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.