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Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Titanium

Reigning champ faces tough battle to hold on to family class crown

  • Motorway driving is comfortable and rough roads absorbed with ease.
  • The rear squabs must be flipped before the backrests fold, and the Ford can’t match the Mazda’s 1,702-litre seat-down capacity.

So the Citroen majors on comfort and refinement, while the Mazda focuses on driver appeal and handling. The big question is this: can the Auto Express Car of the Year 2007 offer it all in one package?

The current Ford Mondeo was launched last summer, and with it the firm set new standards for the class. It gave the car a wider spread of skills than ever, and the design took a big step upmarket. So even with thousands of examples on UK roads today, it still has real presence.

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While it’s not as stylised as the Citroen nor as sporty as the Mazda, its decent proportions and neat detailing provide strong visual appeal. What’s more, the saloon’s vast dimensions make a statement – at 1,500mm by 1,886mm, the Mondeo is taller and wider than its rivals.

Since Ford raised the bar for size in this class, other manufacturers have followed suit, and the 4,779mm C5 is actually the longer car – if only by 1mm. But the Mondeo’s wheelbase is 2,580mm – 35mm bigger – so the Ford still has the edge over the Citroen for rear legroom. The blue oval’s hatch boot is also practical, with easy access.

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The front is equally spacious and, thanks to a low-slung seat and a wide range of reach adjustment on the steering column, the driving position is excellent. As with the Mazda, the ergonomics make you feel immediately at home – the wheel is great to hold and the metal-effect multifunction controllers provide easy access to audio, phone and trip computer commands.

The rest of the dash is equally well laid out, while the soft materials and neat details, such as the circular air vents, add a premium feel, even if the chrome trim round the dials, window buttons and centre console is a little overdone.

Relaxing

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But such small niggles don’t stop the Mondeo from being a high-class place in which to spend time. The seats are comfortable and the cabin is more relaxing than the Mazda’s, as there’s less vibration from the engine – although it’s not a patch on the Citroen for sound insulation on the move. The Ford’s 2.0-litre TDCi diesel delivers comparable performance, and peak torque arrives at 1,750rpm – 250rpm earlier than in the 6 – but it can’t match the C5’s refinement.

Still, for ride comfort, the Mondeo retains the advantage. While it has less tyre noise and a softer set-up, the Citroen doesn’t control suspension movement as well as the Ford. As a result, the Mondeo thumps less over bumps, and remains impressively composed in all situations.

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With such beautifully engineered damping, body control is great, too. Due in part to having the widest tyres here, the Ford is sure-footed and stable, even if it allows more movement than the 6. Precise, weighty controls deliver feedback in a way the refined but remote Citroen cannot.

In fact, not even the sporty Japanese model’s steering can match the Mondeo’s delicate responses, and the Ford’s agility is all the more impressive bearing in mind its dimensions and weight. At 1,615kg, it’s 85kg heavier than the 6.

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In Titanium trim, the Mondeo is the most costly model of our trio. There’s a long standard kit tally, however, which includes seven airbags, cruise control, a CD changer and Bluetooth connectivity. The Ford has the greatest potential for personalisation, too, with the most extensive options list. But does our current champion still have the best blend of attributes – and can it keep its crown as the class favourite?

Details

Price: £20,145
Chart position: 1
WHY: The Mondeo is a talented all-rounder. So can it match the latest C5’s innovation and style?

Economy

The Ford came close to matching the Mazda’s economy by achieving 39.5mpg. Better still, its 70-litre tank allows it to travel over 600 miles between fill-ups. As with all these cars, our results were well down on the claimed figures.

Residuals

for resale values, the Ford is left trailing. Go for a lower-spec model, and you’ll limit your financial penalties and bring down running costs. But the Mondeo is unable to shake off its mass-market image, which means its used values suffer.

Servicing

If costs count for more than customer service, you’re unlikely to go wrong running the Ford. Calls to dealers revealed three years’ maintenance should cost around £500. But we wish the blue oval would improve its warranty package

Tax

WHILE it emits merely 7g/km more CO2 than the Japanese car, the Ford is taxed two per cent more heavily. This, combined with the high price of the Titanium model, means even lower-band business drivers face an annual bill close to £1,000

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