While I really did like the car in many ways, I just never really liked it. I see why I liked it when I bought it on May 8th 2020. Even though Mondeos are a dime a dozen in Denmark, it looks fairly good and the color is nice. Furthermore this one came with a body kit of some sort – I don’t know if it was OEM or not. Inside it had a snappy looking interior with pleasant looking bolstered seats that were very comfortable. It had tinted windows in the back for the kids which was nice on a hot summer day. The trunk is huge on these and the handling is really, really good for a FWD car of this size. But…
There were things about it I wasn’t that pleased with: this one was the Titanium model which among other things meant it came with a little screen in the instrument cluster. But that screen did nothing more than what two lines of text did in my previous Ford Focus’ display – it was just bigger and in color.
Another thing I didn’t like was that it was lowered. I did not notice this until after I got the car. It made it a great handler, but it also made it a poor city car. My driveway has a rather steep curb meaning I could only reverse in or it would scrape. And there are speed bumps throughout my neighborhood – KKKKRRRSSSSJJJHHH!!! – KKKKRRRSSSSJJJHHH!!! – KKKKRRRSSSSJJJHHH!!! (as Tom Wolfe would put it). And the lowered suspension was also stiffer – I really don’t know why I didn’t notice on the test drive. This car’s raison d’être was to be a comfortable family car, and for that purpose nobody wants a stiff suspension.
But those I could live with. Stuff I struggled with was the fact that during winter, the opening mechanism in the doors would freeze in a noose somewhere inside the door (from what I could read online). In cold weather the windows would also freeze stuck around the edge. So you would sit inside the car in the morning wanting to get out. Then you would pull the door handle to no effect, and then the fix would typically be to roll the window down and use the outside door handle. But the window would be stuck, and guess what: so would you. That is just an inexcusably poor and dangerous design.
Furthermore, there was a funny smell you could sometimes smell inside the car – the sweet scent of gasoline. Add to that the fact that you’re stuck inside the car and you start to feel like you’re driving a Pinto rather than a Mondeo.
And about that gasoline smell, that was from a cracked fuel pipe with numerous bends made out of brittle plastic. It spewed gasoline over the engine and it cracked in not one place but in two. If Ford had saved the money on the useless screen, I’m sure they could have splurged two dollars on a durable fuel pipe.
It comes back to one of my main grievances with many new cars summed up in the term “perceived quality”. This Mondeo was really nice on the perceived quality parameter, but fell through completely on the actual quality parameter.
Oh, and the driveline was weird in the sense that in normal driving it would feel fine and like you had plenty of power, but when you actually reached for it, it would go “nope, we’re fresh out.” It had just enough power and the gearing was juuuust fine. But no more. To me a car feels nice and luxurious when it offers stuff you know is there but that you rarely use. This one did not have that.
So long story short, I grew weary of it. We paid 59,000 DKK for it (about 8,500 USD) and it looked really nice, so it was good enough that I needed to take care of it. But since I did not love it, I did not really want to. At this price point, not taking care of it would mean throwing too much money away, but taking good care of it would not necessarily be justified by its value. I needed to solve that paradox.
You can basically go two ways to solve this: Buy something nice enough that’s it’s worth taking proper care of, or buy something worn enough that it doesn’t matter if you fix every little thing that goes wrong.
Even though I was making significantly more than when we bought the Mondeo one year prior, I still don’t like using that much of my income paying for the depreciation, so my response to this conundrum was to go cheap: Sell this one and buy something cheaper that is a bit scruffy but of actual quality, so that it can be driven into the ground and when it’s time for replacement or junkyard, it does not represent a value I cannot accept throwing away.
My wife was more or less onboard with this idea, though, as we will see in the next installment, things did not exactly go as planned.
I ended up selling it on the 17th of June 2021 after getting a year of decent service out of it. It sold for 54,000 DKK (7,800 USD) meaning a very acceptable depreciation of around 700 USD at today’s exchange rate. However, various repairs and maintenance items (I swapped some solenoids in the engine bay, it got new rear rotors and calipers, a new, heated windscreen and various bits and pieces) ended up at 2,500 USD on top of that so it was not exactly cheap to own – but not crazy expensive either. Here it is leaving with its new owner:
For my next car I wanted something I really liked. It would mean a compromise on some parameters as we were going to go cheap – and maybe we went a compromise too far. But for the first time since my Alfa Romeo 75, I got something I thought was really cool.
My previous COALs: