- Beautifully composed on the motorway
- Silent start-up gives the car more of a premium feel
- Quality interior with plenty of on-board technology
- Boot space is compromised because of the battery pack
- Expensive initial outlay
- Official fuel figures are unachievable
It’s a fact that diesel-gate has taken its toll on the industry with many buyers looking for alternative fuel options. With that in mind the temptation of one of the most popular fleet cars with hybrid technology could be the perfect solution.
The Mondeo Hybrid four-door saloon promises low emissions and excellent fuel economy and is available in saloon or estate guise.
Actually, the Mondeo Hybrid has been on sale since 2014 and was Ford’s first petrol/hybrid model in Europe even though they had been making them for a number of years and sold more than half a million cars in the US.
It brings with it a whole host of financial benefits including a low benefit-in-kind taxation rate for business owners. But that incentive has decreased slightly under the more stringent WLTP ratings set-up.
But the hybrid model does start at a rather hefty £26,395 before any optional extras are introduced, so there are pros and cons to this model.
On The Road
When it comes to the technology behind the Mondeo Hybrid, there are two electric motors – one that supports the specially-developed 2.0-litre 187PS petrol engine in driving the wheels – and the other that enables regenerative charging to the 1.4kWh lithium battery which is positioned behind the rear seats. Regenerative braking can capture up to 90 per cent of the energy usually lost during braking and this is used to replenish the battery levels.
It may sound rather complicated but the system runs very efficiently and smoothly and the car can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and redlines at 116mph.
Out on the open road, there is ample power on tap at all times and as one would expect, the Mondeo Hybrid cruises effortlessly at motorway speeds eating up the miles.
On the downside, the Mondeo Hybrid has a six-speed CVT gearbox and this can be a little jumpy and slow to respond at times. If driven with a little respect, the car reacts well. If driven in a more aggressive manner, it seems to adopt a ‘go-slow’ policy whereby there is little rapid power to speak of.
There no disputing the fact that the Ford Mondeo is viewed as a comfortable car to clock up the business miles. It has always had impeccable motorway manners and the hybrid version is no different. It doesn’t seem to have the same impressive reaction responses as the diesel-driven Mondeo when quick bursts of power are needed, but it is still a very easy car to drive.
The road holding is confident and there is no sign of any body sway through tight corners. The car is beautifully balanced and composed through long sweeping bends and the stop start technology is effective in busy town centres.
The steering responses are crisp with ample driver feedback, but the car couldn’t exactly be described as dynamic. The hybrid model also gains a little weight over other Mondeo models but that isn’t detrimental to the ride and handling, which just like Mondeo over the decades, has always impressed.
Unlike some other rival models with hybrid technology, the Mondeo does not have any EV-only setting and the car automatically adopts the correct balance between battery and engine power.
Our test car was supplied in Titanium spec and was generously kitted out with all the latest on-board technology and infotainment systems. And like the Mondeo line-up, the hybrid model is very easy on the eye with its sleek streamlining, LED daytime running lights, sculpted bonnet, rear privacy glass and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The interior is modern and has an upmarket feel to it thanks to 10-way powered seats made from premium leather upholstery. The SYNC 3 connectivity system is easy to operate and there’s plenty of other creature comforts to explore along the way.
When cruising along at 70mph on motorways, the Mondeo Hybrid is a very nice place to be. The cabin is well insulated against road surface, engine or wind noise and the recently revised suspension system does an excellent job of smoothing out the rougher road surfaces.
However, leave the motorway and hit the B roads and it’s a different story. Under heavy acceleration, the hybrid system and the CVT transmission seem to struggle and the issue is accentuated because normally the car is so beautifully quiet.
Then with slower stop start city centre driving, it all becomes very civilised again with calmer acceleration and braking to suit the conditions.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting a comfortable driving position is a simple process thanks to the 10-way power-adjustable seats and a fully adjustable steering wheel. In fact, comfort is an area where this car truly excels. The leather upholstery is upmarket in its design and the cabin has a modern lay-out with all controls, dials and readouts ideally positioned for ease of use.
There is a 10-inch tft screen that replaces the analogue readout dials and there are plenty of hints regarding the hybrid technology. For example, the instrumentation can be customised to display facts about the power distribution and regeneration data. There are quirky green efficiency leaves that grow in the display to indicate how efficiently you are driving or you can opt for more traditional readouts once the novelty wears off.
Mondeo Hybrid also has lots of techno treats to explore including full smartphone connectivity via the SYNC 3 system complete with an eight-inch colour touchscreen, a Sony DAB radio, multi-colour ambient lighting, variable heated front seats, dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and plenty more bedsides.
Space & Practicality
The Mondeo Hybrid is a spacious car for front and rear passengers with plenty of leg room to stretch out. Two six footers can sit comfortably in the back of the car, or three if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders.
However, the boot space is reduced compared to the standard Mondeo because the battery is located behind the rear seats. This means the capacity is down to just 383 litres of luggage – a reduction of 133 litres on other Mondeo saloon versions.
On the upside, there are plenty of convenient storage options scattered throughout the car, including a practically-sized glovebox, central bin, cup holders, door pockets and a tray in front of the gear lever.
A car such as the Ford Mondeo needs to be able to grind out the business miles during the working week, but then needs to double up as a family vehicle at weekends and it succeeds on both counts. While the boot capacity has been reduced slightly (along with a smaller fuel tank), the Mondeo Hybrid is still practical and comfortable enough for family getaways.
There is more good news on the practicality front too with an estate model being introduced this year.
It would be fair to say that, for good reason, the majority of customers who opt for a Mondeo select a diesel power source as it’s the perfect choice for the long miles they clock up every year. While the hybrid version offers some financial benefits due to its lower CO2 figures, there are plug-in hybrid models out there that offer far more rewarding savings.
That said though, the Mondeo Hybrid (which is similar in its set-up to the Toyota Prius) does have plenty of benefits.
There are just two trim levels called Titanium and Vignale, which are both at the more expensive end of the Mondeo scale. We tested the Titanium model priced at £26,395 although a few optional extras bumped the asking price up to £27,730, which is quite expensive for the blue oval badged model.
We also tested the car before the new more stringent WLTP system was introduced and the official combined fuel economy was set at 67.3mpg with carbon emissions of 99g/km. Move forward a few months and under WLTP regulations, those figures are not quite so appealing with a combined 58.9mpg and CO2 of 108g/km.
The other slightly bad news is that no matter how carefully we drove the car, we could barely get over the mid-to-high-40s mark on the fuel efficiency front.
However, the new CO2 figure would still qualify for a 25 per cent Benefit in Kind rating for business drivers.
The first year Vehicle Excise Duty (or road tax) would be £145 reducing to £135 the following year.
And the insurance rating for the Mondeo Hybrid is Group 27.
Quality & Reliability
The Mondeo Hybrid appeals to a niche market so volume sales are low in the UK. With that in mind, it’s difficult to accurately assess how reliable the car is. The interior looks really upmarket and the upholstery is beautifully designed and feels sturdy.
All the switchgear and infotainment systems are neatly integrated into the dashboard and look and feel like they will survive the test of time.
The Mondeo Hybrid comes with a three year, 60,000-mile warranty.
Safety & Security
When new Mondeo was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating it secured a maximum five stars.
And because the front-wheel-drive Mondeo Hybrid is only available in high-end trims called Titanium and Vignale, they come fully loaded with all the latest technology and safety kit.
Our test car featured a number of advanced safety systems to help protect occupants, pedestrians and help prevent accidents occurring in the first instance.
Features include autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, lane keeping aid, anti-lock brakes, traction control, automatic lights with high beam assist, a full suite of airbags, front fog lights and stability control.