Ford Mondeo Estate

Our current favourite family carrier remains a tempting choice

We're big fans of the Ford Mondeo, and that includes the Estate. The car you see here is our option-laden long-term Titanium X Sport – in standard form it costs £28,240. But you needn’t pay this much: the Titanium gets the same diesel and practical body for £24,240 – or £745 more than the Insignia.

Smart alloy wheels, a sporty bodykit and lower suspension give the Ford a purposeful stance, but lesser models also look the part. The extended roofline of the load carrier is neatly integrated, and to our eyes the Estate is more stylish than the saloon or hatch – not something you can say about the Vauxhall.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Ford Mondeo

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The Ford is 78mm shorter than its rival, but 30mm wider, and it looks bigger than the Vauxhall on the outside. Climb inside and it backs up this impression. While the Insignia’s extended roofline answers criticism of restricted headroom in the hatch, the wider Ford has more shoulder space in the rear and superior legroom.

Crucially, its boot is bigger, too. With the back seats in place it has only two litres more space to play with, but fold them and the Mondeo enjoys a far greater advantage – although the load area’s floor isn’t flat.

Up front, the Ford is second best, as the Sports Tourer’s classier cabin has higher-quality materials and a more attractive layout. And Titanium trim misses out on our car’s leather upholstery and gloss black centre console – the latter is replaced by a dubious wood-effect finish.

Hit the road and the Ford edges ahead. The 2.2-litre engine is bigger and more powerful than the Vauxhall’s, and has 40Nm more torque. You can feel the difference, as the TDCi delivers stronger mid-range punch, so it’s easier to overtake slower traffic in, plus quicker off the line. The Ford also has stronger brakes, plus its steering is more finely weighted and responsive.

Our Titanium X Sport features tweaked, sportier suspension, giving sharp responses without compromising ride comfort – and we know lesser models are poised and composed on twisty roads.

The Insignia is smoother on the motorway, but the Mondeo is just as refined, and its more powerful engine is suited to cruising. In our hands it was more economical, too, returning 33mpg at the pumps. But the trade-off is the Ford’s higher CO2 output – enough to place it in a higher road tax band in this month’s new groupings.

Depreciation is another concern. The Titanium is predicted to hold on to 32.3 per cent of its value after three years and 30,000 miles; the Insignia should retain 36.1 per cent. Choose our Titanium X Sport trim and you stand to lose even more.

Details

Chart position: 2WHY: Fast, practical and good-looking, the Mondeo is the family estate to beat.

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