The latest Ford Mondeo / Fusion has received a lot of praise ever since it was launched, mainly because of its looks. Customers and punters alike seem to be falling over themselves in praising the Aston-esque grille and aggressive headlight treatment at the front, many claiming it’s one of the best looking in its class. I am not one of those people…
OK, so before I start I do have to admit that I do like the front treatment on the Mondeo – it is unusually aggressive for the class but manages to look natural rather than forced or off-putting. It is a much nicer front overall than the surprised/stepped-on fish look of the Mondeo Mk III, and the grille looks better than on e.g. the facelifted Focus.
No, the reason I think the Mondeo is really overrated styling-wise is that, to my eyes, the car just looks bloated, fat and heavy. OK, so it would be unreasonable to expect the midsize sedan to have the slenderness of the Evos concept that inspired it, but from the side the Mondeo looks like the metal area below the window-line is some 10-15% too tall. This gives the car a heavy look, not helped but the dumpy and awkwardly-placed wing-mirrors and weak fender definition that accentuates the too-small wheels. And then there is the character line, which because it extends from the top of the headlights ends up being too high, thus failing to visually break up the expanse of metal on the doors, and robs the car of a dynamic look by drooping slightly as it nears the rear.
Ah, the rear… The less said about this view the better in my opinion. Not only does it look every bit as plump and tall as it actually is (ever notice how modern sedans are some 10-15cm taller at the back than they were even a decade ago?), this look is accentuated by rear lights that are just not quite right (to me they sit too high up, plus their graphic lacks a slimming horizontal motif).
So, does this make the Mondeo/Fusion a bad car? Of course not, but its telling that reaction to it has been very different on either side of the Atlantic. While it’s been lauded as a giant leap over the previous Fusion in the US (which it is, without a doubt) in Europe it is viewed as “too little, too late”, given how it arrived there a full three (!) years later after it came out in the US, and will probably continue losing sales to the all-conquering and sleek-looking VW Passat. Funny how things have changed since 1995, when the sleek new Mondeo was kicking the butt of the fat VW Passat!