The Ford Mondeo Vignale 2.0 Hybrid offers a comfortable driving experience with the potential for cleaner emissions than the petrol or diesel Mondeo models.
We’ve now had hybrid and electric cars from many manufacturers for a number of years, but Ford, in the UK at least, has mainly been sticking to petrol and diesel powertrains. However there is now a new petrol-electric hybrid Mondeo, so is this a car you should consider?
Our test car was the Ford Mondeo Vignale with a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. There’s a 2-litre petrol engine along with an electric motor powered by a battery. It’s front-wheel drive with automatic transmission.
The Vignale is the posh version of the Mondeo; it looks good on the outside – although the overall appearance hasn’t progressed enormously compared to the previous model – and inside there’s leather everywhere. You even get air conditioned seats.
There’s good rear legroom, but the batteries in the boot encroach into luggage space. And the saloon body style – the only body style for the hybrid model – isn’t as practical as a hatchback or an estate.
The good news is that the Mondeo Vignale Hybrid offers a comfortable driving experience. Drive it down a rough road and its well sorted ride does a great job of smoothing out the bumps. It also delivers decent handling.
Now the not so good news. If you’re looking for a responsive driving experience, you’ll need to look elsewhere. When you put your foot down to extract some acceleration, not much happens in terms of an increased rate of forward progress – it seems to pick up speed at its own pace, not the pace you want it to. It almost feels anaesthetised. What you do experience is a Toyota CVT-like increase in revs, and noise – even though the Mondeo has an automatic transmission rather than a CVT. You don’t even get any steering-wheel mounted paddles to allow you to change gear manually.
So there’s very limited performance; but do you get a long electric driving range? No. The hybrid battery seems to have a very small capacity, in practice it’s more like a glorified stop-start system.
The Mondeo Hybrid is therefore not a driver’s car. But does it make up for this in another area, such as its interior technology? Well, the inside is a pleasant enough environment, but the same comments apply to the touchscreen infomedia controls as with the Ford Focus RS. There are very small buttons on the screen; when you’re driving and supposedly keeping your eyes on the road ahead it’s very difficult to look over to the screen and accurately put your finger on a very small area. And unfortunately, lots of things are controlled only via the touchscreen – you can’t even choose where the ventilation comes from without having to go into the infomedia system. We also noticed that the satnav doesn’t seem to display the names of main towns, just villages. Anyway, all the problems of the satnav were solved halfway through the week as the satnav ceased to work, with it saying a new SD card needed to be inserted.
The whole point of the Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid – like the Toyota Prius – is (presumably) to deliver excellent fuel economy. The official combined fuel economy figure of 67.3mpg (equating to 99g/km CO2) is an encouraging start. So did we see such economy in real life? No. Over a week of careful driving, most of it on A and B roads, we averaged 43.7mpg. This is quite a way down on the 67.3mpg official figure. However take a look at the official urban fuel economy figure: 101 mpg! How this figure was ever conjured up (in combination with a 57mpg extra urban figure) is completely beyond us.
The Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid costs £30,440. If you’re in desperate need of a Mondeo Hybrid but don’t want to pay this, then you can buy the non-Vignale model for £27,045. There’s also a wide range of petrol and diesel Mondeos, in saloon, hatchback and estate body styles, and a huge variety of trim options.
The Ford Mondeo Vignale Hybrid is a comfortable car, it’s good-looking in most people’s eyes, and it has a touch of luxury about it in Vignale spec. However there’s not much performance, and the economy isn’t outstanding either. Also, the 4-door saloon bodystyle just isn’t wanted by UK buyers. So although it’s positive that the Mondeo Hybrid promises cleaner emissions in terms of local air quality than a petrol or diesel Mondeo, for the average car buyer it’s hard to recommend over a diesel, and we really are struggling to believe that there’s much of a market for this car in the UK. If Ford is using the Vignale branding to market the Mondeo as a premium product, then the company is probably going to struggle to lure owners out of their Audis, BMWs and Mercedes.
Ford is presumably aware that the global car industry is heading towards ultra-low emissions, and if it doesn’t want to get left behind, it’s going to need a better strategy than the Mondeo Hybrid, which gains a Green Car Guide rating of 6 out of 10.