Ford Mondeo

From Academic Kids

The Ford Mondeo, launched in 1993, was billed as Ford's 'world car', and was also sold in North America as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique. The name Mondeo is derived from the Latin for world, mundus.

1995 Mondeo 1.8TD Verona - Mk1
Ford Mondeo
Manufacturer:Ford Motor Company
Class:Midsize car (C/D-Class)
Body Styles:5-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
4-door sedan
Engines:Ford Zetec 1.6, 1.8, 2.0
Ford Duratec 1.8, 2.0, 2.5 V6, 3.0 V6
Ford Endura-D 1.8TD
Ford Duratorq 2.0TD
Ford Duratorq 2.2TD
Transmissions:Ford MTX75 (Manual)
Ford CD4E (Automatic)
Length:Mk 3 4731–4804 mm
Width:Mk 3 1958 mm
Height:Mk 3 1429–1481 mm
Curb weight:Mk 3 1895–2335 kg
Predecessors:Ford Sierra
Ford Telstar
Ford Versailles
Ford Royale
Also known as:Ford Contour
Mercury Mystique
Shares components with:Ford/Mercury Cougar
Mazda 6
Jaguar X-Type
Similar models:Renault Laguna
Opel/Vauxhall Vectra
Peugeot 406
VW Passat
Toyota Avensis
Nissan Primera
Honda Accord
Citroλn C5
Mazda 6
This article is part of the automobile series.


The Mondeo is produced at Ford's European plants in Germany and Belgium, as a sedan (saloon), a 5-door hatchback or a wagon (estate). It replaced the Ford Sierra in Europe, and the Ford Telstar in a large portion of Asia and other markets, while the Contour and Mercury Mystique replaced the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz in North America. Unlike the Sierra, the Mondeo is front wheel drive. Instigated in 1986, the Mondeo (or CDW27) project cost Ford dearly — at $6 billion, it was one of the most expensive new car programs ever.

The car was launched in the midst of turbulent times at Ford of Europe, when the division was bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars and had gained a reputation in the motoring press for selling products which had been designed by accountants rather than engineers. The infamous fourth-generation Escort of 1990 was the zenith of this cost-cutting/high price philosophy which was by then beginning to backfire on Ford. The Sierra had never sold as well as the all-conquering Cortina before it, its archaic engines and rear wheel drive layout were out of step technologically with the opposition, and sales were dwindling fast. Previously loyal customers were already turning to rival products and by the time of the Mondeo's launch, the future of Europe as a Ford manufacturing base was hanging in the balance. The new car had to be good, and it had to sell.


A large proportion of the incredible development cost was due to the Mondeo being a completely clean-sheet design, and used Ford's then-new Zetec engines, all-new manual and automatic transmissions and a sophisticated suspension design which gave it class leading handling and ride qualities. Subframes front and rear gave it executive car refinement. The automatic gearbox featured electronic control with sport and economy modes plus switchable overdrive. Safety was a high priority in the Mondeo design with driver's airbag, side-impact bars, pre-tensioner seat belts and ABS (higher models) as standard features. Other features for its year included adaptive damping, self-levelling suspension (top estates), traction control (V6) and heated front windscreen, branded Quickclear.

The interiors were usually well appointed, featuring velour trim, arm rest with CD and tape storage, central locking (frequently remote), electric windows (all round on higher models), electric mirrors, flat folding rear seats etc. Higher specification models had leather, trip computers, electric sunroof, CD changer and alloy wheels. On the whole, this range of features improved over the years, except between 1996 and 1998 (detailed below).

Ford briefly sold a version using the 2.0 Zetec engine and four wheel drive. The timing was not ideal though as four wheel drive had already become synonymous with large off-roader vehicles such as the Land Rover Discovery and the bottom dropped out of the saloon 4x4 market. In other words, people who would tolerate the knock on performance and economy preferred to graduate to a full blown off-roader rather than a saloon with good all-round traction. Especially since off-roaders had become so fashionable at the time.

An alternative to the Zetec engines was the Endura-D 1.8 turbo diesel. This engine had origins in the older 1.6 diesel design used in the Fiesta and elsewhere. Although not without merits, it was not seen as a strong competitor to other European diesels such as that produced by Peugeot. The contrast between this unit and the competition seemed enormous by the time the engine was dropped in 2000.

A less popular engine (for the UK) was introduced in 1994 in the form of the 2.5L 24-valve V6 Duratec unit, primarily included for markets where four-cylinder gasoline engines are not favored and are usually intended for the upmarket European buyer. This engine is characterized by its smooth operation, chain-driven cam shafts and an ability to operate using only half its 24 valves at low engine speeds. Fuel economy was reasonable, with the manual barely much worse than the automatic. This engine was originally branded 24v (when valve count was all important) but later on sold as the more glamorous sounding V6.

Mixed sales success

Missing image
Ford Mondeo LX 2.0 16V, registered in 1999 or 2000, photographed in England
Missing image
2001 Ford Mondeo M2000, Taiwanese model. The grille shape resembles the last Mercury Mystique's, but the rear end is identical to the 1996–2000 European Mondeo.

In Europe, the Mondeo was instantly declared a class leader, and was elected Car of the Year in 1994. A major facelift in 1996 saw two of the Mondeo's biggest criticisms addressed, namely its bland styling and cramped rear legroom. The lowering of specification levels around that time (e.g. air-conditioning and alloy wheels became optional on the UK Ghia models) may have indicated a desire by Ford to cut costs and recoup some of the huge sums invested in the original design. These specification levels were improved again in 1998 as the Mondeo approached replacement.

In Europe, the Mondeo is considered large, but in other markets such as the US and Australia it had not fared well, as there were larger models that had stronger brand loyalty and offered better value for money. In response to Ford's claim that it was a 'world car', Ford dealers retorted 'What world was it designed for?' The Contour and Mystique proved unpopular with US buyers, who preferred the larger local models, the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, and both the Contour and the Mystique were dropped in 2000.

There is however, another theory advanced by some motoring journalists: that because the Contour and Mystique were not created in the United States, it suffered from a lack of enthusiasm from inside Ford's North American operations. Those same theorists point to the fact that the BMW 3-series — arguably a "world car" in the sense one version is sold globally — does quite well in the United States and it is the same size as the Contour and Mystique.

The Mondeo fared badly in Australia, where, similarly, there was a much larger local model, the Falcon, and was dropped. Ford Australia has withdrawn completely from the medium-sized segment of the Australian market, arguing that it is in decline. By contrast, the model was retained by Ford New Zealand, which had more success with the new Mondeo, voted as Car of the Year in New Zealand in 2001.

New Mondeo (2000–)

The current model, slightly longer, but based on the original Mondeo's floorpan and running gear was launched in 2000. It is much more distinctive than the 1993 original, borrowing styling cues from the smaller Focus, and sporting a much more upmarket interior and higher standard of build quality influenced by the Volkswagen Passat. The Zetec engines have been replaced by the newer Duratec units.

As with its predecessor, passive safety was a major selling point of the 2000 Mondeo. With an even stronger bodyshell, Ford introduced its so-called "Intelligent Protection System" (IPS), which used an "intelligent" array of sensors based on a neural network to decide the best combination of safety devices (traditional front passenger airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags) to deploy for a given crash situation. To enhance active safety, all models were fitted with anti-lock brakes and electronic brake distribution, with electronic stability program (ESP) available as an option.

A new automatic gearbox has been added to the range called the Durashift. This unit has five gears and may be shifted manually or shifted like an automatic.

The archaic Endura-E 1.8L TD diesel engine was dropped from this series and replaced by a more sophisticated 2.0L Duratorq direct-injection (TDCi) unit with a variable geometry turbine. This clever turbine system allows a certain amount of overboost, giving an extra 10% or so of torque for short periods.

For the 2004 model year, the Mondeo was given a very mild upgrade, the new models being identifiable by the larger chrome honeycomb radiator grille. The Durashift automatic is now available with steering wheel control, while a 130 bhp (96 kW) common rail version of the Duratorq turbodiesel engine became available. The gasoline engines were revised at this stage also — the new SCI (direct-injection) version of the 1.8L Duratec engine was introduced which generates 5 hp (4 kW) more than the standard unit. In addition, equipment was upgraded across the range — cruise control and electronic air conditioning were made standard on all models. In 2005 a 2.2L Duratorq direct-injection (TDCi) with 155 hp was added.

Missing image
2004 Ford Metrostar A+, built in Germany for the Taiwanese market. Mainland China gets a similar model.

In Taiwan, a derivative of the Mondeo is called the Ford Metrostar, and has a more formal grille and lights, befitting its status as Ford's top sedan for that market. The mainland Chinese market now also gets the Mondeo with the same formal front end.


The Mondeo will be replaced by a new model, codenamed CD345, based on the Volvo P24 (S60) platform developed with Volvo in 2007. This platform will also form the basis of the replacement for the Galaxy MPV (CD340) sold in Europe, but not the new Ford Fusion in the US or the Mazda 6 in Japan. It will spawn a crossover model (also part of the CD340 project), to be built at Ford's Genk, Belgium factory. Initial reports are that the new Mondeo will adopt cues from the 427 concept shown at the North American International Auto Show in January 2003 as part of the company's new family look.


In the UK, at least, the Mondeo suffers from an image as a Repmobile or fleet car. This (and the styling) led to the original car being derided as Mundane Mondeo or Mundano. The term 'Mondeo Man' (like 'Sierra man' before it) is used by some British political commentators to describe the average middle class voter. Despite this, the engineering, drive and refinement has won critical acclaim in the motoring press who cite the car as one of the best in its class, but this may not be enough to offset the perception of the brand in a market that is more driven by image rather than engineering.

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