What is it?
The successor to another victim of European emissions regulations. Our favourite Ford Mondeo, the 2.2-litre 173bhp TDCi diesel, has bitten the dust, and been replaced by a smaller capacity diesel offering lower carbon emissions and EURO V compatability: this is it, the new 161bhp 2.0-litre TDCI Mondeo.
In making it EURO V compliant, Ford has fitted its 2.0-litre diesel engine with new injectors and a higher pressure commonrail injection system. The engine’s inlet manifold and exhaust gas recirculation system have been redesigned for faster warmup and better turbo response.
The result in this the most powerful oil-burning Mondeo now available is 161bhp and 251lb ft of torque: outputs that look less than generous next to those of the old 2.2, which served up 173bhp and 310lb ft on overboost, but that are counter-balanced by significantly lower fuel consumption and emissions.
What’s it like?
On our test route, Ford’s new high-output 2.0-litre TDCi performed willingly when roused. At idle – below 3000rpm, even – it’s a quiet and well-mannered engine, and when called upon, certainly provides urgent enough force.
Less impressive is the engine’s vocal coarseness above 3000rpm, and its relative lack of torque at lazier crank speeds. You do have to work this engine quite hard to feel the benefit of its extra helping of power and torque relative to Ford’s standard 138bhp diesel, and its combustion growl becomes borderline intrusive as you do so.
Its fuel economy isn’t brilliant, either: the 33mpg average we recorded is a way from Ford’s 50.4mpg claim, but it may be partly excused because our test car had done fewer than 100 miles, and because our test route was mainly urban.
The rest of this Mondeo’s performance is familiar and impressive, however - with one caveat. It handles and steers with class-leading precision and fluency, despite being one of the biggest and heaviest cars in its segment – but the sport suspension of our test car removed some of the Mondeo’s trademark absorbency from this car’s ride quality; we certainly wouldn’t opt for it.
Ford’s Powershift twin clutch gearbox is worth opting for, though. It doesn’t make the Mondeo any more economical or lower on CO2 than an equivalent manual, but certainly shifts more quickly than a conventional auto, and every bit as smoothly, and effectively takes much of the drudgery out of town mileage.
Should I buy one?
If you must buy right now, yes, because the Mondeo remains at the very head of its segment in all the ways that matter, and although this one isn’t as silky and effortless to drive as the outgoing Mondeo 2.2, it’s certainly very good.
Still, if you can afford to wait until the autumn to splash your cash, we’d recommend it. That’s because this particular new diesel Mondeo has come along just a few months before Ford’s first mid-life facelift of the whole Mondeo range.
That means the Blue Oval is currently working on a revised version of this car, and you can bet your Christmas bonus that’ll be better-handling, more refined and more economical.
Which isn’t to say that this car isn’t worth your money: just a warning that, before too long at all, it’ll probably look slightly less worth it.
Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 163 Titanium X
Price: £24,395; Top speed: 134mph; 0-62mph: 9.5sec; Economy: 50.4mpg; C02: 149g/km; Kerbweight: 1587kg; Engine type: 1997cc, 4 cyl in-line, turbodiesel; Power: 161bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 251lb ft at 2000-3250rpm; Gearbox: 6spd twin clutch semi-auto