A weekend spent in a fully loaded Mondeo has given me a chance to test out the upper reaches of the options list. And I've come away pretty happy with the choices I made in speccing my slightly less plush example.

First up, the automatic gearbox - which adds £1100 to the price of a manual Titanium X and which knocks 10 bhp off the 2.0 TDCI motor's power output. I rarely see the point of diesel-gargling slushers for anyone other than minicab drivers, and the Mondy's dull-witted transmission didn't do anything to convert me. It also knocked the 2.0 TDCI's already disappointing fuel economy back to a very underwhelming 33mpg.

I'm similarly glad that I didn't opt for the sports suspension (£150), which adds too much of an edge to rougher road surfaces. And although I was quite tempted by the good-looking 18in alloys (a £350 upgrade), I doubt they'd have done much for my Mondy's bump-absorption either.