We like the 2.0-litre diesel in Ford's Mondeo, but how does the 1.8 TDCi Zetec model compare?
If you want a diesel Mondeo, you’re spoiled for choice. Ford offers four engines in total, and this 123bhp 1.8-litre TDCi is a great pick. It has plenty of performance, good refinement and returns excellent economy and emissions figures. Add in superb handling, build quality and a massive amount of cabin space, and you’ve got a fine family and business car. Only the high list price really counts against the 1.8 TDCi.
With a range-topping diesel in the shape of a 138bhp 2.0-litre TDCi unit, it’s easy to overlook the smaller 1.8 TDCi engine in the Ford Mondeo line-up.
However, with 123bhp and the same 320Nm of torque as its more expensive brother, the 1.8-litre looks good on paper. And the rest of the figures impress, with combined fuel economy of nearly 50mpg and CO2 emissions of 154g/km. So, how does it stack up on the road?
It’s certainly a strong performer. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, which makes it a capable motorway cruiser with decent response even at high speeds. Factor in excellent refinement and a comfortable driving position, and you have a brilliant long-distance companion.
The engine pulls hard once it gets past the 2,500rpm mark, and thanks to an overboost facility, which briefly increases the peak torque figure to 340Nm under full throttle, overtaking moves are dispatched with ease.
Fine steering, ride and handling also ensure the Mondeo is great fun to drive on the open road. In town, the engine can labour at low speeds in second gear. Still, it’s hard to argue with 48.7mpg combined economy and a company car tax band of 20 per cent. These figures manage to better those of the 2.0 TDCi – which returns 47.9mpg and sits in the 21 per cent band.
Our model was also fitted with a couple of highlights from the options list. The £1,600 DVD sat-nav system has a simple touchscreen display and includes a superb Sony stereo, while adaptive headlamps, which turn with the steered wheels, greatly improve night vision. The latter is perhaps a better-value option, too, at £350.
So which engine should you go for? Well, they’re both excellent. If you want a little more performance and are prepared to pay an extra £400, the 2.0-litre is ideal. However, the 1.8 TDCi certainly isn’t a poorer choice.
Rival: Renault Laguna With its stylish looks and quality cabin, the new Laguna has real showroom appeal. Yet beneath the surface, it’s not much of a leap over its predecessor. The 2.0-litre diesel is frugal and refined, but the car is disappointing to drive.