A hoot to drive
False alarms from car alarm. Cured by a trip to dealer who advised me against keeping coins near the sensors, and also reduced sensitivity of interior sensor.
In the 140 bhp guise the car is still a complete hoot to drive. The gearchange has a lovely chunky feel to it, and a short gearstick with a small throw. The steering is beautifully weighted and gives excellent feedback of what’s going on with the front wheels. The car drives very tightly through bends with no bodyroll, and just begs to be driven enthusiastically.
On a more practical note, the insurance is not bad at group 13 – as a 29 year old with full no claims this sets me back £620 (fully comp, Oxfordshire). Driven sedately the car is economical on fuel as well – when running it in I managed about 37 - 38 mpg keeping below 70 mph on runs. Now I generally get around 31-32 mpg which includes an element of daily city driving.
Sorry to be dull, but the boot is also a really useful size (much larger than the ‘family car’ Ford Focus!).
On the downside, the seat recline adjustment is annoying to use and has no memory when accessing the back seats. The bulk of the dashboard also looks like cheap plastic, although to be fair, it is very solid. When a car looks so great and is such fun to drive, who cares though?
With my exuberant driving style I got through the original Yokohama tyres on the front in 10,800 miles. The tyre dealer suggested using more expensive Goodyear Eagle F1s as replacements which have lasted longer. At 21,000 they have around 2.5mm of tread left. The pair of Goodyears cost me £226.79 – Yokohamas would have been around 30 quid cheaper.
Even the entry-level model (which I have) comes pretty well kitted out, with good-looking 16in alloys, air con, ABS, EBD, front fogs, 4 airbags, single slot CD player etc etc.
The car also feels very well built – the doors are very heavy and solid and almost any other car will feel flimsy in comparison. As a three door car visibility is good too, with the B pillar far enough back to never block your view. Visibility out of the back isn’t bad, but you will have to learn where the front of the car is when parking, as the bonnet slopes out of view.
In summary, the car is fantastic to drive and is an incredibly viable everyday car for singletons and couples. For Mondeo money you can have something that is great fun to drive, not too expensive to run, and hopefully should keep its value better. It certainly looks an awful lot better too!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th March, 2003