5th Jan 2006, 11:38
Thanks for the review, I'm mad on Mondeos too, I've owner too many to re-call, my most loved a 1998 2.0 Ghia X Estate, so the comparison is very useful.
I'm thinking about going for a car the same as yours, but a manual. So thumbs up for helping me make my mind up, I'm almost there now, just need to justify the fuel costs!
17th Mar 2007, 08:08
I am the poster of the original review. The car has now covered just over 40,000 miles...
A few faults have emerged since my last report...
The tailgate locking motor had to be changed early on in the car's life and, strangely, the replacement one failed in exactly the same way at around 35,000 miles.
About the same time a hairline crack was discovered in the catalytic converter - apparently the car would have failed its MOT had this been spotted by the examiner! My dealer surmised that the cat must have always had this problem and was caused either by faulty manufacture or had been damaged during original factory fitting.
The dashboard switch for the passenger heated seat started playing up a few weeks ago. Getting inside the switch body proved to be very difficult: they are clearly not designed to be readily disassembled. But I managed to get in and sort the problem. The internal design of the switch seems quite clever, but the mechanism is of a very "delicate" design and it's clear to see why it would be prone to drifting out of adjustment, so I'm surprised this doesn't seem to be a common problem.
Other than those niggles, I have experienced no other faults.
The original rear brake pads were replaced at a very reasonable 40,000 miles. Oddly, for a front-wheel drive car, the front ones still have a lot of life left in them, though will certainly need changing some time before 50,000 miles.
Meanwhile handling, performance and ride quality continue to be top notch.
30th Aug 2008, 17:19
I somehow forgot to post an update at 50,000 miles - the car is now approaching 60k!
I'll get the negatives out of the way first and leave the best until last...
I originally reported that the timbre of "helpful" warning bleeps was annoying. Amusingly something has gone wrong in the bowels of the dashboard in that the tones are now distinctly raspberry-like! (I'm guessing a little loudspeaker somewhere has developed a fault).
Occasionally when I fill the tank, the gauge and trip computer continue to insist it is still empty. The needle on the gauge gradually starts to rise but I need to cover a good twenty miles before it reaches the correct position. I'm guessing that the float in the tank is getting stuck. This glitch will doubtless become more frequent but I can live with it for the time being. (Besides the accuracy of the gauge has always been poor - but I've never commented on it until now because this has been the case on every Ford I've ever owned!)
On starting from cold, the car exhibits two minor problems: the auto gearbox holds on to first a little too long and then causes the car to lurch forward when it does shift up. After that, though, the 'box behaves itself for the remainder of the journey. Will get the auto transmission fluid changed at the next service.
On pulling up at the first junction from a cold start, there is a mild clonk from the front of the car. I'm guessing a suspension bush needs changing somewhere. Again, though, this only ever happens once during a journey.
A small area of paint under the front passenger door window rubber has become a murky brown-red discolour. I suspect it's actually rust caused by water being trapped under the rubber. Tinworm has also started on one of the roof rails - quite bizarre considering they are completely covered in a plastic/rubber compound, which now exhibits telltale bubbling.
If all this seems rather nit-picking, well it's only because I can't find any other faults with this five-year-old car, which remains brilliant! The handling seems as sharp as ever but the ride comfort along the twisty and pot-holed roads close to home actually seems to have improved even further over the last ten thousand miles. Perhaps the tyres have reached some sort of optimum tread depth and/or condition?
Actually that reminds me that "consumables consumption" on this car has been amazingly low. Aside from the usual oil and filter changes, the only other replacements parts have been a set of tyres and brakes pads - not bad for a V6 monster!
The cabin remains completely devoid of squeaks and rattles. Despite regularly ferrying four adults, the leather seats and all other trim remain very fresh-looking.
I had originally intended to run this car for three years and then trade it in for a nearly-new Mk IV model (launched in 2007). But my car remains so reliable and great to drive, swapping it would be not only a pointless expense, it would seem an act of utter betrayal for the loyalty it has shown me!
18th Sep 2010, 04:34
This is my final report for the car as I have now sold it on (to a family member who was in urgent need of a cheap, solid, reliable estate car!). It has covered 75,000 miles, yet is still doing a fantastic job...
Looking back at my six years of ownership, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Mondeo Mk III. Other than the very few minor glitches reported earlier, it has been a superbly reliable car. Very hard-wearing, too: the upholstery is still in splendid condition and the entire interior remains solid. Most surprising is that I've never had to replace any suspension components - unlike earlier Mondeos, which needed a regular diet of fresh rubber "bushes" and the like.
Against my expectations, the problem with the fuel gauge hasn't recurred since I reported it.
A change of automatic transmission fluid wrought an amelioration of the gearbox's tendency to lunge on first change. However it is starting again now, so I think the key here is replacement of the ATF every 30,000 miles. (Officially Ford say it never needs changing but any engineer worth his salt will tell you that's nonsense!) Other than that, though, the 'box seems to be in fine fettle.
The clonk from the suspension turned out to be a broken front suspension spring, for which severe speed humps seem to be the most likely cause. I elected to replace both front springs, at a cost of £250.
Earlier this year I noticed that rust had started to develop along the bottoms of all four doors. The problem is due to faulty welding seam sealant, which flakes off and allows rain water in. It transpires that this is a very common problem on 2003 and 2004 Mondeos. Fortunately, with my car having a full service history, the dealer was able to sort it out under warranty. All credit to Ford who had the good grace to acknowledge it was a known fault and repair it.
Well, that's all, folks. The Mk IV was launched in 2007 and owners are beginning to suffer reliability and quality problems with that model, sadly. As such, I am convinced that its predecessor is the best all-round family car Ford has ever built.