What is it?
This is the all-new Ford Mondeo hybrid. It’s the first time that Ford has sold a petrol-electric car this side of the Atlantic and like the rest of the range it’s closely related to its American sister, the Fusion.
Like the rest of the 2014 line up, plenty of work has gone in to make it more appealing to European buyers. However, because of the anticipated low take up of the hybrid – it’s expected to take just three per cent of sales - Ford hasn’t gone the whole hog. Which is why the hybrid version will only be available as a saloon and only with a CVT gearbox when it goes on sale in January.
That ‘box is allied to a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 35 kilowatt electric motor, adding up to 184bhp. It produces just 99g/km of CO2 and returns a claimed 67.2mpg, giving it an advantage over the nearly identically priced 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel option in both cases.
What's it like?
Terrifically refined. Like every new Mondeo it’s an extremely quiet cruiser. There’s barely a murmur from the engine when you’re up to speed and other outside irritations such as wind and road noise are kept well in check. It’s just as hushed at urban speeds, too.
You’ll detect a mildly firmer ride than the diesel or conventional petrol cars but this is still a supple car, far more so, in fact, than almost any rival you care to name. It embarrasses an Audi A4, let alone a Toyota Prius.
The downsides are that it doesn’t feel quite as nimble as, say the Mondeo 2.0-litre turbodiesel and isn’t as sprightly off the mark or when you’re trying to build up pace. It also suffers from the customary blight of accelerating in hybrids fitted with CVTs: the feeling of engine speeds rising faster than road speeds, simulating a slipping clutch.
Elsewhere, though, it’s got the same virtues as the rest of the Mondeo line-up. So it’s spacious, even as a saloon, and the cabin and equipment levels are far plusher than anything we’ve seen from Ford before.
Should I buy one?
Whether this is a viable purchase really comes down to the numbers. There’s no doubt that Ford is offering this at an impressive price and the prospect of lowering company car tax bills will be tempting to some.