With its focus on frugality, wheelworldreviews editor DAVID HOOPER says the ECOnetic versions of the Mondeo only serve to make the car a more attractive proposition.
IT’S a while since I’ve driven a Ford Mondeo and although I know it to be a good car, I’d forgotten just how good a car it is.
You might think I’m mad, but I honestly preferred it to the £60,000 BMW 550 GT I tested prior to the Mondeo’s arrival. Palatially luxurious and hugely powerful the BMW may be, but its questionable ride quality meant, that for me, the big Mondeo is a nicer car to drive, particularly on our pot-holed streets.
This estate model featured Ford’s version of the green technology that is being introduced to most manufacturer’s line-ups. Ford has christened theirs ECOnetic, and without getting too technical, what you get in a nutshell is a frugal engine and tyres which offer less rolling resistance to the road so the engine doesn’t have to work so hard to make the car move. The resulting low C02 output (139g/km) and therefore lower VED (Band E) costs, has the additional benefit of making the cars cost-effective to fleet managers and company car drivers alike, as well as private buyers who feel they want to do their bit for the environment.
There is a choice of three diesel powered ECOnetic estates, a 1.8 at £22,622, the 2.0 version I’ve been testing, or a plusher version with the Titanium trim.
My test car was the 115PS model, which, may not be the quickest thing on paper, is more than adequate in real world conditions. The 0-62mph dash takes 11 seconds, while the top speed is 118mph, but in every day use the car proved a comfortable, useful and capable companion that will lap-up long trips with ease, cruising at motorway speeds in near silence if you turn the radio down. Its 236lb ft of torque means that once on the move, the car will pull strongly through the gears, meaning A-road overtakes can be completed quickly and safely. Another ECOnetic addition are green arrows on the dash which remind you to change up or down the gearbox if you hold a gear too long and start wasting fuel. If you take notice of them, they can help you improve your driving. It’s fun trying to drive without them coming on at all, which means you are eking out as many miles as you can to your increasingly expensive gallon of diesel.
My test car was equipped with plenty of standard kit, which included ESP, sports suspension, cruise control and a Quickclear front window, which was brilliant on one of the last frosty mornings of the winter, clearing the screen in seconds.
There was also a good selection of options included. The 16in alloy wheels improved its looks, and the Bi-Xenon headlights were so bright I was dazzled by the reflection of some road signs on main beam on a country road at night! The DVD navigation system was easy to operate, and the front and rear parking sensors were also a big help, as the Mondeo is not a small car.
The half-leather seats gave the interior a classy look and the Mondeo’s chairs are as comfortable as they are good looking on a long trip. I covered almost 500 miles in this car, with plenty of town work, and a trip to Northamptonshire and back which saw an average fuel consumption of 49.3mpg on that return trip. Had it not been for a lot of stop-start driving on the M1 thanks to an accident causing chaos, it would probably have been better still.
Estate cars are also great from a practical viewpoint, and I was impressed by the Mondeo’s huge, flat load area which was called into service on the very first day the car arrived. I had to rescue my son whose bike had got a puncture. We simply dropped the rear seats, and his full size mountain bike fitted perfectly in the back of the car. Taking care not to scratch the painted top edge of the bumper with the pedal, we didn’t need to remove bike’s wheels or lower the saddle to fit it in, as has sometimes been the case with other “estate” cars.
I’m a big fan of the Mondeo. It’s a spacious, comfortable and practical family car and the ECOnetic versions make them very cost effective, too.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Ford Mondeo ECOnetic Estate 115PS.
MONDEO ESTATE RANGE: From 1.6i (110ps) Edge (£20,322) to 2.5T Titanium X Sport (£30,743).
ENGINE: 1997cc, 115PS four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 139g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 118mph. 0-62mph in 11.1 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 42.8mpg.
Fuel tank: 70 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 7.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.