Ford Mondeo vs Vauxhall Insignia

Revised Vauxhall Insignia hopes to regain the edge in the family saloon class. Can it beat Ford’s evergreen Mondeo?

Sales of traditional five-door hatches have taken a battering of late. Family buyers have turned their back on the class in favour of practical SUVs, while company and fleet users have migrated upmarket to the compact executive sector.

Ford Mondeo in-depth review

Vauxhall Insignia in-depth review

This means models such as the Insignia have struggled to make an impact on the sales charts. However, rather than roll over and give up, Vauxhall’s updated the car with a fresh look, more kit, lower emissions and competitive pricing. Here, we try the 2.0 CDTi Design Nav in clean ecoFLEX guise – and we’ve pitched it against its arch rival, the Mondeo.

The big Ford is getting on a bit. It’s due to be replaced next year, but in the meantime a range of great-value Business Edition models has been launched. We try the Zetec version, powered by Ford’s cleanest diesel: the 1.6-litre TDCi ECOnetic.

These rivals have always fought a close battle, but can the updates give the Insignia the edge?

On the motorway

These cars are designed to be relaxing motorway cruisers, and this is where the Insignia excels. It has a more comfortable ride than the Mondeo, even with our car’s optional 18-inch wheels, and it’s quieter, too, with less engine noise in the cabin. The powerful diesel doesn’t need to be worked as hard as the Ford’s smaller engine, which helps economy, while the 70-litre fuel tank gives a range of nearly 800 miles.

Tax costs

A cleaner engine puts the Insignia ahead for company car tax. It falls into the 14 per cent bracket, and higher-rate earners will face an annual bill of £1,108. This is £350 less than for the Ford, which sits in the 17 per cent tax band.

Equipment

Although sat-nav and climate control are included on both of these cars, there are some glaring omissions from the Insignia’s kit list. For example, you only get wind-up windows in the back (powered operation is an optional extra, at £170), while front and rear parking sensors will set you back a further £395. However, as there’s a £1,646 difference in list price between the two cars, you can specify these options and still come in well under the Mondeo’s asking price.

1st place - Vauxhall

The facelifted Insignia marks a new start for Vauxhall’s family car. Updated engines, a revised interior and a new pricing strategy aim to revive its fortunes in this hard-fought market. As before, it’s available as a hatchback, saloon or Sports Tourer estate, with a long list of trim levels available.

In this first test of the revised Insignia, we try the entry-level Design with satellite navigation. It’s powered by the most efficient engine in the range – the 138bhp 2.0 CDTi ecoFLEX – which emits 98g/km of CO2. It’s not as entertaining to drive as the Mondeo, but in terms of comfort, style, emissions, performance and value, the Insignia is very attractive.

While the touchpad controller takes some getting used to, and the touchscreen is arguably better to use, the slightly superior kit list and extended options earn the car victory.

2nd place - Ford

It’s the old-stager in the hatchback class, but the Mondeo still has plenty going for it. Ford has consistently refreshed the car, and the last round of updates earlier this year saw the introduction of two new Business Edition models that maximise the amount of equipment you get for your cash.

Further up the range is the Titanium version, but here we’ve lined up the Zetec Business Edition because it has similar kit to the Insignia, while the 1.6-litre TDCi is the closest engine for emissions. But still, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Mondeo is an old car. The interior is the biggest giveaway, with its blocky displays, hard plastics and dated switchgear.

Add poor emissions and performance, and the sharp driving dynamics and big discounts can’t make up for the Ford’s shortcomings.

   Insignia 2.0 CDTi (140) ecoFLEX Design NavMondeo 1.6 TDCi Zetec Business Edition
       
On the road price/total as tested£19,849/£20,644£21,495/£22,140
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£7,801/39.3%£8,063/37.5%
Depreciation  £12,048 £13,432 
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£554/£1,108£729/£1,458
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,467/£2,445£1,647/£2,746
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost18/£377/A/£017/£340/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£189/£240/£180£390 (3yrs/60k)
       
Length/wheelbase 4,842/2,737mm4,784/2,850mm
Height/width  1,498/1,856mm1,500/1,886mm
Engine  4cyl in-line/1,956cc4cyl in-line/1,560cc
Peak power/revs 138/4,000 bhp/rpm113/3,600 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 350/1,750 Nm/rpm270/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel70 litres/£9570 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)530/1,470 litres540/1,460 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,538/622/1,700kg1,496/659/1,600kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.4 metres/N/A11.6 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60k)/1yr AA3yrs (60k)/1yr Ford
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 (1yr)/40412,500 (1yr)/781
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.26th/18th 23rd/29th 
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars94/79/40/71/505/04/2002 
       
0-60/30-70mph 9.5/8.8 secs 11.4/11.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.2/7.4 secs 4.9/6.9 secs 
50-70mph in 5th/6th 8.1/13.2 secs8.2/11.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph127mph/1,600rpm118mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph49.0/35.2/9.0m48.6/35.6/9.7m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph69/46/60/67dB63/46/59/70dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range51.2/11.3/788 miles45.6/10.0/702 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined62.8/88.3/76.3mpg55.4/74.3/65.7mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined13.8/19.4/16.8mpl12.2/16.3/14.5mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket148/98g/km/14%166/112g/km/17%
       
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/£395/£300Seven/yes/yes/no
Auto box/tyre monitor/stab/cruise ctrl£550^/£110/yes/yesNo/no/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£1,045/£695Yes/no/no 
Met paint/adaptive xenons/keyless go£525/£890/£190£545/no/no 
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/£100/yes
       

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