First Drive: Ford Mondeo ST-Line
The Mondeo is aiming for user-choosers with a sporty makeover, explains Alex Grant.
SECTOR Upper Medium PRICE £25,095-£30,360 FUEL 52.3-65.7mpg CO2 112-141g/km
Spearheaded by its RS-branded models, Ford has long been a brand known for bringing performance to the masses. But it’s also fiercely protective of the badges which make the fastest Fords special, avoiding using them as part of a styling package until now.
ST-Line is a piece of the same jigsaw that the Vignale models also make up; an attempt to broaden the appeal of the Ford range into new areas. It’s cut from the same cloth as the likes of S line, M-Sport and AMG Line; a bodykit, bigger wheels, stiffer and lower suspension, and interior upgrades hinting at performance which isn’t really there, for drivers who either don’t want or need it. Ford’s is a four-part model range, of Fiesta, Focus, Kuga and Mondeo.
Behind its Mustang-like three-section grille, the Mondeo is offered with a wider choice of engine versions than a ‘proper’ ST model – in this case, the 148bhp and 177bhp 2.0-litre diesels. There’s a six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddles available for both, and the latter can have four-wheel drive. Ford is also offering it for the estate, though curiously the fastest Mondeo is still the Titanium, which is the only version offered with the 207bhp diesel.
Still, it’s a complementary meeting of minds. Fords tend to drive well, and the Mondeo is a great base to work from. Bigger wheels and stiffer suspension haven’t trashed the ride quality, but confident handling, mid-rev muscle from the diesel engines and plenty of steering feedback mean it feels suitably warm for the ST badges, if not hugely more entertaining than the standard car.
Of course, that’s a criticism you can level at similar offerings elsewhere. This segment’s non-premium buyers might have moved en masse to crossovers recently, but the ST-Line might help remind them that they don’t have to.