Once a dominant force in the volume saloon market, the Ford Mondeo has faced competition from increasingly talented rivals in recent years. With the all new model not due to reach showrooms until 2015, Ford has introduced two new additions to the line-up: Graphite – an entry level model aimed at retail customers, and the Titanium X Business Edition, tested here.
A trim and equipment upgrade, designed to appeal to tax conscious company car drivers. With company car tax based not only on a car’s emissions, but also on its value including optional extras, Ford has thrown in a generous amount of kit as standard, so the nations reps can have upmarket toys without being penalised for them by the tax man.
It’s available with a choice of four engines. The single petrol option is Ford’s brilliant 1.6-litre Ecoboost motor. Developing 158bhp, it has a similar punch to the 2.0-litre units of old, but with vastly improved CO2 emissions and fuel economy. Diesel power is provided courtesy of a 1.6-litre, developing 113bhp, and a 2.0-litre available with either 138bhp or 161bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard with a six-speed ‘Powershift’ automatic available as a cost option.
Ford has long held the upper hand when it comes to mainstream cars that offer an engaging drive and the Mondeo continues this trend. Even in its twilight years it has a litheness to its movement that makes ostensibly more upmarket rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat seem positively wooden. It has clearly been designed by people who know what drivers want: the driving position is good, all of the controls have a similar weight and tactility and body control is exemplary, with very little roll in hard cornering. However, this is likely to be of little concern to buyers, who will more likely spend their time cruising on the motorway. Here, the Mondeo’s credible refinement and torquey motors make it ideally suited to the job at hand.
While the leather seats and exposed stitching give an upmarket feel, there’s no getting around the fact that, in places, the Mondeo’s interior is starting to feel a little dated. The vast expanses of plastic surrounding the radio and some of the switchgear only serve to cheapen what is on the whole a very comfortable and agreeable cabin. That said, overall material quality is high, with most surfaces having a substantial feel. Titanium X models are also equipped with some nice tech features, including a large central display between the standard speedometer and rev counter, through which you can manipulate some of the high spec toys, including the digital radio and (optional) radar adaptive cruise control.
The Mondeo’s sheer size can initially seem daunting, particularly when driving around town. That said, parking sensors front and rear are included as standard and a rear-view camera is available as an optional extra. Happily, the exterior size translates into an exceptionally roomy cabin, which offers ample space for four to travel in comfort. The boot, too, is huge at 528 litres – just a few litres shy of the cavernous estate model with the rear seats in place. And, because the Mondeo is a hatchback, you needn’t worry about slotting larger items through a letterbox shaped hole like its saloon rivals.
Despite being around since 2007, Ford remains at the top of its game in this market sector. In reality, drivers are less likely to be buying for themselves, but rather passing the bill onto their company’s accounts department. However, even for private buyers, the Mondeo holds plenty of appeal, being better to drive and to look at than the sensible-shoes Volkswagen Passat and offering greater practicality and somehow being more likeable than the new Mazda 6. It may be in its dotage, but the Ford Mondeo has never been so good.
Don't want to buy new? You can browse for a used Ford Mondeo in our classifieds here.
Ford Mondeo Titanium X Business Edition 2.0 Duratorq TDCi
List price: £23,195
Price as tested: £25,145
Engine: 2.0-litre, four cylinder diesel, turbocharged
Top speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Fuel economy: 46.3mpg (urban), 67.3mpg (extra-urban) 57.7mpg (combined)
Emissions: 129g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars
August 30, 2013