Tuesday, January 8, 2013
If the Ford Mondeo is brilliant nobody will notice
Which is a shame, because I reckon chances are it will be. This year the Mondeo celebrates its 20th anniversary - no really, it has been around that long - but take a look at the sharp end of the car sales charts and it's notable only by its absence. The best selling saloon in Britain is the BMW 3 Series.
This says more about the people who buy cars than it does about the cars themselves. When the Mondeo came out petrol cost 43p a litre and the sort of souls you'd see driving them hadn't bought them; they were given them by their fleet managers, which I think partly explained why the Mondeo always got such a kicking in the customer satisfaction surveys. If you buy a car privately you cherish it because you chose it carefully and paid for it with your own money; if it's a repmobile you're not going to be as bothered. Unless it breaks, in which case you - and your bosses - will be furious.
I also reckon, though I'm happy to be proven otherwise, that there's never been a bad Mondeo. Sure, there'll have been an iffy special edition or two in the car's 20 year history and obviously some are better than others but I've always thought the basic package - sensible saloon practicality and Ford value for money mixed with a dash of driving fun - has a certain something. I'll let you into a little secret; everyone I know who really knows their stuff on cars likes the Mondeo.
These days, though, the Mondeo and its ilk are an an endangered breed, and it's not just the £1.30 litre a petrol prices pushing the few remaining reps into family hatches instead. Mondeo Man these days is buying his own car with his own money, and if he isn't ploughing his hard earned into an infinitely trendier Nissan Qashqai than he's got the choice of the BMW 3 Series or the Ford Mondeo. I'll say that again; BMW or Ford. Even if the new Mondeo looks like an Aston Martin Rapide that shrank in the wash - which, amazingly, it does - it doesn't stand a chance.
Keen to find out what all the fuss is about, I've driven the new 3 Series and would like to tell you that it's rubbish and that you should buy a Mondeo instead. Only I can't, because it's brilliant.