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Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX Estate

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    2 Reviews
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      01.01.2004 06:57
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      • "It's no BMW"

      I have owned my Ford Mondeo for just over a year. It was an ex-rental car resold by Ford Direct. It had done just under 12,000 miles, and I paid £9,500 which included a warrantee and RAC cover. I?ve barely done 4,000 miles, mostly round London thought some of longer trips. Overall I am pleasantly surprised by this car. It is good to drive and very economical, yet the interior is roomy and comfortable. I recommend it unreservedly, while pointing out that you?re not paying BMW money, so don?t expect a BMW substitute. The car is the most basic model, but the specs are far from basic. It comes with air conditioning, central locking and immobiliser that will (with a little persuasion) close any windows you have left open. It doesn?t have the ?steal me? alloys that the higher-priced models have (I decided against one of these when I saw a Ghia on its rims in the dealer?s yard!). The 1.8 litre petrol engine is good considering it is the least powerful of the range, and you can push the acceleration should the need arise (but clearly we?re not in hot hatch acceleration land). I've heard that the 1.8 engine is 'sweeter' than the 2.0, but can't confirm this. The seats are good, both front and rear. The single CD player stereo is perfectly adequate too ? unless you enjoy deafening yourself and any nearby pedestrians. The boot is large enough for a big supermarket shop, and it you need more you can fold down the rear seats (which split 1/3-2/3rds). There are some neat little storage places (like the sunglasses compartment next to the interior light ? I?m still not convinced these are especially useful yet. My previous car was a Passat 1.8 turbo, and the Mondeo steering and responsiveness are better than the Passat. However, the Mondeo lacks some of the nice touches I?ve got used to on the Passat. There is a single interior light, which illuminates the rear portion of the car very poorly. Needless to say, here is also no map light ? the central light is either on or off. There are no anchor points in the boot, and though there is a boot light it?s poor. There is no way of locking the rear seats to prevent a thief getting access to the boot ? rather important if you ever leave valuables out of sight in the rear. A couple of other downsides. The skin of the car seems very thin (indeed, I believe Ford put a lot of effort into weight reduction). This means it dents very easily ? and I have a ?door ding? depression to prove this. Also the front and read plastic bumpers are much too easily damaged by contact with any car with proper metal bumpers while parking (I live in London and ?bump? parking is a way of life. I have a couple of small faults too ? the air conditioning comes on some times for no reason, and the dashboard lighting dimmer doesn?t work. UPDATE: Following a stupid accident (my first in 20+ years) that I am too embarased to recount (save to say that the only personal injury was my wounded pride), I indeed confirm that the bodywork is very easy to damage in a major way! My car pushed into a very much older car, and there was trivial damage to it - but my car spent almost a month at the repairer's. Apparently, every time they took off an (apparently) undamaged plastic panel, they would find more damage underneath.

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        28.08.2002 05:45
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        I'm always wary of being the first to write an op on something, but having very recently hired a brand new version of this car, I wanted to report back on it. I hired this car for seven days, so please bear that in mind, particularly as regards my lack of advice on long-term maintenance costs. Being a big fan of the supermini, but realising that they don't meet the space requirements of a large camping trip, I had to get an estate car. I have only ever once before driven an estate car and it was a chunky Volvo estate that did little to sway me away from supermini heaven. I viewed estate cars as fat, long tank-like motors and I slightly dreaded picking up the keys from the rental company. How wrong I was!!! I was so pleasantly surprised by this car. It manages to appear sleek, despite being bigger in length, height and width than the Volvo estate I'd driven. The LX version is the most basic in the range and yet it has loads of features. The main features are CD/radio tuner, immobiliser, remote central locking, ABS, power assisted steering and airbags (driver, passenger and side.) ++++Driver comfort and features++++ Despite being a family car designed for long journeys, the driver's seat is incredibly uncomfortable. After driving around town for a few miles on the day before the camping trip, I felt as though I needed a lumbar support for my back. The seat does incorporate a lumbar support, which you can move in and out via a dial on the side of the seat, but it was ineffective at creating a comfortable sitting position. There were no complaints from my passenger whose seat had no lumbar control function, and I wonder if this feature has made the driver's seat worse. Alternatively, it could have been because my passenger was able to shift her position regularly and perhaps her seat was as uncomfortable. Whatever, Ford, you need to sort this out! The all-round vision is superb, which makes manoeuvring this car a simple job. Once the back had been loaded up with luggage and I had to rely entirely on wing mirrors, I was grateful for the blind spot mirror incorporated into the drivers' wing mirror. The wing mirrors generally were a little on the small side however. As in my Clio, the wing mirrors are adjustable via a joystick. In the Mondeo Estate, the control is on the inside of the drivers' wing mirror. This feature is really useful for moving the passenger side wing mirror if you are in the car on your own, either for motorway use or to avoid wheel scrape when parallel parking. The driver also has access to all of the electric windows via a control panel in the door. As you'd expect, the driver can also lock the leccy windows to prevent unwanted window opening by darling children in the back of the car. Actually driving this car is a doddle. Easy gear changes and smooth pedal use make it really nice to drive. It accepts whatever you do to it. Well, okay, maybe not everything, but it will drive nicely even if you don't change gear in the right places, and generally drive it badly! ++++ Dashboard and features ++++ The dashboard and interior generally are functional but dull. Everything has a sturdy appearance. Ford has tried to make it look sporty by adding satin chrome effects to the steering wheel and gear knob. However, these two token efforts do little to improve the car's image from a family car to a sporty car and in my opinion have just ended up looking tacky. The driver's 'console' consists of three main dials (1) rev counter with digital temperature gauge below (2) speedometer with digital trip meter and accumulated miles counter (3) petrol gauge. These are clear and easy to interpret. Warning lights such as ABS and airbag are dotted about in small circles around the main dials. Functional but not remarkable looks-wise. The c entral control panel contains the cd/radio tuner, heating and air conditioning controls, analogue clock, drinks holder and boot button. Being a teagirl, being refreshed while on a long journey is important to me! In my experience though, drinks holders never work! This one however, holds a bottle or can securely, as it grips around the drink. It's slightly offset towards the passenger side and it's probably meant for passenger use. However, it is easily situated for driver use and very useful for longer journeys. The boot button means you can open the boot from the front seats. I found this helpful, as I could let others load/unload the car while I made use of the drinks holder in the front! Both the driver and passenger sun visors have mirrors on them with sliding covers. Being a girl, I have to think a driver's cosmetic mirror is useful...nevermind the traffic, how does my lippy look? ;-) Anyway, from one useless feature to another... ...above the rearview mirror/courtesy light is an inbuilt sunglasses case which flips down. It's just the sort of place I'd leave my sunnies and then forget I'd put them there. This little storage box is quite high up and discreet, but if you're organised and into having a place for everything, then this is the car for you. Between the driver and passenger seats is a storage box with a flip-up lid. The lid contains a clip to hold a pen. The storage space itself is deep but has a tray mounted halfway up that holds four cds or five cassettes (I found this a little strange seeing as the stereo had no cassette player.) I supposed the idea of this storage box was to keep cds under the tray, but putting your favourite four in the tray for ease of access. It wasn't the simplest to access while driving and no improvement on the favoured teagirl method of a wallet of cds kept on the passenger seat (or in the glovebox if you have a willing passenger to act as DJ for the jour ney.) I thought this feature was a bit chunky and pointless. Near the handbrake is a small storage space with a flip-up lid that I made into my mobile 'phone charging centre. The cigarette lighter is in there, together with a little tray where you can stand your 'phone as it charges. Others may view this as their smoking centre, which I'm sure is what it's meant for, but I'm sure the guys at Ford don't mind what you do with it! Other miscellaneous features include parking lights, high level brake light, heated front windscreen and loads of warning labels about the use of baby seats where airbags may cause them to be dangerous in an accident. I was quite impressed at Ford's attention to detail here. To avoid embarrassment on your first petrol filling occasion, you should be aware of the petrol cap release button, which is near the driver's feet next to the door. +++++ Stereo ++++ The stereo provided is a Ford 6000 CD RDS EON radio tuner and cd player, which is cd changer compatible. There's loads of clever stuff linked to RDS EON (Radio Data System - Enhanced Other Network) which means little to me, but I think basically I can say that this causes the name of the station to be displayed instead of just the frequency. Another feature I reckon you'd hardly ever use but sounds clever is PTY. When you find an FM station you like, you press PTY to show the programme type, such as rock, pop or news. Pressing the SEEK button displays other stations transmitting programmes of the same type. I think this sounds useful and is a good idea in principle, but with only a limited number of radio stations available, this is never going to be a strong feature. More useful functions include the automatic volume control facility (AVC) which means the stereo volume adjusts according to the amount of road and engine noise. For security purposes, each stereo has its unique vehicle identif ication number (VID) but more usefully, each has an anti-theft protection panel. This basically means that you can remove the radio buttons (there are six) numbered 2-5 to prevent the stereo being used. This panel is a lot smaller than those you usually get on removable front stereos. Far handier for us girls to slip into our handbags. The stereo can be controlled from the steering wheel as well as via the main buttons. The steering wheel stereo control has Vol + and Vol - buttons as well as SEEK and MODE. Overall, the stereo quality was average to good. There are six speakers that give a reasonable sound throughout. ++++ Rear seats and boot space ++++ Although this car comfortably seats three rear passengers, I put the back seats down and used all of the available space to carry a week's food for twenty people, four coolboxes, three tents and around ten rucksacks/sleeping bags. The rear seats have two passenger headrests and there are three 'proper' seatbelts instead of two plus a lapbelt. Passenger legroom is ample. If the passenger seats are in use, you can choose to make use of the incorporated roofbars for additional luggage space. Boot space on its own is huge and £200 of food shopping rolled around in there. A first-aid kit sits under a side flap, and access to the spare wheel is straightforward and clear. You can choose to leave the boot space uncovered so that things can be accessed from the boot by people sitting in the back of the car. Alternatively, the boot can be covered by a pullout vinyl cover that sits behind the rear passenger seats. This reminded me of a projector screen and the screen in its box can be removed completely when the rear seats are folded flat. However, teagirl in her best Krypton Factor mode took ten minutes to figure out exactly how it fitted back in again. ++++ Performance ++++ The technical bit of my op says that the Mondeo 1.8 LX has 125bhp and a 0-6 0 of 10.8 seconds, with a top speed of 128mph. Having said that, when full of luggage, there were occasions when I felt the car lacked power. However, once it reached 60mph on the motorway, it would easily cruise up to 90mph and felt comfortable doing so. Around town, I got beaten at traffic lights by a Clio RT (95bhp), but that was perhaps because mid way through my 'illegal street race,' I remembered I was on a youth camp and shouldn't be setting a bad example to those younger and more impressionable ;-) The car could have done with a bit of extra power in places and I think it would be worth forking out an extra £500 for the 2.0 LX version with its 145bhp and 0-60 of 9.8 seconds. The official fuel consumption figures suggest that you'll get 36.2mpg, which sounds pretty good. Sadly, I'm guessing the size of the fuel tank, but I think it's around 45 litres (currently about £30.) This gave me about 300 motorway miles plus about 100 urban miles. This surprised me as I expected a larger car to eat petrol. Full marks from me for economy. Insurance wise, this car is in insurance group 7. +++++ Key ++++ Despite having lots of features, the key isn't massive, as you sometimes get with remote central locking. The smaller key means that all of the features are a bit confusing, as they've squished three small buttons on there, illustrated by black pictures on a black key. Despite this, it's easy to operate, as the top button unlocks the car, the middle one locks it (press twice to immobilise) and the bottom one opens the boot a few inches. You also need the key to open the bonnet. I know a girl who had things stolen from under the bonnet of her Fiesta, so it seems that Ford are sitting up and taking notice of this weak point by making it more secure. The lock is covered by the front Ford badge, which you twist out of the way a la James Bond before operating the lock. As well as being a bit fiddly to operate, I did find that when turning the key in the ignition that I occasionally pressed one of the buttons on the key and locked myself in without realising! But that could just be Teagirl incompetence! ++++ And finally ++++ All in all, I found this a well-built pleasant car to drive. I was impressed by the detail of the features and the ride quality. The interior is a little bland, but for practicality and safety, this is a great family car. Teagirl being Teagirl, I reckon a bit more power is needed. But I would buy this car if I needed one this size. My supermini bubble has been burst!

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