Ford was late to the hybrid party in Europe. It’s arrived now with the Ford Mondeo Hybrid, but has it been worth the wait?
It looks good on paper. The new Ford Mondeo range of saloons, hatchbacks and estates has been well received. The car itself is sleekly styled, spacious, comfortable, refined and full of tech.
The Mondeo Hybrid, which has been selling in America for a few years as the Ford Fusion Hybrid, features a 2.0-litre petrol engine, two electric motors, a high voltage 35kW lithium-ion battery and a CVT gearbox.
The battery, which is fitted behind the rear seat and adds 42kg to the vehicle, stores and supplies the power for one of the electric motors. The other electric motor utilises regenerative braking to charge the battery.
It should also be noted that the battery eats into the boot space (the capacity drops from 550 to 382 litres) and it’s only available as a saloon and you can’t fold the rear seats down.
So far so good-ish.
I tested the Ford Mondeo Hybrid Titanium 2.0 Ti-VCT with a basic price of £25,295, though extras including Active Park Assist, Frozen White paint and “inflatable rear seatbelts” took the price up to £26,170.
On paper, its green credentials look admirable. Fuel economy is rated at 67.3mpg combined and it emits 99g/km of CO2.
Something around 50mpg is pretty achievable and I managed it fairly consistently on a mixture of roads. That said, the reality is that most of the time you’re using the 2.0-litre petrol engine, though obviously it’s getting help from the electric motors too.
And it’s not always relaxed motoring either because the CVT gearbox seems to send the engine revs buzzing, even if it does settle down once you’re cruising.
The Mondeo Hybrid is totally automatic. It decides when it switches from electric to petrol and vice versa – and seamlessly it is too.
However, if you’re like me, you like to be able to enjoy the benefit of an electric motor at the press of a button. No option here.
Consequently, the only way to remain in electric-mode in a town or city, for instance, is to gingerly accelerate and even then, keep to extremely low speeds, or else the petrol motor kicks in.
What’s more, the all electric range is probably nearer a few miles.
There is a plug-in version in the States and I can’t help feeling it’s the better option, as it offers a larger battery range and allows you to enjoy proper electric motoring.
The saloon isn’t the best looking version either, while the extra weight combined with 16-inch eco-tyres upsets the Mondeo’s fine handling.
Ultimately, if it’s an economical Mondeo you’re after, you’re probably better off going for two Mondeo hatchbacks – the Style 1.5 Duratorq TDCi 120PS ECOnetic (£21,395), which boasts a claimed 79mpg and lower CO2 emissions, or even the Titanium 2.0 Duratrq TDCi (63mpg) for £25,245.
Verdict: The Ford Mondeo Hybrid is a decent first attempt, but ultimately disappointing. There are better hybrids out there.