The Ford Mondeo will soon be consigned to automotive history. Today we recall the 1993 original and how it confounded the expectations of those who drove it.
Ford recently surprised nobody(1) by announcing that the Mondeo will be discontinued without a direct replacement in March 2022. The D-segment saloon, hatchback and estate has fallen victim to a fatal cocktail of countervailing forces that reduced European sales to just 21,222(2) in 2020. This is a far cry from the model’s heyday in the 1990’s when annual sales exceeded 300,000 units. Its North American equivalent, the Fusion, was discontinued in July 2020.
The Mondeo was initially hit by the encroachment of smaller premium models, which could be had for similar monthly leasing payments to the mainstream Ford, thanks to their stronger residuals. Company car drivers and personal contract purchasers, who comprised the vast majority of Mondeo customers, were happy to forego the additional space and standard equipment offered by the Ford for the kudos that came with having an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class on their driveway.
That said, any sense of one-upmanship must have been limited, given that the traditional exclusivity of the German compact premium trio had long been obliterated by their makers’ push for sales growth(3).
It was, however, the irresistible rise of the crossover that finally sealed the Mondeo’s fate(4). It did not help that the current Mondeo, when launched in Europe in the Autumn of 2014, was already more than two years old: it had been unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2012 as the North American market second-generation Ford Fusion.
Moreover, the Mondeo had grown dramatically over the decades. Compared with the original 1993 model, its wheelbase was 146mm (5¾”) longer at 2,850mm (112¼”) and its overall length had grown by a massive 388mm (15¼”) to 4,869mm (191¾”). Objectively, the Mondeo was a lot of metal for the money, but most would-be buyers simply did not need all that space and rather ungainly bulk.
Today, we will turn the clock back to 1993 and recall the original. Prior to its launch, Ford of Europe was in a poor state, both reputationally and in financial terms. It took a long time(5) for the conventionally engineered but controversially styled 1982 Sierra to establish itself, and it still never enjoyed the market dominance of its predecessor. To compound Ford’s problems, the 1990 Escort Mk5 was dynamically inept and unforgivably dreary looking. Ford needed a radical solution to improve perception and fortune.
The 1993 Mondeo certainly did not look radical. It was a somewhat bland Euro-generic design in the typically organic early 1990’s mould, with smooth curves and an absence of sharp creases. There was nothing distinctively Ford about it either: it could plausibly have carried the badge of any number of European or Asian manufacturers without raising an eyebrow. The controversy that had surrounded the Sierra had, apparently, made Ford highly risk-averse, at least in stylistic terms.
The production Mondeo was the result of an extensive investigation into a wide range of options, overseen by Design Director Manfred Lampe. All featured a fashionable cab-forward layout with a deep glasshouse and slim pillars, but the designers experimented with a variety of different styling motifs that borrowed widely from contemporary European, Japanese and American competitors’ designs. Gradually, the more striking (and possibly controversial) designs were eliminated in favour of the safety first production model.
Beneath its rather nondescript appearance, however, was hidden some truly excellent chassis engineering. After the debacle of the Escort Mk5, in every way a retrograde step from its predecessor, hopes were not high for Ford’s next FWD effort. The pessimists were, however, confounded when they first drove the new model.
The Mondeo was Ford’s second attempt at developing a ‘World Car’, following the 1980 Escort(6). The project was headquartered at Ford’s Technical Centre in Dunton, Essex, initially under the direction of John Oldfield(7), Ford Europe’s Executive Director of Engineering. Oldfield was a Ford lifer who had joined the company at the age of 21 in 1958, having graduated from the Cranfield Institute of Technology with an MSc.
Oldfield had assumed executive responsibility for the Mondeo when the project was launched in 1986. He was subsequently appointed Ford Europe’s Head of New Product Development in 1988. At this point, David Price, formerly a director of powertrain development, was appointed CD (medium and large) Car Director and assumed responsibility for the Mondeo. The £3bn ($6bn) project was a truly international effort, also involving engineering teams at the Merkenich Technical Centre in Cologne and the company’s US headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
The Mondeo was largely all-new, apart from its Zetec engines, launched a year earlier and carried over from the Escort. It was based on a new platform architecture, codenamed CDW27. Another Ford lifer, Welshman Richard Parry-Jones, was instrumental in the dynamic qualities of the new model. He had joined Ford as an undergraduate engineering trainee in 1969 before achieving a first-class honours degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Salford, Manchester.
Parry-Jones was appointed head of Ford Europe’s Technological Research in 1985 and had been unfortunate to be associated with the execrable 1990 Escort Mk5. However, Ford’s senior management appreciated that the cynicism with which that car had been cost-engineered to the last cent had done enormous damage to the company’s reputation.
Ford gave Parry-Jones free rein, and the budget, to ensure the Mondeo would be class-leading in its dynamic qualities. Parry-Jones did not disappoint these high expectations: at the press launch event in late 1992, he and his engineering colleagues were present and their excitement and enthusiasm for the new car was palpable. It may have looked bland, but the ride and handling were at least the equal of the class-leading Peugeot 405.
Moreover, the Mondeo felt solid and well built, with a pleasant and comfortable interior. It was actually 50mm (2”) shorter than its predecessor but the transverse-engined FWD layout freed up more space for passengers and their luggage(8). The new model was offered in four-door saloon and five-door hatchback and estate versions. The hatchback was notable for its large wraparound rear screen, which concealed the frame of the tailgate, a rare distinctive element in an otherwise resolutely conventional if contemporary design.
The launch engines were inline four-cylinder 16-valve Zetec petrol units in 1,597cc 89bhp (66kW), 1,796cc 114bhp (85kW) and 1,988cc 134bhp (100kW) capacities and power outputs. The latter achieved a 0 to 60mph (97km/h) time of 9.6 seconds. It was also offered on a 4WD version of the Mondeo from 1993 to 1996. The engines were mated to a five-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission with switchable sport or economy modes. There was also a solitary diesel engine, the rather outdated 1,753cc Endura-D unit that produced 89bhp (66kW).
In typical Ford fashion, five trim levels were offered; Base, LX, GLX, Ghia and Si, the latter pair offering either a luxury or sporting twist to upscale Mondeo buyers. Incidentally, the car’s name is a synthesised word, alluding to Monde and Mundo, respectively the French and Spanish words for world. Consideration had apparently been given to either retaining the Sierra name or exhuming Cortina, but Ford wisely decided to give the clean-sheet new model a fresh identity.
Production of the Mondeo commenced at Ford’s Genk plant in Belgium in November 1992 and the new car was formally launched at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1993.
Part Two of the first-generation Mondeo story follows shortly.
Author’s note: Richard Parry-Jones died in an accident on his farm in Wales on 16th April 2021. This piece is published in tribute to him. RIP.
(1) Certainly not DTW, which predicted the Mondeo’s end here.
(2) All sales data from http://www.carsalesbase.com
(3) Despite also suffering from the shift to crossovers, combined European sales of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in 2020 was still 277,793 units.
(4) There are unconfirmed rumours that Ford’s next D-segment model will be a ‘lifestyle’ crossover estate type vehicle.
(5) It also required a heavy facelift and the development of a four-door booted model, the Sapphire.
(6) The European and US versions of the Escort ended up rather more divergent than had been envisaged, sharing no external body panels.
(7) Sadly, John Oldfield died in 2002 at the age of just 65. He had been suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.
(8) One surprise was the presence of a large ‘transmission’ tunnel, which encroached somewhat into the front footwells. The CDW27 platform had been engineered for possible RWD and 4WD applications.
38 thoughts on “Ford Rediscovers its Mojo (Part One)”
Good morning Daniel. I am shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Richard Parry-Jones. That’s a huge loss. I hope he gets a DTW profile.
The original Nissan Primera was Ford’s benchmark when they were developing the Mondeo. They also considered the name “Lyrus”.
My main recollection from CAR Magazine’s original piece on the car (other than my disappointment at how dull it looked) is that Russell Bulgin was really impressed by the quality of the spiral design plastic wheel trims, saying they were practically indistinguishable from alloys.
I’m saddened by the passing of Richard Parry-Jones. Not only was he instrumental in making Ford of Europe a reference in handling and vehicle dynamics, but as I’ve read this morning, he was also involved in quite a number of important non-automotive endeavours.
As for the Mondeo, I was a fervent Sierra fan in my teens, so the Mondeo and its American cousins the Contour and Mystique were to me the Sierra of the future. During my stint at Ford Motor de Venezuela in 1995/96 I had a chance to drive a Contour they had brought over for market assessment. It was a top spec 2.5 V6 GT model (or whatever the sporty version was called) in bright metallic turquoise. Wow, that was an awesome car! It may not sound as much now, but as a young car nut straight out of college, being given the keys to a sporty car that just came to market in the US and was in fact the same colour and almost the same specs as the one on the cover of my recent Car and Driver magazine, well, let’s just say that left an impact on me.
Fast forward to 2013 and on a holiday in Florida I rented the then new Ford Fusion and knowing that it would soon become the Mondeo, I was keen to know how it felt and drove. Alas, I had no proper chance to try it as a few days later I had a little fender bender incident and because I hired total insurance, the rental company just shrugged it off and gave me the keys to a brand new Nissan Altima 2.5 which quite frankly, felt nicer than the Ford and gave me new hopes for the CVT as the one on the Nissan was superb.
Oh well, poor Mondeo, another good car buried by the crossover army. I never understood why they delayed the European introduction of the current model for so long. Despite its admittedly handsome design, by the time it came out in Europe, it looked a bit stale, like a dinner roll that was baked in the morning; fresh, but not quite crisp.
You can see the problem the Mondeo faced (some of its own making) in comparing the 1993 car and the outgoing version. These cars have become huge and all that huge-ossity has to be hidden with bags of styling. I quite like the current car but I think it is simply way too bulky without achieving the stateliness of other large cars like the S-Classes of yesteryear. There might be a point (a size range) beyond which sportiness does not work. I think the Insignia and Mazda 6 managed to conceal their bulk much better, as does the 508. Understood as a Granada, the Mondeo makes more sense. Meanwhile, back in 1993 Ford landed on a sweet spot for dimensions and practicality. I can´t say I really like the 1993 car but the facelift with the oval grille was a master-class in small changes leading to dramatic effects.
R.I.P. Parry-Jones – where I live these farming accidents are all too common ( a close neighbour managed to get run-over by his own tractor )
Don’t shed a tear for the Mondeo though, the Focus is becoming a Mondeo by another name. Already the wheelbase matches the original, and it will no doubt be stretched again by 2022.
It´d be much more sensible to keep the name and keep the dimensions. The cost of being able to boast “bigger in every dimension” is you lose a good badge and the customers won´t follow the dimensions so faithfully. If I am used to a 4.7 metre car having a certain relative status in the model hierarchy then it´s unsettling if I need to go “down” a model to keep buying a 4.7 metre car.
Imagine if the range is S (4 m), M (4.2m) L (4.5) and XL (5 m) at time 1.
If I like the L in relation to its absolute size and its position relative to M and XL then it will be wierd when the new situation is:
XS (4m) S (4.2 m) M (4.5) and L (5 m) and XL is gone, replaced by Lx (say) which is some other class of car.
I have my 4.5 metre car but now it has the designation of the medium car and not the L large car which I liked (for status reason). If I want to keep my status I will buy a car I will find too large for me. So I go away.
The 3 series has dodged this fate by stealing sales from C and C-D class cars as it grew. It´s a lardy large car which offers the inconvenience of sportiness and the inconvenience of size all rolled into three.
I’m sorry to hear that Richard Parry-Jones has died.
Wouldn’t the Model T and Model A be considered world cars? They were manufactured on every continent except Africa, at least according to a well-known online encyclopedia.
Hi Jonathan. Fair point, I should have prefixed ‘World car’ with ‘modern era’ (which can mean anything!)
I remember all the hype of the Mondeo being a “World car” and “Fords biggest investment yet” but I couldn’t for the life of me understand the bland design or the bland name, like it had been named and designed by the once so popular brand consulting firm (B)Landor. It’s like it was deliberately made to be instantly forgettable.
Hi Ingvar, I think the Mondeo’s bland design was a reaction to early buyer resistance to the Sierra. Ford canvassed (far too) widely for design proposals and critiques of those proposals, at one point having more than a dozen different designs in play. I think they simply ended up with a design that nobody hated, ergo the least distinctive.
I would guess the same approach was used regarding the name, a synthesized word that meant nothing in particular but didn’t cause offence anywhere.
At least Ford, and Richard Parry-Jones in particular, absolutely nailed it with the chassis engineering.
RPJ, RIP. As a totemic figure representing his team of engineers, he transformed what we got from Ford in terms of car driving dynamics, such that these are now expected from every new generation of Fords. That’s some legacy and achievement. He always came across in interviews as a nice guy; humble, professional and with a knack for setting a car up to ride/ handle/ steer ‘just so’.
The Mondeo was one of ‘his’ cars – my step father had one as a company car for a while. He didn’t like it, mainly because it was a Ford and so not ‘special’ (he had enjoyed the last generation Audi 80 – the aero one with the small boot, and Volvo S40 before it: both had poor handling and ride, but nice cabins, etc.). My recollection of that car was a rough and noisy engine, but fantastic steering/ ride/ handling. It looked very bland, inside and out.
Of RPJ’s other cars, I’d say the most remarkable was the Fiesta Mk4, because it was a heavily (and ugly) facelifted Mk3 (the latter not well liked for its chassis set up), but the Mk4 was a wonderful little car to drive, helped by the 1.25l Yamaha influenced ‘Zetec’ engine, but made special by the steering, handling and ride experience.
I do mourn the passing of the Mondeo – yes it became too large and heavy, but it seems a strange world to me when Ford can’t make and sell a mid-sized saloon profitably: what has Ford and the world come to?
Hello S.V. – yes, all of Ford’s European cars will be hatchbacks, of one sort or another. It further struck me that they’ll be reverting to the two-box designs which cars had before the late ‘40s.
Separate boots / trunks are an odd concept, in a way – why not just enclose the volume above the boot and make an estate / hatchback? It’s a better use of space and easier to load.
It´s not as if medium-sized saloons don´t sell. Eventually there might be a few “last person standing” in the non-“premium sector”. It might be VW or Volvo perhaps. And the Koreans seem to be able to sell medium and large saloons in the US when Ford and GM can´t, oddly enough.
Car&Driver says this: “From its unique double headlights and gigantic pentagonal grille to its slippery bodywork and sloping roofline, the all-new 2021 Genesis G80 is a rolling beauty. It also earns a spot on our Editor’s Choice list. The shapely sedan is inspired by the company’s new GV80 SUV, which also looks the part of a high-class luxury vehicle without the high-end price tag. Both entries are Genesis’ attempt to usher in a new era and increase its cachet as a burgeoning luxury brand the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The G80 slots in between the smaller G70 and the larger G90 sedans, and it’s expected to compete with mid-size luxury cars such as the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-class.”
Kia managed to turn out the Stinger with, as I see it, a lot less drama than Alfa Romeo required. I´d take the Stinger over the Alfa if I wanted a car like that. Again, the Koreans bang out a decent medium-sized car and don´t just throw the towel inwardly in.
Also, the form factor. The most fuel efficient form for a sedan is the Citroën CX shape with a teardrop cut off with a Kamm tail at about half the height of the roof. Therefore the notch back sedan as form factor has been dead for a while and replaced with fastbacks, with or without a full hatchback or sedan trunk. There should be no difference in form between a sedan and hatchback anymore.
I really like the Stinger, it’s interesting as well as nice to look at.
Hello Richard – yes, the G80 is beautiful. Genesis (Hyundai) have some very good (the best?) designers.
Kia / Hyundai have a very ‘can do’ attitude, as may be revealed in the forthcoming mk1 Pony article.
Apologies if this is a duplicate post, by the way – the first version disappeared.
The Parry-Jones legacy is interesting. I’ve never driven a Mondeo, but I’ve driven company owned Mk 1 Focus, RPJ Fiesta, and even an eZX Primera. Driven in town , at polite speed, they were all awful – you had too much time to see everything that was wrong (the designer of the original Focus dashboard must have been very drunk, or smoking something interesting.). When you drove these cars as if you had stolen them (over the Cork and Kerry mountains) the sheer excellence of their chassis design took your breath away (the Primera had an epic motor too). I very very rarely have the opportunity to drive that way, so I’ve never found it necessary to spend my own money on an RPJ car.
I had the use of a Focus Mk1 estate in Zetec trim in 2002. It was simply excellent apart from the seats. I also loved the interior, especially the dashboard which boasted fastidious ergonomics. I´d call it the most enjoyable car I ever drove, all things considered. It even looked unique and time has been kind to it, stylewise.
We’ll have to agree to differ, Richard, about the looks of the Mk 1 Focus – and don’t get me started on Ford ergonomics….
Very sad indeed to hear about RPJ’s departure.
To succeed in convincing Ford (and to subsequently sustain in such a brilliant execution of that idea) in making daily, run-of-the-mill cars
steer, handle and feel better than many premium ones, speaks volumes about his significance, skills and leadership.
We are probably blissfully unaware of the effects his contribution might have had to the current
state of industry affairs:
maybe it was instrumental, eg., in forcing BMW into developing a broader USP base, the ‘Freude am fahren’ element gradually spilling over to the bread & butter brands?
Will we ever know…
The ‘drivetrain stigma’ of most non-ST Ford models of RPJ provenance, tho,
has prevented me from truly enjoying those, objectively emblematic cars. The least forgettable was the Mk4 Fiesta, as its light weight made the Zetec feel sporty, even – as opposed to the similar drivetrains feeling anemic and ‘hollow’ in the Focus/ Mondeo.
What a fun little go-kart it was.
It only lacked a proper modern 8v engine to truly shine as a driver’s tool
(As, IMHO, the 16v engines are deeply, conceptually flawed in terms of fun factor).
A Mondeo ST will always be tempting to me, though, if the right one comes along.
To top it off, there is this paradox that never ceases to amuse me: in spite of my fascination with dynamically good
& communicative cars / the ‘black art’ of chassis tuning & tyres , it’s always the lesser handling cars (with charismatic,
big-chested drivetrains) that tend to win my driver heart, instead.
Motoring was seldom a rational environment,
Coincidentally. Ford has today unveiled this crossover, the Evos, at the Shanghai Auto Show:
Car Magazine is speculating that it might be the basis of the Mondeo replacement. I think , admittedly on the basis of just this photo, that it’s a bit disappointing. They have ditched the recent Ford style that was launched with the current Focus and reprised on the Puma and Kuga for something that’s a bit generic and fussy.
“Evos is for customers in China only. There are no current plans to offer it elsewhere.”
That´s very ordinary and as Daniel says, very fussy. I imagine this is very much a design for the Asian market. I tried looking at the whole thing and not just details but it still doesn´t impress. I am sure the Mondeo replacement will not look like this. Ford´s recent surfacing and painting efforts have been excellent. I don´t think they will throw this away.
My uncle had a five door Mondeo 1.8 and I could drive it a lot. While the ride/handling and steering setup was very, very good (a few years ago I owned a P11 Primera GT and it was a lot harsher), that 1.8 Zetec boat anchor of an engine was truly horrid: flacid, reluctant to rev and noisy. You had to rev it up hard to get any progress, but doing that was really unpleasant. It let down the car completely for me. Ah, and the rear seat wasn´t a nice place to be.
Magazines road tests used to talk about 1.8 performance being very similar to the 2.0, only the 1.8 was “sweeter”. I would prefer not to drive a 2.0 then. But…I suspect a V6 could be a lot nicer. Or better yet, a ST200, I would excuse its boy racer-ish styling (in the best fast Ford tradition).
I briefly tillered an ST200 and it was remarkably solid-feeling. It felt like a heck of a lot of car. Generally, the V6 option might be very pleasant indeed. I am sorry that they were killed off by magazine reviewers who took every opportunity to suggest buying a 2.5 V6 was not as good an idea as buying a 2.0 L4 BMW if they cost the same.
I’m only ever owned three cars, and apart from my current W204, they’ve all been Mondeos. A Mondeo was really a bit on the large side for a first car (my mother thought I’d run mad altogether) but we’d had a lot of Fords in the family, and the Mk5 Escort was too awful to contemplate. Plus the Economist magazine had a cover that month saying confidently that the world was awash with oil, and fuel prices were unlikely to rise in the medium term. So a 5 year old Mondeo 5-door it was, in silver, and very similar to your second photo in the piece. It was genuinely lovely to drive, and if it wasn’t particularly exciting to look at, outside or in, it wasn’t ugly either, and it was a comfortable place to be.
I picked the car up in a cloudburst, and part of the showroom ceiling collapsed while the salesman was fetching the keys. When he returned he just laughed at the water cascading down on the extension leads. This was not precisely confidence-inspiring. Of course, the very first thing that happened after I bought it was that petrol prices started to go up, and never really came back down.
The heater wasn’t particularly effective (unusual in a Ford), and it wasn’t always the easiest car to work on. When the starter failed, it transpired the only way to get at it was from underneath, so it wasn’t a cheap repair. When the headlamp lenses yellowed, I decided to replace them myself, which meant removing the front bumper, which meant removing the front undertray, which meant putting the car on axle stands…
The central locking wasn’t remote, and the alarm was set/unset by means of mechanical switches around the driver’s and passenger’s door locks. I foolishly ignored the failure of the passenger-side switch, which was proven to be unwise when the driver’s side one did as well. This meant that I could unlock the car, but doing so triggered the alarm and ensured the immobiliser triggered. Just what you want when you’re parked outside a Garda (police) station.
If I’m making it sound like a liability, it wasn’t. That was pretty much the total of the non-consumable failures over seven or eight years and 50k miles. I genuinely loved driving it always.
Don’t they say you always remember your first?
That sounds like a lot of nuisances – I haven´t run a car with those kinds of problems and among the cars I´ve run is a 1990 Citroen XM. Things like the headlamp lenses result from decisions made during design. I expect that easily removable lens covers had cost implications for production or some performance consequence for other more important components. It would be insightful to see a document showing how the provision of things the customer valued highly resulted in the final design compromise. People get frustrated by such oddities as hard-to-access components and forget that the payoff is something they otherwise take for granted and wouldn´t sacrifice. It might just be that if you want this much car for X euros then something has to give. Even a W-123 is a mass of compromises among them the price (too high for some).
It sounds like a lot of nuisances in part because I have a tendency to be amused by quirky problems, so I remembered them, and listed them out all at once. I found the weak heater much more frustrating, to the point where I considered a few times having the cooling system flushed to see if it would help!
I thought it might be of interest refering that, in the early days of the Zetec engine, it was writen on the press that the 1.25 and the 1.4 were diferent engines from the larger displacement ones.
As I remember it, the small engines had been designed by (or in partnership) with Yamaha.
Their name started being the Sigma, later becoming the Zetec-SE.
Again, as I recall it, they were so well received that Ford choosed to call their larger (but different) engines Zetec as well.
That would explain the perceived smoothness X coarseness dilema felt by many when driving smaller and bigger Zetecs.
Hope not to be wrong 🙂
Hi Gustavo, and thanks for your comment. Without checking, that’s how I remember it too: the 1.25 litre engine was (only) one with Yamaha genes.
Ah, yes, the yellowing headlamp lenses. I managed to replace them without removing the bumper, only undoing the clips on the top of the headlights.
And the bumpers? were made of plastic, or eggshell? Every old Mondeo has cracked bumpers, showing the yellow foam inside. Is this due to the hot weather? Or perhaps it´s the same in Ireland or GB?
Those bumpers did eventually crack in the UK and Ireland as well, but the cars were quite old when it started to happen – I would suspect it happened more slowly in the cooler climate.
Well done on swapping out those lens without going through the whole dismantling exercise, by the way!
Thanks Daniel, that’s explained then.
In fact, I remember people saying the 1.4 was not as sweet as the 1.25.
One doubt subsists however: wasn’t the Puma’s 1.7 a Zetec-SE engine as well?
I read it was, and that it ceased production erlier than it should have because it was too sophisticated and expensive to build…
If so, the Puma must have been one of very few mass-market cars to get one engine exclusively produced for him (it?)
I read the 1.7 got Nikasil cylinder bores. I wonder if they had any problem with high sulfur petrol, as it happened with early BMW M52 engines. My 328i E36 was a casualty…
I was under the impression that getting the motor to 1700cc was a stretch too far, and resulted in too many porous blocks….
The first (Mondeo) Contour had zilch back seat room for a family car, quite laughable really, a schizoid dash made out of 14 separate panels and cost 40% more than the same sized Ford Tempo it replaced. It looked anonymously blobby to boot. Five years of trying to sell the undersized runt in Canada, at least, and that was all she wrote. Exit CDW27 from the scene. I see from the ever reliable Wikipedia that it bombed in the USA and Australia as well.
The eventual Contour replacement here, the 2006 Fusion, was a redo of the Mazda 626 with a toothy chrome grille, and sold very well. Actual adults could fit in the back seat. That lasted until the current about to be defunct Fusion/Mondeo from 2012. Surely part of the reason the car became bigger was to accommodate actual adult humans in the back seat. No? In base model form it has an ancient Mazda derived 2.5l engine specially designed to attempt the world record for pulling the skin off rice puddings. Rental fodder and dreadfully underpowered. However, other reasonable engines are/were available such as the 2.0t. Pretty good car but nobody wants cars these days, they want anonymous two-box station wagons/hatchbacks on minor stilts.
Richard Parry-Jones was a bit of a legend all right. RIP. It was his 50 metre test that sold my Mazda6 to me when I boil it all down.
Good morning Bill and thanks for your comments. We’ll be covering the production history of the Mondeo and its American siblings in part two shortly.