If you’re the kind of person who wants a sedan that looks good and transports you around comfortably but doesn’t care about what society says, then the Ford Mondeo III is a very hard car to get off the shopping list. That’s why it’s featured in today’s article.
Launched in 2000, the Ford Mondeo III came as a natural sequel to the Ford Mondeo II. Built on the same platform but with a strong european style, Ford Mondeo III dropped the hamburger and got to work, coming up with a chin more chiseled than Tom Hiddleston would ever dare to dream.
What’s new with the 3rd gen Mondeo?
Launched in response to the VW Passat B5, the new Mondeo comes with a more sober, sophisticated and easier-to-use interior to attract Europeans who didn’t particularly love the “different” interior on the Ford Focus I. The second generation Mondeo may have found its place in 2020 at the countryside, stuffed with bags of potatoes and wine bottles, but Ford Mondeo III is a genuine rival to the Passat B5.5 in all respects.
Otherwise, the concept remained pretty much the same: One of the most dynamic and sporty cars in its class, a hatchback style boot and a wagon variant longer than waiting for the next season of La Casa di Papel.
And yet, why didn’t it sell like the VW Passat?
- First of all, the Ford Mondeo III is a Ford, not a VW. VW kicked the car market in the testicles in 1996 when they launched the well-known 1.9 TDI engine, and in 2000 it was already more popular than “Big Brother” which was also launched in 2000. More loved by the balkanic people than cheeki breeki and contraband cigarettes put together, this engine has definitely remained in the memory of europeans who still buy cars with 1.9 TDI engines, even if most of them have over 5 million km under their belt. That makes a Ford Mondeo III today cost as little as half the price of a Passat B5.5, although the quality and performance are similar.
- Another factor for which the Ford Mondeo III is a rare appearance on the streets is that in 2005 the Passat B6 is launched, the Opel Vectra C receives a facelift and in 2004 the Alfa Romeo 159 makes it’s spectacular appearance on stage. The Ford Mondeo IV only appeared in 2007, so until then the Ford sedan had to sit in the corner of the class decorated with the “Technologically and Visually Outdated” award, a corner shared with Mercedes’ W203 C Class and A4 B7 the Audi.
Ford Mondeo III Engines
- 1.8 Duratec of 110, 125 and 131 horsepower – An engine stolen…I mean, borrowed from Mazda, with timing chain and loads of fun. Quite reliable and of decent performance, but still a bit small for the body of the Ford Mondeo III. If, however, 5 pounds in taxes make all the difference for you, then stick to the 1.8 engine.
- 2.0 Duratec of 145 horsepower – The same 1.8 engine, increased to 2000 cc to move the body responsibly. Marginally more expensive than the 1.8 version, this engine ironically has a lower consumption because it has more power so it has to work less. Wierdly however it is proned to oil consumption, unlike the 1.8 unit.
- 2.5 V6 of 170 horsepower – Originally built by Porsche, this V6 is ready to propel the Ford Mondeo III to the next dimension. Or in the first tree when trying to take the bend at more than 30 km/h. Sensitive to coilpacks and spark plugs.
- 3.0 V6 of 204 and 226 horsepower – The famous ST220 version, this torpedo offers serious performance for relatively little money. It is essentially the same 2.5 V6 engine, only enlarged. And much heavier on suspension and taxes.
- 2.0 TDDI of 90 and 115 horsepower – Good old 1.8 TDDI on the Ford Focus bored to 2.0. Just as old and problematic, this Betty White of an engine withdrew from the automotive world in dubious circumstances. Issues with injectors and especially in terms of sound. Imagine being woken up by a blender at 4 in the morning. Sitting on the table next to your ear. That’s what the TDDI sounds like when it crawls its last horses to the cemetery.
- 2.0 TDCI of 115 and 131 horsepower – The new Duratorq has retired the ancestral 1.8 TD and dragged Ford Mondeo III to modernity. I say dragged because the engine suffers from serious issues with the injectors, the intercooler piping and the fuel pump.
- 2.2 TDCI of 155 horsepower – Pretty much the same 2.0 Duratorq, only slightly bigger and much heavier on taxes. The same issues, about the same performance. This engine is like when you receive a salary increase of 50 pounds: yes, it’s nice, it helps, but your life hasn’t changed dramatically.
Ford Mondeo III General Issues
- The front suspension continues to be a weak point, especially for the V6 versions.
- The EGR valve has the habit of clogging up and breaking down, regardless of the engine version. If you have a petrol engine, it will cost you the equivalent of an evening spent in a pub at a train station that is forgotten by the world. If you have a diesel engine instead, it will cost you the equivalent of an evening spent in the watering hole of a fancier train station.
- The dual mass flywheel was installed on all engines. Ford engineers, in their vast intelligence, decided to put it on petrol engines as well. A simple, single mass flywheel would have been just as good. But nooo, why should Ford do things like the rest of the world?
- Automatic gearboxes are just as weak as the ones from previous generations, so better avoid them altogether. If you insist on buying a car with an automatic transmission though, go get something else.
Ford Mondeo III Verdict
I will always appreciate the 3rd and 4th generation Ford Mondeo, because these are cars that have remained relatively obscure and that today offer a lot of car for very little money. A Ford Mondeo III is like a VW Phaeton: Cheap to buy, desired by few, but offering fantastic comfort. Especially since you can buy with little money but lots of features such as leather, sunroof or wood trims. And all this because you didn’t buy a brand that would impress your neighbor. No, you didn’t buy the brand. You bought a very good car, for little money, for yourself, to drive you in style. And for this reason, the Ford Mondeo III is one of the best second-hand purchases at the moment, when your budget is in the lower price range.