So with the 2007 Diesel Focus totaled and a new job much closer to home, it was time to change cars again. In Denmark diesel cars are taxed harder than gasoline cars but diesel is cheaper, so if you drive longer, a diesel makes more sense and if you only have a short commute, get a gasoline car.
So I was in the market for a gasoline car. I wanted something nicer and more luxurious-feeling than the Focus, but I did not want to take out a loan to get it. Oh, and I would prefer something other than a Ford as I’m curious about other makes. Certainly, a Mondeo would be the most obvious choice as that is just one step up the ladder from the same company. So not one of those. Other than that I was open to anything.
But man, those Mondeos keep popping up. When new, these were considered best in class and they remained so for the duration of their production run with only the Volkswagen Passat being favored by some magazines.
I could go with something in the Focus class again, but it would have to be newer and nicer and return great mileage – a so-so fuel consumption would make me partial toward a larger car with the same. Obviously, fuel efficient cars come at a premium in a country like Denmark where car ownership is expensive.
After spending a couple of weeks narrowing down the search, I was leaning towards two alternatives with a couple of cars to choose from within our deliberately limited budget: The Opel Astra G and … the Mondeo. We went to drive both one day and that sealed the deal. Now to find the right example.
I found one in the other end of Denmark. The seller was willing to budge a bit on the price and he was coming to visit family near me so we agreed he and his wife would drive over in two cars on the assumption I would buy the Mondeo, which I did. For 57,000 DKK it was mine. It is hard to describe just how much nicer this car drove than the Focus – so smooth and comfortable. I drove it and its contemporaries when new, while I was working for Avis and this is so much better than the competition in 2009.
When driving this car with its comfortable demeanor and very competent handling for a car this size you are really left feeling it has only one shortcoming: it lacks power. 145 bhp from a naturally aspirated 2-liter four power is only adequate. That detracts somewhat from the overall impression.
On the positive side, though, the car is spacious. The trunk is huge and easily carried all our summer holiday luggage recently and with room to spare.
I think it looks great in its Thunder Metallic hue which I think is green-ish but most people think is blue-ish. It has a body kit which I assume it has had since delivery but I have not checked if it is indeed original. What I did discover upon taking ownership of it, though, is that it is lowered, and it does get into close contact with its surroundings. I think it looks great lowered, but I’d prefer it wasn’t as it makes it less practical and there are just not many things worse than hearing that unexpected scrape from under the car.
So far it does great. I asked the previous owner before driving it if it had any issues that he knew of. He said that the heated seats had stopped working. I googled that and many had solved the issue by simply unplugging and plugging the switches. I hoped I would be able to do the same and I was. A few weeks into ownership it started to bog under load. I did the OBDII diagnosis and googled the code. That would likely be a panel with two solenoids that needed replacement. I switched the lines for the two to see if that helped. It did, so I ordered the 100 USD part and it solved the issue.
It has a leaky fuel line over the head which is not ideal. A replacement line had been used over the leaky bit but now that was leaking. I have replaced the replacement and it is working for now.
The car sounds as if it has a small leak in the exhaust but it has not got worse over the past 7,000 kilometers, so I think it may just be the exhaust note on this thing – a sexy tune it is not.
I have not done much to it – I changed the oil right away and plan on doing so again before winter. I put a rubber mat in the trunk as that is the only sensitive thing to do when it is used as a hard-working family car. I put a vinyl cover over the backseat to protect the seat from whatever might end there falling out of the hands of my kids. An aux-cable and a phone holder are the final upgrades so far.
So it is with mixed feelings that I cross the 200,000 kilometer mark (124,000 miles) in it. It has already seemed more trouble-prone than my two previous cars, and the lack of power is worse than I thought when test driving these. But on the plus side it is very comfortable and on long trips it is just stellar.
So I plan to keep it – unless someone wants to buy it.