Review: The Ford Mondeo ST 200
When you think about the bark of a V6 and responsive, nippy steering, your mind probably doesn’t instantly jump to the Ford Mondeo. But this Mondeo, refined on the back-streets of Essex, has both of those things and more. I’m of course talking about the Mondeo ST200, the BTCC inspired loon-machine of the late 90s and early 2000s.
Now, I must admit, I’m not one to really say I’ve been a huge fan of the Mondeo. I think the Mondeo replacing the Escort for the long saloon-style wheelbase was a bit of an odd proposal but who am I to judge, or know any better than industry bods who have the data and know the trends eh? I had, of course, heard of the ST200 and that it was a “good car” but I didn’t really understand the hype behind it until I got my grubby mitts on it.
Initial impressions were very blue and very round. The colour, in all fairness, is actually very impressive in person. The addition of mesh on the grill certainly adds a “sporty” feel to the front end alongside the aggressive bumper and rear boot spoiler.
Let’s start with the basics. The Mondeo ST200 has a 2.5 litre V6 producing a modest 202bhp. But its party trick is that it also chucks out a respectable 173 lb-ft of torque, which when putting your foot down for the very first time, catches you off guard massively. It has a top speed of 141 mph and can get to 60mph in about 7 and a half seconds. It’s got a manual five-speed which feels fantastic between shifts, having great feedback of the gear change but is easy to execute. The clutch also is surprisingly comfortable when changing up and down with the biting point being easy to find.
However, it is front-wheel drive, which in my opinion, is the only drawback of this car. Perhaps it’s me with my old-fashioned ways but I’ve always preferred a long-wheelbase car to be either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This being said, I can not fault it as a driving experience. It’s incredibly thrilling and rewarding to drive, even at slower speeds.
If you’re a lover hot hatches, you’ll utterly love the ST200 as you get that “point and go” feeling from the front end. The wheels encourage confidence and certainly invites excitement. The brakes feel firm and have a good feel through the pedals, something which I personally take quite seriously. Some cars don’t have much feeling through the brake pedal, whether that be the brakes being too spongy or too firm. This is not an issue whatsoever in the ST200 which is nice to see.
Interior is typically 2000s era Ford, borrowing a lot from the Focus of the time. I’m not a big fan of the slightly tacky dash trim or blue highlights scattered across the interior. Nor am I overly fond of the roundness that seems to be a trend across the whole car, but I can appreciate that this was reflective of the styling of the period.
The seats are comfortable and provide a good driving position, even for my below-average height.
I think for me, what makes it though is the exhaust note. Hearing the aggressive bark of a V6 coming out of the tail end of a Mondeo isn’t just intoxicating, it’s borderline comical. The engine really gives you a surprise at around 3,600 RPM and genuinely sounds fantastic.
What’s even more amazing is that, right now at the time of this article being written, ST200 are selling on the used car market for no more than £1,500 which is an absolute steal for what you get at the price.
If you’re thinking about getting yourself an ST200 and have come to this review looking for confirmation or reassurance, I’m probably the wrong person. But what I can give you is my honest opinion.
Go for it.
All in all, the Mondeo ST200 has surprised me more than I can express and well exceeded my expectations. So much so, that I’m now trawling eBay and Autotrader for them. I’d like to say that they could potentially be a solid future investment too with “Fast Fords” seemingly fetching ridiculous prices over the years.
Summary: The Mondeo ST200 is a pleasantly surprising addition to the fast Ford lineup, offering easy thrills and a pleasurable driving at a relatively low-cost price. The V6 is snappy and responsive and the handling certainly compliments that. A very fun car.
Massive thank you to Great Escape Cars for inviting us along to try out their fleet and do this review.