Review: Ford Mondeo v Skoda Superb v Volvo S60 triple test

Review: Ford Mondeo v Skoda Superb v Volvo S60 triple test
Review: Ford Mondeo v Skoda Superb v Volvo S60 triple test

How does the latest Skoda Superb compare to the fun Ford Mondeo and posh Volvo S60?

The Skoda Superb is everything a car from the Volkswagen-owned Czech firm should be. Big, intelligently designed and superb value for money. The latest one is the best yet, but rivals haven’t stood still either – how does it fare against the latest Ford Mondeo and fleet-friendly Volvo S60?

Engine and performance

We chose to compare 2.0-litre diesel versions, and all three produce an identical 148bhp. However, they do so in very different ways. The Superb is the quickest of the three from a standstill, the S60 is the most flexible, while the Mondeo’s ample low-down torque is smothered by over-long gearing.

Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology

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★★★★★
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price: £23,280
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 251lb ft
0-60mph: 9.6sec
Top speed: 134mph
Fuel economy: Not tested
CO2 emissions: 108g/km

The Volvo’s engine is the quietest at speed too, which is good, considering the amount of road roar it generates. The other two have dronier engines, but they’re still far from noisy. More irritating may be suspension noise from the Skoda, not engine noise.

Ride and handling

When it comes to handling, the S60 is far less impressive. Its steering is vague, grip is mediocre and body lean is dramatic. The Skoda is far keener and more composed, and its steering is easy to judge. Still, though, the Ford leads the way for handling. It’s the class benchmark, in fact, and is a pleasure to drive.

The Ford’s ride isn’t as good as we remember in this Titanium-spec, though. The bigger wheels send more bumps through the cabin than our preferred Zetec trim. The Skoda had big wheels too, but it also had optional DCC adaptive suspension – in comfort mode, it was smooth, only becoming increasingly unsettled in normal and sport mode. And the Volvo? The reward for its soft handling is a plush ride.

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 150 Titanium

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★★★★☆
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Price: £25,095
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 258lb ft
0-60mph: 9.7sec
Top speed: 134mph
Fuel economy: 45.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 115g/km

Interior

The Volvo has a plush cabin too, as does the well-built Skoda. Both contrast with the surprisingly scratchy and cheap-feeling Mondeo. At least, like the Superb, it’s easy to use. The Volvo’s controls are fiddly, poorly-labelled and its infotainment screen is poor compared to the touchscreens of the other two.

These are all very roomy cars in the front, but only one carries this through to the rear: the Superb, which has executive car levels of back seat space. The Mondeo isn’t bad, though, but the S60 is much more cramped. Similarly, its saloon boot is also both uncompetitive and awkwardly shaped.

The Mondeo is much bigger, but the Superb is bigger still. It dominates here, with a huge, square load space and yet more capacity when you fold the seats. Our only gripe is the step in the floor when you do so.

Running costs

All three are fuel-efficient, but the Volvo is the most efficient of all. Its margin of superiority over the Skoda is, however, small: just £100 in tax over a three-year period for company car drivers. The Mondeo is much more off the pace. Higher CO2 emissions mean it will cost £1000 more than the Superb in tax over three years.

The Mondeo suffers heavy depreciation as well, and its True MPG figure of 45.1mpg was some way off the 51.3mpg of the Volvo. We weren’t able to test the Superb but, assuming it put in similar figures to the others, it would be the cheapest to run for private buyers. Surprisingly, the Mondeo would thus work out the most expensive, not helped by its steeper list price than the Skoda.

Volvo V60 D3 Business Edition

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★★★☆☆
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Price: £24,545
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 236lb ft
0-60mph: 9.6sec
Top speed: 134mph
Fuel economy: 51.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 102g/km

Ford does equip the Mondeo well, but so does Skoda with the Superb. They both get upmarket features, with the Ford boasting a traffic sign recognition system and the Skoda gaining adaptive cruise control. All cars, however, have sat nav, climate control and cruise control. Euro NCAP crash safety? The S60 hasn’t been tested, but the Ford and Skoda both gained five stars.

Verdict

Overall, one car is clearly left lagging: the Volvo. The others are well ahead, and it’s actually hard to split the Ford and Skoda. They will, however, appeal to different buyers. The Mondeo is less impressive to company car drivers, but makes more sense to private buyers, if they can swallow the heavy depreciation.

We think the Superb is the best overall, though. It’s not quite as good to drive as the Mondeo, but in every other respect it nudges ahead. The complete package is very hard to beat and, overall, we think it’s a phenomenal amount of car for the money.

 

 

 

 

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