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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Here, thankfully, the Mondeo confounds your expectations of a car hailing from across the Atlantic. The sophistication evident in its powertrain and suspension feels truly European – and dominantly so.

The outright speed of a 148bhp, 1600kg car is never likely to attract attention, and less likely still when that car is so long-geared. Pulling 38mph per 1000rpm in top, the Mondeo is nine percent leggier than a Mazda 6 2.2d Sport and five percent taller geared even than a BMW 320d – both of which have more power and torque.

The Mondeo's 2.0-litre diesel responds quickly and willingly to throttle inputs

Our test car wasn’t even the Econetic economy version, which is longer-legged still. That Ford’s new all-aluminium 2.0-litre turbodiesel gives the Mondeo decent flexibility and pace shows how responsive the engine is.

It takes a little while to get going at the bottom of the rev range, with peak torque not arriving until 2000rpm, and 30-70mph in fourth takes longer than it perhaps should.

From 2000rpm upwards, the engine revs smoothly and freely to 4000rpm, before tailing off thereafter more than a BMW diesel would – but not enough to offend. Pedal response is excellent and pulling power always feels stout enough above that 2000rpm threshold for fuss-free acceleration and easy overtaking.

Meanwhile, the controls shine with evident careful tuning: uniformly and substantially weighted, with pedals and gearlever consistent and slick through the full range of their travel. Most impressive of all is cruising refinement.

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With wind noise, road roar and engine noise all dealt with thoroughly, the Ford is fully three decibels less raucous at 70mph than a BMW 320d and Mazda 6, both tested as inherently quieter saloons.

You know you’re in uncharted waters when the biggest compliment you can pay a Ford is how hushed, leggy and grown-up it feels – but that is nonetheless where we are.