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Car reviews - Ford - Mondeo - LX sedan


7 May 2003

FORD'S troubled relationship with medium sized cars began in August 1971, when the stylish but underdone TC Cortina debuted. Its many quality problems continued through to the pretty TE six years later, and it wasn't until the company looked to Japan's Mazda 626 for its front-wheel drive Telstar range before Ford had a viable, quality car in that segment. But by the mid 1990s super-high Japanese currency pressures forced Ford to import the Belgian-built HB Mondeo, itself a Cortina successor in Europe. Luckily that was a good car, but it still needed some added refinement as well as a visual pep-up. Enter the HC Mondeo, released late in 1996 in LX and GLX sedan, LX wagon and GLX hatchback guises. Though it never sold to expectations, the latter versions were the best, offering excellent driving dynamics, real comfort and refinement attributes and generous equipment levels, all wrapped in a stylish European package. By late 2000 Ford had decided at the last minute to ditch the highly-lauded Mondeo Mk2 for the American-designed but Japanese-built (by Mazda, ironically enough) Escape 4WD, so that ended the mid-sized Ford sedan in this country for the meantime. As far as the Mondeos are concerned, as long as they have been correctly maintained, they should make endearing, durable and characterful family cars. Just like the Mk1 and Mk2 Cortinas were way back in the 1960...
Model release date: 1 December 1996 to 1 December 1998

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