Super-frugal new 1.6 diesel, with stop-start, drops neatly into ubiquitous family Ford

What is it?

This new Mondeo 1.6 Duratorg is, in effect, a traditional car with a modern appetite. It’s big enough to carry lots of kids, dogs and luggage; despite solid depreciation, while delivering spectacular fuel economy, without any serious performance penalty. It takes you back to days when Mondeo-class cars cars were what everyone bought, before Golf/Focus-sized cars got roomier and more capable, premium manufacturers started offering cheaper cars and SUVs and MPVs got into the act.

What’s it like?

It’s a thoroughly likeable car, and not bad value. Things have stabilised lately as mass manufacturers have lifted their cars’ quality and equipment — and started achieving amazing results on economy. The new 114 bhp Mondeo 1.6 DCTi Titanium X (equipped with stop-start) is the perfect case in point: suddenly this spacious and well equipped family car can return the deeply impressive combined cycle fuel figure of 65.7 mpg, along with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km, which puts it securely in the zero VED band. Real world economy in all but the most difficult crawling traffic should be well into the 50s.

The great seems to cause no penalty in performance terms. The 1.6 Mondeo can still cruise easily with motorway traffic in its high sixth gear, or accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around 11.6 seconds, if you insist. Top speed is 118 mph. More important than any actual figure is the fact that the car feels both energetic enough for decent open-road passing, and flexible for dribbling smoothly around down. And it’s around 100 kg lighter than biger-capacity diesels. There is certainly no feeling that it’s underpowered. The engine is unobtrusive, too, which further aids the car’s role as a family cruiser: the 70 litre tank gives it a prodigious touring range around 750 miles.

Handling? Fords have been among the market’s best driver’s cars for several decades now — and it was a Mondeo model that showed how good they could become. The steering is beautifully weighted, the ride is well-damped but flat and quiet. Choose bigger wheels than 17-inch carefully, though. They firm things up quite a bit, perhaps too much for some.

Should I buy one?

It’s a serious proposition, if you need an economical large car. Our test car had an impressive array of Titanium X gadgetry (the only gizmo you truly need is the £1250 touch-screen navigation), which make the smallest-engined Mondeo diesel a viable and sensible choice the many people who value economy as much as they need comfort and space. This is a former star that deserves rediscovery.

Ford Mondeo Titanium X 1.6DCTi

Price: £24,295; Top speed: 118 mph; 0-62mph: 11.6 sec; Economy: 65.7 mpg; CO2: 114 g/km; Kerbweight: 1500 kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyl 16v diesel; Power: 114bhp at 3600rpm; Torque: 210lb ft; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Rich_uk 28 May 2011

Re: Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi TitaniumX

ronmcdonald wrote:
As for the car's looks - if there's a better looking estate on the market I've yet to see it.

I thought you were making good points in your post right up until you said this!

I've nothing against Mondeos or Ford (apart from my now departed Ka). I drive Focus' at work all the time and have ragged the life out of the previous Mondeo and all Fords stand up quite well to the abuse thrown at them.

This particular car seems reasonable enough and will do exactly what it says on the label. BUT! It is SOOOO bland! In Titanium spec it's just about respectable but it really is a dull looking car. Not ugly per se, just a bland cheap-looking, dated design.

In design stakes, Ford have gone backwards: Ka, Focus, Mondeo were all better looking last time round. The Fiesta just about bucks the trend and the Kuga is a fairly decent car to look at.

As for the discount game, sure it seems to work for Ford but it makes their residuals look shocking and that puts a lot of people off that would otherwise consider them.

BriMarsh 28 May 2011

Re: Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi TitaniumX

Carmad3 wrote:
The VW will last longer too
Not necessarily.

Carmad3 28 May 2011

Re: Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi TitaniumX

Maybe the golf looks expensive at that point BUT and it is a big but look at the build quality and the residuals and the money you spend for a VW over a Ford looks well spent.

The VW will last longer too