In that way, the 1.0-litre feels not unlike a small-capacity diesel, only better sounding and with a broader rev-band. On paper it can’t match the 78.5mpg of Ford’s most efficient 1.5-litre diesel, and on the road I suspect the gap will be bigger still, such is the way you’ll rev an engine that, even giving its all, can accelerate the Mondeo from 0-62mph in only 12 seconds.
Can you tell it’s a lightweight unit? Not overtly. It’d take better helmsmanship than I can muster to know that this Mondeo was 28kg lighter in the nose than a 1.5 petrol I tried four days previously. It just drives like a Mondeo, although that’s no bad thing at all. In terms of ride flatness, steering accuracy and response, and honed control weights, the Mondeo is best in class.
Where it’s not is inside; a legacy of the One Ford programme that has the Mondeo doing service in markets where interior feel and perceived quality isn’t on a par with Europe’s.
Ford has done what it can for us, but you can’t disguise it completely. Park a Mondeo next to a Volkswagen Passat and pore over both interiors, and you can see why VW thinks the Passat can hold its own among BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Classes. The Mondeo cannot, but it is spacious front and rear, has comfortable seats, a big boot and easy cruising refinement.
Should I buy one?
Perhaps, but it’d take a specific set of circumstances, mostly financial. In this form the Mondeo starts from under 20 grand, which the aforementioned VW Passat does not. The Mondeo also has an increasingly large model range, through three body styles, including four-wheel drive (although not with this engine) and a diesel with up to 210bhp. There’s likely to be a Mondeo for everyone, then, but the reasons for choosing this variant are less compelling than you’d hope, and will most likely appear on a spreadsheet.
Ford Mondeo 1.0 Zetec
Price £19,995; 0-62mph 12.0sec; Top speed 124mph; Economy 55.4mpg; Co2 119g/km; Kerb weight 1476kg; Engine 3cys in line, 998cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 124bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 125lb ft at 1400-4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual