Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Titanium X

Is family favourite a credible compact executive rival in top-spec trim?

Ford Mondeo Titanium X
  • Cabin is well laid out, and there’s a decent amount of stowage; load space is wider and longer than any of its saloon opponents.
  • You don’t get the same sense of luxury as the A4 or the sporty feel of the 3-Series.

NOT long ago, claiming a Mondeo could rival a compact executive for style was comparable to turning up at a wedding in jeans rather than a suit. But Ford’s efforts have unquestionably driven the model upmarket. It’s a big car, and takes up more road space than any rival here, yet the tight lines give it a solid feel. The heavy thud of the doors confirms that the Mondeo’s build quality is impressively close to the compact executives in this test.

In fact, our top-spec Titanium X model is arguably the glitziest machine here. The standard chrome trim contrasts with the black paint and optional 18-inch wheels, darkened rear glass and xenon lights to give the Ford an expensive look. It certainly helps set it apart from entry-level cars.

But what really separates the Mondeo from the other vehicles in this test is its sheer size. It’s longer, taller and wider, and provides unrivalled interior space in this company. The boot is bigger and has the flexibility of a hatchback opening, the rear seats are more accommodating and no rival can match its versatility. Who needs an estate when you’ve got a maximum capacity of 1,448 litres? Not many company users, that’s for sure.

The cabin is comfortable and spacious, too, although the £250 eight-way electric seats in our car sit higher than the standard items, which compromises the driving position.

Otherwise we have no complaints, and our Mondeo offered far more hi-tech gadgets than its executive opponents. Optional sat-nav, adaptive cruise control, voice-controlled Bluetooth, keyless go and rear sunblinds all feature.

But it’s the fact that Ford got the basics right that make the Mondeo such a great car. And the driving experience is a key part of this.

Our test model’s optional sports suspension and 18-inch wheels give the ride a firmer edge, and the Ford’s chassis is excellent. The superb damping is still there, but the tighter suspension and bigger rims mean imperfections can be felt more.

Nevertheless, flawless body control and fantastic grip levels remain, as does the light yet wonderfully fluid steering. So the Ford is involving and composed, exhibiting a similar range of talents to the new A4. Once again, the Mondeo’s ability to blend comfort with fun means it isn’t out of its depth dynamically.

The 2.0-litre TDCi engine is one of the best in the family hatch class, but here it’s outmuscled. If you opt for the auto box we tested you have to make do with 128bhp – some way short of the 170bhp-plus offered by the BMW and Mercedes.

Still, the 340Nm torque output is competitive – it’s 20Nm up on the 141bhp Audi. Yet the Ford can’t match the mid-range punch of the C-Class and 320d and isn’t as smooth under acceleration, either.

The six-speed auto doesn’t help matters. In kickdown it highlights engine noise and doesn’t really suit the diesel in day-to-day driving. It also increases fuel consumption and raises emissions, making the Ford the least efficient of this quartet.

In addition, the blue oval model recorded the highest noise meter reading at 70mph – strange because to the human ear it feels and sounds very refined on the motorway.

At £22,945, the Mondeo is the cheapest car here, but that seems a lot of money for a Ford – especially when the Audi is only £1,000 more. So does the Mondeo make as much sense at this end of the market as it does in the family class?

Details

Price: £22,945Model tested: Mondeo 2.o Titan. XChart position: 4WHY: The latest Mondeo has the refinement and quality to aspire to a place in the executive market.

Economy

Auto gearboxes normally increase fuel consumption, but the Mondeo gave 37.5mpg. It was the closest to its official figure, and can cover 577 miles between fill-ups.

Residuals

The Mondeo has a predicted value of 34.8 per cent – so it trails its premium rivals by a long way. This in turn hikes the Ford’s running costs to a hefty 63 pence a mile.

Servicing

Ford’s garage network is huge, but it finished a lowly 25th in Driver Power 2007. Still, the check-ups are cheap, with the first three services coming to £512.

Tax

With its auto box, the Ford emits 189g/km. This puts it in the 28 per cent bracket, which means tax of £2,570 a year on the top band. And that’s before adding options.

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