What is it
Ford is juggling the engine line-up in the facelifted Mondeo and we’re testing the most powerful of the 2.0-litre Duratorq diesels, producing 161bhp.
For six months, since the demise of the late, lamented 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel, it was the beefiest oil-burner you could get in a Mondeo. Now that position has been ceded to a new super-diesel, the 197bhp 2.2-litre Duratorq.
In practice for the bulk of buyers, however, the 2.0 TDCi is still the most desirable diesel because it’s available with a fuller range of trim levels, from mid-spec £20k Zetec up to bells-and-whistles £26k Titanium X Sport. For the time being, the 2.2 is limited to Titanium X Sport, where it carries a hefty £3k premium over the 2.0-litre unit.
What's it like?
We’ve already tested the 161bhp Duratorq, having driven it with a dual-clutch Powershift transmission. Now we’ve got it with a six-speed manual ’box, which offers slightly better economy and 10g/km lower CO2 emissions over the Powershift.
It’s more of the same, really. It pulls cleanly and is strongest in the mid-range, pulling into traffic or loping effortlessly along a dual carriageway. The manual ’box adds that extra edge of control and ensures the diesel is always pulling the right gear.
A strong advantage over rival diesels is the Ford’s linear power delivery, which builds torque smoothly rather than delivering a sudden lump. Equally impressive is the refinement of the refreshed Mondeo. There’s a little vibration at idle, but noise is well suppressed. That makes the coarseness higher up the rev range more noticeable.
Usually a facelift means a few blobs of chrome, but this refresh is backed by engineering substance. The roof has no traditional gutter to cut wind noise at speed. The smooth roof panel is now laser-brazed onto the upper structure and the seam hidden behind the door frame. Ingenious. The windscreen is thicker, too, in the search for more hush at speed. Of course, the usual Mondeo steering precision and balanced control weights that make it such a joy to drive are undimmed.