What is it?
Is there another model that says ‘company car’ louder than the Ford Mondeo? Probably not, but the big Ford's ubiquity has never taken anything away from its brilliant driving dynamics and, in estate form, its serious amount of space and practicality.
While the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel will account for the bulk of sales, this 114bhp 1.6-litre version will be the one starring on posters on the walls of your company's accounts department. It emits just 99g/km of CO2, is claimed to be capable of 74.3mpg and isn't woefully short of torque, with 199lb ft available from 1750rpm.
So it stacks up financially and has a history of being entertaining to drive, but does the new Mondeo estate prove to be a better proposition today than rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf estate and Skoda's similarly capacious Octavia estate?
What's it like?
There's enough performance from the 1.6 diesel for it to feel comfortable around town and when overtaking on the motorway, but you need to keep a closer eye on which gear you're in than with the 2.0-litre at low speeds.
Unfortunately, however, the new Mondeo estate has lost some of it's handling prowess. There's plenty of grip, yes, and body control is tidy enough, but the new electronic steering just doesn’t give the same feedback as the old car’s hydraulic rack, and it doesn’t weight up enough in fast driving.
The ride is far more impressive. On its standard 16-inch wheels, the Mondeo Zetec deals with speed bumps brilliantly, while it smoothes out patchy asphalt and expansion joints well at all speeds. The cabin is a peaceful place in which to spend time, with very little road or wind noise intruding even up at motorway speeds.
The boot is suitably large, with an official 525 litres of load space with the rear seats in place. On paper that's less luggage capacity than you get in the rival VW Golf estate, but in reality the Mondeo’s boot is longer and wider, if not quite as tall.
Better still, the floor of the Mondeo's boot lies flush with the boot aperture, meaning there’s no lip to negotiate when you’re lifting things in and out. Folding down the rear seats leaves a totally flat extended load bay, with a Golf-beating 1630 litres of space.