For your £20,395 you got 130 mph top speed, nought to sixty in under ten seconds and you could eke out 34 mpg from the car’s 2.0 litre four. And there was all that load space in the back.
Unlike Renault who wanted to style their station wagon Laguna as some manner of sports estate or lifestyle tourer, Ford stuck to a straight sales proposition. The Mondeo wagon was a Mondeo saloon with a lot more space. It had an upright tailgate and fairly flat sides so it did what people might expect an estate car to do, namely carry things rather than advertise a lifestyle. The estate was 7 centimetres longer and a bit taller. Shame the seats didn’t fold flat though. The total volume was 1700 litres with the seats down or 830 with them up. Consider a typical saloon holds about 450-480 litres and that minimum volume is indeed impressive.
The rest of the Ford Mondeo proposition was retained: good steering and decent handling. To stop this turning into another episode of Gorfe’s Granadas, it must be said some people didn’t go for the styling which was felt at the time to be a bit VW though in hindsight I can’t really see where they got that idea from. The interior was inspired to some extent by the VW Passat though not in terms of gross form. Neat and serious sums it up.
Car magazine felt the estate lacked the “clever design and sturdiness” of a Volvo or an Audi but concluded the car was class act. The Ghia X cost £5000 more than the base models though it was still value for money. “An honest package,” they wrote and in a sense, to judge by the numbers of Lagunae that Renault didn’t sell, Ford chose wisely to stick with a simple proposal: lots of space at a good price.
You can see a very much younger Richard Hammond describe the saloon here.