James Ruppert: why it's time to buy a Ford Mondeo
£5k can get you a decent-spec Mondeo from this decade
Mondeos are still good value, but are now becoming retro-cool
Farewell, then, Ford Mondeo. Apparently, the Blue Oval is just going to make trucks and Transits.
I’d be happy if it just stuck to small (Fiesta), medium (Cortina) and large (Granada), plus coupé (Capri). That is pure nostalgia speaking, though – and, in fairness, it does seem as though the Mondie will be around for a while yet, as saloons will only be off the menu in the USA from 2020.
Even so, I did spend some time on local radio lamenting the fact that you don’t see really old Mondeos for sale any more. And then I came across what must be the most expensive Mk1 Mondie you can possibly buy.
AWS Engineering is selling its Super Touring car. Apparently, the owner, Alan Strachan, worked on the cars back in the day and is selling his Rouse-built car for just £65k. The upside is that it’s ready to race.
That’s the used supercar Mondeo sorted, so what should we look for next? The Mondeo really is the spiritual successor to the Cortina and Sierra, except that it is actually comfy and nice to drive.
So are there any real Mk1s around? Probably, but a 137,000-mile 1.8-litre automatic from 1993 in faded red paint is probably the least desirable spec on earth. The asking price of £300 seemed optimistic, especially as there was no ticket.
Typical of the worn out, I did find a one-owner Mk2 2.0 Zetec from 1999. It was up for £265, and had 153,000 miles under its well-worn wheels and an expired MOT. No mention of why that might be. Presumably the owner has expired too. It had rusty wheel arches and many miles of gaffer tape to hold the bumpers together.
More sensible is to look for Mondies that don’t need work but are ready to work. Around £5000 strikes me as a solid budget and for that you can get a 2013 1.6 TDCi Eco Graphite. I found one with 10 stamps, 116,000 miles and a fresh clutch and flywheel. You should get 60mpg out of that. Plus, if you wanted some room, then a same- year estate in basic Edge spec and standout plastic wheel trims with just 88k miles can be yours.
If that’s a bit too sensible, then how about a 2007 2.5 Titanium X with 63k miles in a racy red, apparently called Colorado? £5000 isn’t that cheap, but it’s a very comfy way to get around. Actually, for £3000, you can get a 2.0 Zetec with 66k miles with a service and a new set of discs. That is what incredible value these models are.
Of course, even when all you can get from Ford are trucks and personal mobility solutions, you will still be able to buy Mondeos for the next 20 years at proper used vehicle outlets.
What we almost bought this week:
Alfa Romeo 159 – Every time an Alfa 159 appears, we get a pang of desire. It looks fantastic for what’s supposed to be a boring mid-range executive car. We’d love for them to be a bit cheaper, though. Look out for front subframe corrosion, and on diesels make sure the particulate filter isn’t clogged. Be wary of dual-mass flywheel failures on 2.0 diesels too.
Tales from Ruppert’s garage:
BMW 320 Automatic, mileage 81,430: It should not need saying that I use my cars. The BMW was bought to do long journeys and it just did 325 miles in a day. Proper modern motorway stuff. Starting from stone-cold remains problematic, though. Consequently, we are off to see a well-known specialist in a few weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, the Cooper goes in for a once-over to look at the overheating issue, so more on that to come. The Flying Pig needs an MOT and I’ve found a specialist with all the proper diagnostic gear who will also do a service. Oh, and the Lorry needs an MOT. So it will be a busy and expensive time.
Nissan Primera: You might remember David Gaunt because, in 2015, we featured his 2002 Nissan Primera estate. He says: “After three years of happy use and solid reliability, I decided to replace it… with another Primera. Why not? I love these cars.
“I found this beauty less than 10 miles away. Granted, it did need a new clutch, but the sellers paid half towards it. It is a 2004 SE 1.8 with the luxury of a sunroof! Everything works and it had 72k miles and one owner. All for £495. Incredible value. What a car!”
Q. Now the nights are beginning to draw in, I’ve noticed my car’s headlights aren’t great. I’ve seen these LED alternatives online. Should I try those? Bob Averbrook, via email
A. Unless your car came with them from the factory, the answer is no. It is illegal to use parts that are not designed for on-road use (most LED bulbs say they are for off-road use only) and do not comply with construction and use requirements. You run the risk of dazzling other road users due to your headlights not having been designed for the different light pattern of an LED bulb. Besides, the distance the light travels isn’t any greater due to the uncontrolled scattering of light. Buy a quality set of halogen bulbs and ensure the surface of your headlights is free of excessive dirt or is not cloudy. MA
Q. I’m getting a newer diesel car and it has AdBlue. I’m worried about how long it will last and where you get it. Can you help? Paul Oakes, via email
A. There are a number of places you can get AdBlue, so don’t worry about availability. Your local dealership can either refill your car for you or sell you a bottle of it. It will most likely be cheaper to go to a motor factor or a petrol station where 1.5- and 10-litre bottles can be bought. If you’re planning on doing lots of miles, it might be worthwhile buying 10 litres when there’s a sale on. MA
Source: Autocar Online