Cruise control from Mondeo
THIS car, the Ford Mondeo, is feeling the pinch. It no longer figures in the country’s top 10 best sellers, though the more expensive BMW 3-Series, at which the latest Mondeo tilts, is there. So is the Vauxhall Insignia, admittedly a more recent arrival. Next up, the dazzling Peugeot 508, which I think hits the spot.
Ford gave the Mondeo a visual overhaul last autumn, dropping the saloon model in Britain and leaving the estate and the practical liftback – as tested here in its pukka Titanium X version.
There was a clutch of new or improved engines, though one does wonder how much choice we really need.
They include a 197bhp, 2.2litre diesel, the most powerful oiler so far from Ford, though a tiddler compared with some European rivals. There are interesting petrol engines, too, but Ford itself says that 90 per cent of sales will be diesel.
External changes brought a butcher bonnet profile and a subtler upper air intake, with a single styling bar carrying the Ford blue oval badge.
New options, though not fitted to the car Ford submitted for test, include a drowsiness monitor, automatic headlamp dipping, and a lane-departure warning.
Three engine versions, including the 2-litre diesel demo car, have variable intake vanes in the lower grille. There are 15 levels of closure, depending on road speed, engine fluid temperatures, demands of the cabin air conditioning and so on. At full closure, it achieves a six per cent gain in streamlining, boosting economy and speed.
Some models have brake energy scavenging to improve economy by charging the battery.
A surprising absentee at the new Mondeo party is stop-start ignition, which is a familiar item now on lots of brands.
The majority of new Mondeos cost more than £20,000. Prices open at £17,695 for the entry-trim Edge with a 118bhp, 1.6-litre petrol engine with five gears, rated at 41.5mpg, 159g/km CO2 and 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds.
Diesel models open at £19,095 for the 114bhp, 2-litre Edge six-speed (53mpg, 139g/km and 0-62 in 11.2 seconds).
The cheapest automatic is the 138bhp, 2-litre diesel Edge, at £21,145. The cheapest petrol automatic is the 200bhp, 2-litre, in Titanium X trim, at £24,945. (Add £1,250 for the estates).
My test car was the Titanium X liftback with the 160.7bhp, 2-litre diesel, costing £24,545. Other figures are 53.3mpg, 139g/km CO2 and 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. (An automatic gearbox would add £1,500.)
This is a quick car, helped by 251 lb ft of torque. It rides sweetly – usually a Ford quality – and handles well enough, unless you cane it coming off tight curves when the traction gets a little bit confused and truculent.
The “dark micastone” paint gave it some extra class for £495, and this latest Mondeo doesn’t look too shabby parked next to its betters.
At Titanium X level you get daytime LED lights, to put you on a par with all those Audis and Mercs.
The seats, clad in leather and suedette Alcantara, were comfy on a long journey.
Generally, I enjoyed a week as Mondeo Man.
Verdict: Maintaining its dignity. Capable and roomy long-distance cruiser.
More: 0845 841 1111.
ROOMY CRUISER: Ford’s Mondeo.