Ford is marking 20 years of Mondeo at Edgbaston ahead of tomorrow’s Twenty20 cricket final at the redeveloped stadium.
Since 1993 almost 1,400,000 Ford Mondeos across three major updates of the multi award winning large car have been sold in the UK. Mondeo has led different segments of the large car market for 14 of its 20 years – creating a sought-after group of “Mondeo Men” voters.
Two new Ford Mondeos are helping to celebrate the landmark – the £15,995 Graphite model and luxurious Titanium X Business Edition. While the Ford Mondeo Graphite redefines the car’s entry-level specification, the Mondeo Titanium X Business Edition from £21,995 includes chrome finished windows and grille outside and sumptuous full leather and seven-inch touchscreen infotainment inside.
Launched in 1993, the Ford Mondeo was the culmination of a five-year, £3 billion investment led by British chief engineer Richard Parry-Jones. Two decades later Ford’s flagship car remains a winner as the 2013 best family and best estate car according to What Car?
Ford Mondeo owners were quickly identified as part of the home-owning, aspirational middle Britain which Labour had to win over to seize power in the 1997 General Election.
From launch to the election Ford Mondeo sales consistently topped 100,000 a year in the UK. In 1997 Ford introduced the ST badge on an exciting new Sports Technologies derivative. The ST24 boasted a 170PS 2.5-litre 24-valve V6 and arrived on the road to coincide with Mondeo’s entry into the British Touring Car Championship.
A succession of sporty Ford Mondeos followed. The ST200 was named after the power output from the uprated 2.5 engine, which was then replaced in 2002 by the 150mph ST220 with 3.0-litre V6 24V engine. Actor Ray Winstone posed in moody promotional shots alongside the Ford Mondeo ST220, starting a ST association which saw Winstone star as Jack Regan driving a Flying Squad Focus ST in last year’s “The Sweeney” movie.
So strong is the British demand for fast Fords that the ST badge appeared on a diesel Mondeo to satisfy demand from company car drivers. The popular high-performance 2.2-litre Ford Mondeo ST TDCi with 155PS and 400Nm of torque had a top speed of 137mph.
By 2007 the Ford Mondeo, now in its third iteration, had grown by 40cm in length to 4.88 metres, and had become sufficiently imposing and high-tech to catch the eye of James Bond.
A new-generation top-of-the-range Mondeo with sports bodykit had to be hand built and shipped to the Bahamas for Daniel Craig’s Bond to drive to the island’s Ocean Club in “Casino Royale”.
Filming was in 2006, more than a year ahead of the Ford Mondeo’s UK launch. In the film Bond gets out of his Mondeo and walks away before turning to give the car an appreciative nod – a gesture of pride later reflected by thousands of customers once the flagship appeared in dealerships. Boasting a five-star Euro NCAP rating and a long list of new features for the Ford flagship, the new top-end Mondeo Titanium series was also launched – going on to account for 50 per cent of sales.
Interactive Dynamic Control, adjusting dampers 10 times a second to suit whichever of the sports or comfort settings had been chosen; Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically maintains an appropriate gap to the vehicle in front irrespective of speed changes on the road; and Adaptive Lighting, which swivels the front lamps up to 15deg to cast extra light into tight bends, were just some of the industry-leading technologies arriving on new Mondeo in 1997.
While the Ford Mondeo may have grown in size since 1993, its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have decreased. Today’s Ford Mondeo ECOnetic is capable of returning 65.7mpg and CO2 levels of 112g/km, compared with 36mpg from the first Mondeo diesel of 20 years ago. This efficiency, allied to its acclaimed ride and handling and space, sealed What Car? Green Awards for best family car for 2011 and 2012 – which was in addition to Mondeo’s overall What Car? best family car and estate hat-trick in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain chairman and managing director, said: “Ford Mondeo has become the benchmark for its class and the vehicle by which all cars of a similar size are judged. Over 20 years Mondeo has continued to evolve and offers best in class driving dynamics combined with excellent interior space, style and value. Howzat for a great start to an innings?”