Fast Ford - - Buyer’s Guide Mondeo St220 -

Un­doubt­edly the ST220’s crown­ing glory, its fac­tory sus­pen­sion setup pro­vides won­der­fully poised han­dling, hot-hatch agility and a re­mark­ably com­fort­able ride qual­ity. If the car you’re test­ing doesn’t feel sharp and pre­cise, some­thing’s not right. The ST220’s stan­dard front end was far re­moved from the run- of-the-mill Mon­deo, com­bin­ing a few Mk3 parts with Jaguar X-Type 3.0 com­po­nents, spe­cially-tuned dampers, 15mm-low­ered springs and shorter anti-roll bar links.

Front anti-roll bar bushes are weak, lead­ing to vague han­dling – although this could also be due to a dry steer­ing col­umn bush or poor wheel align­ment. Mon­deos are par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive to steer­ing ge­om­e­try, which also re­sults in ex­ces­sive wear to those 225/40R18 tyres.

Rear sus­pen­sion parts are shared with reg­u­lar Mk3s, mean­ing sa­loons and hatch­backs con­sume rear sub­frame bushes, re­sult­ing in a sloppy, clonk­ing rear end and re­cur­rent MoT fail­ures; polyurethane re­place­ments are the fit-and-for­get so­lu­tion. The ST220 es­tate has an en­tirely dif­fer­ent rear sus­pen­sion lay­out ( shared with the Jaguar X-Type) and doesn’t suf­fer such bush prob­lems; you should, though, check the rear arms for dis­tor­tion caused by jack­ing in the wrong place.

All ST220s wear out their wheel bear­ings reg­u­larly, which rum­ble when rolling along. The front bear­ings are stock Jaguar X-Type parts, so they’re not dif­fi­cult or ex­pen­sive to source. The same can be said for front wish­bones, ball joints and sus­pen­sion links, while rear bear­ings are reg­u­lar Mon­deo kit.

On the sub­ject of wheels, don’t be sur­prised to see an ST220 with tatty al­loys. The fac­tory 7.5x18in 16-spokes orig­i­nally fea­tured a funky di­a­mond- cut fin­ish, which looked fan­tas­tic for a few years be­fore the lac­quer peeled away and cor­ro­sion took hold from un­der­neath. Re­fur­bish­ment is an ex­pert task but pow­der- coat­ing, re­spray­ing or re­plac­ing is an eas­ier so­lu­tion. That said, an ST220 on non-stan­dard al­loys never looks quite right.

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