Buying used: Ford Mondeo vs Peugeot 508 vs Skoda Superb

Buying used: Ford Mondeo vs Peugeot 508 vs Skoda Superb
Buying used: Ford Mondeo vs Peugeot 508 vs Skoda Superb

Three good-value used estate cars offer a lot for the money

All three of these big estate cars has lost around two thirds of their value already, meaning they offer a great deal of money for the metal. But does that make them a great deal?

They’re certainly a viable option if you want space and comfort and the ability to move a load of gear – and you don’t fancy an SUV or an MPV. Estates seem to have fallen out of favour slightly, but there’s no good reason why. These three show why they should still be on the shortlist. They’re only about five years old, but cost in the £7-8000 area, and have all the positive qualities they had when they were new and considerably more expensive.

Driving

Ford Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCI Zetec

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
List price when new: £21,945
Price today: £7000
Power: 114bhp
Torque: 199lb ft
0-60mph: 12.4sec
Top speed: 113mph
Economy: 65.6mpg)
CO2 emissions: 114g/km

One reason they’re not more money is that they all have 1.6-litre diesels, which might sound like small beer to haul such loads around. In the Skoda you do feel like you’re waiting around a moment for things to happen. It’s not slow but it’s not surging forward strongly either. Both the Ford Mondeo and the Peugeot 508 feel more sprightly, with the Mondeo edging ahead.

The Peugeot might do better if the semi-auto gearbox was a bit more decisive and focused on its task. It tends to either dither or jerk, and only really works if you wrestle control away and use the paddles – but this isn’t that sort of car. However, the handling is quite crisp for such a big car, which is fun, but the firm ride and heavy steering really aren’t.

The Skoda errs on the firm side too, doubtless in an effort to keep that body from swaying about too much. In this it’s pretty successful, and the steering is well weighted, so it’s better than the Peugeot. But not as good as the Ford.

The Mondeo just has the whole handling, steering and ride package sewn up tight. Handling and ride are supple and compliant and the steering tells you what’s going on, and what’s going on is a performance that is way beyond what a lot of estate cars can manage. It’s also so quiet in the cabin that you’d swear you were in a really premium brand.

Interior

Skoda Superb Estate 1.6 TDI 105 SE

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
List price when new: £21,685
Price today: £8000
Power: 103bhp
Torque: 184lb ft
0-60mph: 13.1sec
Top speed: 112mph
Economy: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 133g/km

The Mondeo also scores really well in that important department – cargo space. The boot is well shaped and there’s no lip to worry about either. It’s certainly a big and practical area, even if it is outdone in terms of actual space by the cavern that is the Skoda Superb’s boot. On the other hand the Skoda has a high lip so sliding stuff in can be a chore.

The Peugeot has lots of room as well, and you can fold down the rear seats easily. There’s lots of room for rear passengers in the 508, much like in the Ford, but again less than in the Superb.

Costs

We’ve got so used to seeing the Skoda come in as the well-equipped but cheapest car in a group test that it comes as a bit of a shock to find it the most expensive of the trio here. And, while we never believe official fuel claims, the Skoda’s 54.3mpg looks fairly poor against the Ford’s 65.6mpg or the Peugeot’s 67.2mpg. And that of course means the Skoda costs more in tax – £135 against £20 for the Peugeot and £30 for the Ford.

Peugeot 508 SW 1.6 e-HDi Active

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
List price when new: £21,975
Price today: £7000
Power: 110bhp
Torque: 202lb ft
0-60mph: 13.8sec
Top speed: 117mph
Economy: 67.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 110g/km

Those enticing figures for the Peugeot continue when you note it has the lowest servicing costs, helped by Peugeot’s scheme of allowing servicing at main dealers but using non-genuine parts. It should also be a fairly reliable car, much as for the other two – so often you get to this part with a premium brand and then you read just how poorly they feature in reliability surveys. No such worries here.

Verdict

In many ways the Ford Mondeo delivers a premium car performance, but the lack of badge will deter some buyers. Which is a shame, as it’s a great estate, with impressive handling and ride, and there’s loads of room as well. The punchy engine, sensible running costs and the sheer number to choose from are the final parts of the exercise that make the Ford Mondeo our winner.

The Skoda Superb comes a close second, helped by its cavernous size, classy interior and safe and secure handling and ride. However, as the most expensive here to buy and run, it excludes itself from top spot.

The Peugeot 508 again has a great deal going for it, including low costs. It handles and rides well, and the cabin feels very classy, surprisingly so. But it has the smallest boot and the transmission just doesn’t work that well. You wouldn’t regret buying this or the Skoda, but we’d still recommend the Ford Mondeo Estate. It really is a great deal.

Price today is based on a 2011 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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