UK CAR 
Used car review

Ford Mondeo 2.0 Zetec 2002

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The Ford Motor Company has been producing cars for all classes of people in all classes of models and throughout the years it has become a monster producer with a myriad models.
Ford Mondeo Zetec 2.0 Duratec. 
2002 Hatchback.
Ex reps with 77,000 miles.

Ford been producing the Mondeo range for many years.

Previously the Ford Sierra filled this car class and in 1992 the Mk1 was known less than affectionately as the bubble car. This was due to its 'modern' and very rounded appearance. Anything could have been described as a bubble car when you look at the models of the time, however, it caused a reactionary storm amongst Ford buying reps who promptly headed for Luton.

The Mk2 and onwards got sharper, watered-down looks, it pleased the punters but was a shame as it ruined Ford's first excitingly imaginative car for years.

Before that was the Ford Cortina which was produced in MkI, MkII, etc up to about a Mk MCXXVI allegedly.  Visually they started distinctively and then became blander and blander, resulting in strangely rocketing sales. 

So why did we not get a Mk1 Mondeo? 

If we had it would make this Mondeo we have tested a MkIII.

Maybe one day we will again see the Mk series designations, accounting for face lifts and moderate changes, which I'm sure are only a result of the marketing ploys to keep Mr Suburbia on a par with the Jones's.  It still a bit cheaper for us than changing at every reg plate switch. Hey, a MkIII's still a MkIII whether it's six months old or not.

The angst that Fords suffered from its conservative market though, does explain why the Mondeo was one of the most boring looking cars on earth when introduced.

Ford's world has changed now though, in the days of the 'Tina, the Ford was the desirable brand (at least when compared to the Morris Marina Hillman Hunter and Vauxhall Viva competition).

Nowadays the competition comes with names like Audi, VW or Skoda and velour trim, optional head restraints and a wide range of 3 or 4 bored and stroked Kent engine choices which, however, will not cut the mustard. 

The middle managers at Ford need to look sharp inside and out, go sharply and generally be honed and sharpened to perfection..

This Mondeo has a combination of curves and lines which when viewed is quite well done.

The wheel arches are pressed and shaped to give interest to a rather bland blockyside. 

The panels, however, meet each other in a manner which is rather tame and uninspiring. 

The car is subject to the designs of wind and safety and I guess this plays a large role in the overall appearance.

Unlike the Sierra of old which was indeed shaped by the wind tunnel, this Mondeo has an image improvement with its sharp-lined side panels and crescent-shaped front. 

Most of the exterior trims are colour-coded except the bump strips on the bumper which is a great idea as you don't have to run to the paint refurbishing shop every time you touch something.

Window trims and roof mouldings are satin black for that extra cool finish. Chrome is not used any more, even in the grille, apart from the Ford badge, that is.

Still, marketing modernity or not, it looks better than the previous generations.

Get beyond the exterior and open the door and inside is, well, like an Audi. The speedo is similar to the clocks used by Audi and Skoda. 

The seating is very firm in appearance and I personally prefer firm, supportive seats and these feel as good as they look. 

The aluminium finishing is very modern and looks impressive, even the door handles are metallic finished with a degree of quality not normally associated with the blue oval. 

The steering wheel, when I first viewed it, looked cheap and nasty but it did grow on me and I soon became accepting of it.

The quality is high. Ford have achieved an interesting appearance with a touch of retro. The time clock is well placed and cleanly finished.

 

 


Ford have, in the past, been guilty of selling its name and not its specifications unless you bought its Ghia models. The new Mondeo range is impressively equipped. This Zetec model is just over the half way house in the current range and is fitted with electric windows to the front and rear. Ford's sound system is now a radio CD player. 

I cannot understand makers who still insist on fitting cassettes to cars.
We don't buy tapes any more. Or do we?

Ford's effort to fit a cup holder in the front is a credit. When first viewed you doubt the size of cup than can be held in light of the front panel, but when pressed it exits and opens, utilising a very small space under the stereo, and heads left to allow use of the fab gear stick.

 

4 cylinder 2.0L 16V twin camshaft with multi point injection with 145 bhp. Very respectable and very useable - this car can achieve 133 mph.

The old Cosworth Sierra only produced 204 bhp and achieved 150 mph.
This current engine is very refined, smooth and efficient.

Graphic designers: Note the excessive use of fonts on the Engine cover

Driving the Mondeo is a pleasure. The engine will rev and go from all ranges. The torque is quite outstanding, making the drive very user-friendly. You can take off from the lights and spin the wheels easily with the traction control off and the general mid range is open road friendly too.


The engine provides its power to the front wheels through a 5 speed gearbox which is light, precise and predictable. The drive of this car is far better than its predecessor as the general operation of the front end is much better balanced.

Independent all-round suspension, disc brakes as standard on front and rear, power-assisted steering and traction control combined with the smooth running engine and drive train, make this car a mileage consumer without excess driver fatigue.


Handling is assured and the steering is quite outstanding for front wheel drive, even when it is at the point of drifting from your route to take its own detour.

The detours are, however, only small and controlled through the electronics fitted. Turn them off and you can have a reasonable amount of fun on slippery and damp road surfaces, although there is not so much power as to turn your hair white. Traction control is probably overkill at this level of performance.

 

 

Ford and all of the competitors in this class of car offer standard features such as air bags, ABS, traction, SIPS, pre tensioned seat belts, etc.

The air bag systems are excellent in this car -you are literally surrounded with electronics to protect you in the event of an impact. The seats have air bags fitted to protect you from the side, the very smart steering wheel has one in the centre, the dashboard has one fitted to restrain a passenger and they have curtain air bags fitted into the door pillars.  

A crash in this car would certainly add to your insurance premium. I wonder how much a steering wheel dashboard and front seats would cost?

If needed, however, worth every penny. Let's just hope that they do not all go off on very minor bumps.

A heated front windscreen is fitted as standard and is very welcome on those winter mornings when the car is frozen and covered with ice. The screen also allows you not to have to ventilate it by using the conventional warm air system which is very relaxing on long and late night journeys. Nice one!

Ford have managed to protect their cars from unwanted use by third parties by means of transponders in the keys. You have every chance of keeping your new Mondeo until you want it to go. The thieves are still bemused with the technology (though you may still have more trouble selling it in 5 years than getting it nicked). An alarm is fitted to protect the car's contents. 

Storage space is vast and any valuables can be very easily placed out of sight. 

The stereo is Ford fitment and not likely to attract thieves as the used value is in line with its performance, ie very small.

To buy one new you would be insane as the depreciation is colossal. Second hand, however, this is a very affordable work horse. A super all-round family car which can be driven hard for the odd occasion of simply enjoying an open road but it offers a very reliable and safe mode of transport. 

Ford have been, and will continue to be, a world leader in the car market. Parts are easily obtained and insurance is reasonable so the general maintenance of the Mondeo is somewhat predictable and affordable.

In terms of family use, it will accommodate five people comfortably and will consume a monstrous amount into its boot area. If you need more luggage it will tow an extraordinary weight of up to 1650kg.

The car tested had covered 77,000 miles in just two years but the interior is not showing any signs of wear and the gear stick, seat fabric and steering wheel are quite remarkable considering the use.
 
Mechanically, the engine and running gear is not to be criticised at all, everything works very well and the cockpit is rattle-free. 

The paintwork is a little stone chipped but nothing overwhelming or off-putting.

Ford's MkIII Mondeo is an excellent choice in the used car market for the sensible, level-headed amongst us.

 

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