The air conditioning had failed (which the dealer paid to have fixed). Usually the problem is simply down to the system needing a recharge and/or a change of pollen filter (ie it's effectively a service item rather than a fault). However the company who actually carried out the repair claimed the compressor had failed and that this was a common fault on 1998/99 Mondeos. Cost to fix was apparently about £350. Did the compressor really need replacing? I'll never know!
The near-side front wheel bearing had to be replaced (cost: £35). This is mysterious as the car had only done 50,000 miles (and there's no reason to suspect it's been clocked) and bearings normally last twice this distance. The dealer found it to be clogged with rust - a dodgy seal leading to water ingress, perhaps? NB: a REAR bearing would cost £150 as the entire wheel hub has to be replaced!
Once in a while the starter motor lets out a horrible shriek. I'll wait until it becomes more frequent when the fix will undoubtedly be a complete replacement.
Several demisting elements in the windscreen have failed - a problem that afflicts every Ford eventually. Considering Ford have been using these screens for fifteen years, one would have thought they would have sorted this out by now!
The windscreen washer hoses blew off the reservoir. This is a VERY common problem and simply down to a stupid design that would have cost Ford tuppence to cure. With precious little access space by the reservoir, fixing this problem requires extreme dexterity and perseverance!
Above problems aside, I love my Mondy! This growling tarmac terroriser is comfy, fast, smooth and handles amazingly well for such a big barge. Combining the attributes of a load-lugging workhorse, comfortable family carrier and performance chariot with a low used buying price, good reliability and reasonable running costs, I have yet to find a better all-round estate car. Build quality is generally good and the interiors are extremely hard-wearing.
Overall it has stacks of interior space but rear passenger legroom has been sacrificed somewhat (saloon and hatchback versions seem a tad better) to provide the vast payload area in the back. If you need to regularly transport adults in the back seats, check this out. Rear headroom, on the other hand, is fine - unlike the saloon and hatch.
Either the auto box has been improved in recent years or it suits the V6 engine better, as gear changes are noticeably smoother than the 2-litre version I owned previously.
Fuel consumption is a laudable 27mpg for mixed driving conditions - not bad for a vee-six self-shifter.
Although the standard aircon was uprated to a climate control system in 1999, this doesn't compensate for penny-pinching in other areas on these later Mondeos (which presumably occurred as a result of pressure to reduce list prices in the UK). The useful graphical information display is gone and the smart leather steering wheel of yesteryear is now downgraded to the standard "plastic" one. The top-of-the-range 7000-series radio-cassette has been replaced by the lesser 5000 unit, though thankfully the 6-disc CD-changer has been retained. The tactile nature of the "leather" upholstery makes it feel a bit cheap, to be honest, but it seems very hard-wearing. Perhaps these disappointments are trivial and, either way, the car is still loaded with electrical goodies! However in comparison to previous years, the 1999 model doesn't quite meet the prestige feel one expects of a Ghia X (If you're happy enough with standard aircon, a low-mileage 1998 model is arguably preferable). Nevertheless it is still way more aesthetically pleasing than any Vectra I've driven!
Although let down by poor quality in a few small areas, the Mondeo estate is a wonderful machine.