Ford Mondeo

10 May, 2005 4:51pm

Popular with business users for its reliability could the Ford Mondeo be the ideal second-hand buy?

Ever since the first model was introduced in 1993, the Ford Mondeo has been recognised as a great-value used buy. The current-generation car built on that in a big way, offering superb handling, solid build quality, generous equipment and a roomy interior.

But the lack of a prestige image means new Mondeos are generally bought by fleets and business users, so they've normally covered huge mileages by the time they hit the second-hand market. This isn't necessarily a problem, although you have to check carefully. Do your homework and you could get one of the great automotive bargains.

Prices

For an early 1.8-litre car with 160,000 miles on the clock, expect to pay about £2,000 - but prices rise to £17,500 for a 6,000-mile six-month-old ST220. The best buy is a low-mileage year-old 2.0 TDCi, which will set you back around £10,000 - if you can find one. Supply of 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol-powered cars is plentiful, though, with three-year-old models that have covered 50,000 miles readily available for £5,000-£6,000.

What to look for

Mondeo depreciation is savage, but before buying nearly new, consider pre-reg deals - a third off list is common. Avoid unrefined 2.0 TD, from 2000-2001. Estates are huge, while even heavier depreciation makes saloons bargains.

Checklist

  • Wheels: inspect all the rims closely - if the car has a large number of scrapes, it may have been neglected. We would advise looking elsewhere; the damage could have led to uneven tyre wear or suspension problems, which would be costly to rectify.
  • Doors: check the underside of all doors for rust. If any chips here are left untreated, they will trap water and corrode the inside of the door panel. Treatment and a respray for a large area can work out very expensive.
  • Engine: the 130bhp TDCi engine can suffer from starting problems, uneven idling, misfires between 1,800 and 2,000rpm and cutting out. An ECU update is the usual cure. Also, check for lots of smoke and high oil consumption; turbo oil seals normally to blame.
  • Seals: front and rear door seals often fail after relatively low mileages, causing lots of wind noise and water intrusion, and making the doors difficult to close. Expect to pay around £30 per door for a replacement seal, including fitting.
  • Suspension: at the rear, the subframe bushes often wear out, resulting in excessive noise and wheel and suspension movement. As well as making the car unpleasant to drive, this will damage the subframe. Expect to pay £300-plus to replace the subframe and bushes.

Recalls

August 2001: Water ingress into speed control unit (Oct 2000-July 2001 cars).
October 2001: Parking brake ratchet concern (Nov 1999-May 2000 cars).
April 2002: Risk of parking brake failure (Oct 2000-July 2001 cars).
July 2002: Risk of battery cable chafing (June 2000-May 2002 cars).
Feb 2003: Risk of power-steering pressure hose chafing (Mar-Nov 2002 cars).
April, August 2004: Yaw rate sensor failure, causing unexpected braking (Feb-March and June-July 2004 cars).

Running costs

Low service costs mean Mondeos are cheap to maintain. Even if you have a scrape, repairs won't be expensive: a new (painted) front bumper costs £290, with replacement alloys from £125 (16-inch) to £170 (18-inch). A new windscreen is £113.40, but £251 if it's heated.

Service intervals: 12,500 miles/12 months for all variants, apart from Oct 2000-Jul 2001 2.0 TDs, which are 10,000 miles/12 months.

Service cost: 12,500 miles - 1.8/2.0 petrol £151, 2.5/3.0 petrol £164, 2.0 TDCi £225; 37,500 miles - 1.8/2.0 £225, 2.5/3.0 £240, TDCi £226; 60,000 miles - 1.8/2.0 £237, 2.5/3.0 £283, TDCi £226.

Owner comment

David Hall bought his eight-month-old 1.8 Zetec for £9,000. He does 16,000 miles annually, and loves the Mondeo's cheap servicing and comfort. "My only gripe is that the boot is too small," says David, from Kidderminster, Worcs.

Verdict

If the Mondeo wore a prestige badge, everyone would want one - but as it carries the blue oval logo, some buyers look elsewhere. Yet the family Ford is one of the most reliable cars in its class, as well as one of the best to drive. With the promise of low running costs and back-up from a large dealer network, it will be straightforward to maintain, and from the thousands on the market, there are plenty of good examples. Choose an estate for one of the most capable carriers money can buy.

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