Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2007-2015 Ford Mondeo as a used buy.

The Ford Mondeo is a full-size family car from Europe. The earlier models weren't particularly successful in Australia but from the new, larger model of October 2007 it gained more respect in this country.

It comes as no surprise that the European designed Mondeo has steering and suspension dynamics that appeal to the Australians who enjoy driving, even in their family oriented cars.

Ride comfort is good and even rough country roads don't upset the Mondeo's feel. However, they aren't as good as Aussie-designed Falcons. In particular, interior noise on coarse-chip surfaces is noticeably higher than that in cars built for our roads.

Mondeos were sold as four-door sedans, five-door hatches and five-door wagons until August 2009 when the sedan was dropped. Ford Australia explained that the sedan and hatch were almost identical in profile so buyers had been opting for the added load carrying ability of the hatchback. Station wagons have proven popular as they are good load haulers.

August 2009 saw Ford Australia has pushed the Mondeo into the Sync infotainment systems in a big way. Even the base Mondeo LX has voice activated controls at a time when only upmarket European cars had the feature. Ford also added Bluetooth connectivity as it was trying to push its cars to the fleet market and business people were increasingly demanding instant communications.

Ford has one of the largest dealer networks in Australia, so getting parts and servicing is generally easy, even in comparatively remote areas.

Sync2 is used from 2015 onwards and is pretty easy to work with.

Engine options for the 2007 Mondeo were a 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol in the XR6 Turbo, and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel. In July 2011 a highly efficient turbo-petrol unit displacing 2.0 litres replaced the naturally aspirated 2.0 petrol.

The 2015 model has the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol in two states of tune, with lower power, 149kW, for the entry level car and the higher grades getting 177kW. There's also a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, with 132kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

All standard models have a six-speed automatic transmission, with units sold from late 2010 having manual overrides to give added driver control. The high-performance Ford Mondeo XR5 has the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, though most buyers opted for the convenience of the automatic.

Ford Mondeo is relatively easy for the home mechanic to work on, though some areas are quite complex, particularly the electronics, and so are best left to professionals.

Ford has one of the largest dealer networks in Australia, so getting parts and servicing is generally easy, even in comparatively remote areas. Some Mondeo spares may not be readily available in remote areas, but can generally be shipped out within a couple of working days.

Spare parts prices are about average for a vehicle in the imported European class. Not as low as for Asian cars, but not that much more expensive, either.

With the exception of the redhot Mondeo XR5, insurance generally falls into the lowest range and provided your driving and insurance records are good even the quick cars aren't overly priced.

What to look for

Build quality isn't quite to Japanese standards, though it was noticeably better in the later models being reviewed here. Take a good look over the interior to make sure everything fits properly.

The engine should start promptly and idle smoothly the moment it kicks over.

Using the owner's handbook as a guide, check that all controls work correctly.

The engine should start promptly and idle smoothly the moment it kicks over.

Roughness in any engine may mean big troubles, though it might just be a tuning problem. Be sure to get a professional opinion if there's the slightest doubt.

Feel and listen for manual gearchanges that aren't smooth and quiet. Hard third-to-second changes are usually the first to play up.

On an automatic the transmission shouldn't hold onto a lower gear for too long or hunt up and down unnecessarily through the ratios.

Check for crash repairs, most easily spotted by panels which don't quite fit or that have a ripply finish. Also look for paint colours that don't quite match or for tiny spots of paint on unpainted surfaces.

During your test drive listen for squeaks and rattles that may mean the Mondeo has spent a lot of time on unmade country roads.