In 1997, Ford introduced a further improvement to safety, including side-impact beams, three-point seatbelts, headrests and a bigger driver airbag.

’97 is also the year Ford introduced a performance-focused ST24 model. It was fitted with a 2.5-litre Duratec V6 with 170bhp, making it capable of 0-62mph in eight seconds.

The Mondeo continues to impress being named one of the top 10 most reliable cars in Britain in 1997 and is the bestselling British car in 1998.

MK III Ford Mondeo

After three years on the road, the Mondeo underwent a refresh. The MK III model quickly gained recognition in Britain and is named ‘Car of the Year’ by What Car? and Top Gear motoring publications.

The third-generation Ford Mondeo gains praise for being ‘all things to all men’. With praise for high safety levels, superior interior and excellent handling.

With a longer wheelbase, the model offers better onboard space, especially for rear passengers. Meanwhile, a whopping 500-litre boot capacity is an incredible boost to practicality.

Inside is more upmarket, offering little luxuries people may not have expected from Ford.

The MK III Mondeo is one of the first Ford models to feature the Intelligent Protection System. The system helped the Mondeo reach a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

A Ford Mondeo ST220 model brings something sportier for those looking to enjoy a bit more fun behind the wheel. With a meaty three-litre V6 engine, the ST220 produces 226bhp, reaches a top speed of 151mph and can manage 0-62mph in just 7.6 seconds.

Styling-wise, the Mondeo ST220 featured a bespoke ST body kit with a new sports grille, redesigned front and rear bumpers and twin stainless steel exhaust pipes. On the inside, the third-generation Mondeo benefits from a full leather interior, ABS, electronic stability control and electronically adjustable Recaro seats.

Ford Mondeo MK IV

By 2007 the Mondeo was firmly established on UK road, so it is no surprise the fourth-generation was welcomed with open arms by buyers already sold on its impressive qualities.

The launch of the Mondeo was nothing short of spectacular. It featured in the opening sequence of Casino Royale driven by Daniel Craig, which did wonders to enhance the desirability.

The new model came in various trims, including Edge, Zetec, Titanium, Titanium X and Titanium X Sport trim and brought a wealth of equipment. With new luxuries available, it was able to take on more high-end brand like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The fourth-generation Mondeo was also the first to receive a five-star Euro NCAP rating thanks to additional airbags, standard fit traction control and electronic stability control. Other driver-assistance features included blind-spot warning systems, lane departure warning and automatic high beam.

It also impressed motoring experts claiming the 2012 WhatCar? award for the UK’s Greenest Family Car and Best Family Car.

Ford Mondeo MK V

By 2014, it was time for another change for the Mondeo. So along came the introduction of the fifth-generation model.

A hybrid engine option brings new efficiencies with CO2 emissions as low as 92g/km. However, an EcoBlue diesel remains the popular choice for high-mileage drivers and petrol for those making shorter trips.

Behind the wheel, the Mondeo has incredible handling and is stable yet agile even at higher speeds making it the ideal partner for motorway journeys.

A new range of trims and equipment brings new possibilities. Equipment from base models is extensive, including the likes of front and rear parking sensors, a quick-clear windscreen and an eight-inch infotainment system. Other features on offer as you head up the trim range include a rear-view camera and a 10-way electrically adjustable front seat.

However, it is the introduction of the Vignale model that brings a whole new Ford experience, with luxury features and enhanced aftersales care.

Plus, when it comes to safety, the Mondeo is available with automatic emergency braking, emergency assistance, inflatable outer rear seatbelts, blindspot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and traffic sign recognition. So you can feel confident in your commute.

Get your Ford Mondeo now

Unfortunately, despite incredible style, handling and equipment sales of the Ford Mondeo have dwindled over the past few years. This is due to the growing popularity of SUVs. In fact, in 2020, 39 per cent of Ford’s sales were made of SUVs and crossovers, an eight per cent increase from 2019. So it seems for now we will be waving goodbye to the Mondeo in Europe next year.

But don’t worry as if you are keen to get behind the wheel of the incredible Mondeo there is still plenty of time to order your brand new model. Get in touch with your local Stonacre Ford branch to find out more.

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