Dan Trent
25/04/2008 00:00 | By Dan Trent, contributor, MSN Cars

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi review (2007-2011)

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Ford Mondeo (© Ford)

Model: Ford Mondeo Titanium X 2.0 TDCi Durashift automatic
Bodystyle: Five-door hatch
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged, diesel
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

What is it?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

Launched to rave reviews last year, the fourth-generation Mondeo builds on the car's hat-trick of talents - namely value, interior space and sharp handling. It now throws sharp styling into the mix too, Ford's much vaunted 'kinetic design' striking a fine balance between looking distinctive without offending the sensibilities of traditionally conservative D-segment. The Mondeo majors on technology and practicality too, with a cavernous 540-litre boot (expandable to 1,460 litres) on the hatchback. And if that's not enough the estate offers a truly enormous 1,754-litre capacity. Inside there is the choice of Ford's Convers+ Human Machine Interface display too, integrating phone, ICE and nav into the instrument cluster.

GALLERY: Ford Mondeo
Read more Ford car reviews

Where does it fit?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

The Mondeo starts at just £15,205 but our automatic 2.0 TDCi Titanium X test car is just one rung down from the very top of the range and carries a hefty £23,405 pricetag. That's just the start though, our particular car boasting a fulsome range of options sending the cost to a BMW-baiting £27,710. Crikey.And the competition has heated up considerably since it launched too. The new Mazda 6, Citroen C5, Renault Laguna and - most recently -Honda Accord are all strong rivals. And given the price of this example you'd have to say it's also up against the 3-Series and new A4 too.

Is it for you?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

At this price point you've got some pretty big decisions to make and it has to be said the blue oval lacks a little bit of prestige. Of course, not everybody is obsessed with badge status and judged on its own merits the Mondeo makes a very strong case for itself.

The Mondeo certainly tries very hard to please too, with a huge armoury of driver-focused technology. Titanium X gets you leather/Alcantara seats as standard, plus the Ford 'Power' keyless start button, heated seats and the Convers+ display unit. Our options included adaptive cruise control, hands free Bluetooth connection and a DVD-based nav unit.

What does it do well?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

There's a well-sorted driving position and the thin-rimmed wheel feels great to hold. It also keys you in sharply to the road too, although the fast turn-in isn't matched with a huge amount of feel. But the Convers+ display is to be commended, giving you all the info you need within direct line of sight. And although huge the Mondeo manages to feel a lot more light and nimble than you might expect. Tight urban roads reveal its true heft but outside of these constraints you'll find yourself flinging the Mondeo around with the kind of abandon a big car like this simply shouldn't by rights encourage.

What doesn't it do well?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

Sadly if you were to test drive this Mondeo back to back with an A4 or new Accord you'd have to conclude it feels cheap and insubstantial in comparison. And although the 138bhp TDCi diesel - complete with 251lb ft of 'overboost' torque - is on the money stat-wise it's seriously blunted by the automatic gearbox. The technology, while well intentioned, is also a bit full-on and at times bewildering. You'll learn it in time and no doubt come to relish its abilities but on first encounter it feels a bit gimmicky, a sense not helped by the trying-too-hard metallic trim that plasters the cabin. Rivals do it better, with much more class.

What’s it like to live with?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

In practical terms the Mondeo is great, with the aforementioned roominess and bountiful gadgets all intended to make life easy. But it falls down in key areas, notably the seats that varyingly lack support and then dig you in the ribs with over-harsh lumbar support. Not good for a car geared up for big motorway miles. The big 18-inch wheels don't help the comfort stakes either. And while they look good in the showroom will be a nightmare to keep clean and kerb hungry. We'd steer clear of the auto too. It's not only expensive, it also robs the Mondeo of its main selling points - namely driver appeal.

How green is it?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

Those with a green conscience/eye on their tax liabilities will like the 1.8 TDCi Econetic with its Band C 139g/km CO2 and 53.3mpg combined fuel consumption. Meanwhile the 2.0 TDCi manages 156g/km and 47.9mpg by the same measure - pretty much on the money compared with most rivals, with the exception of the EfficientDynamics equipped 3-Series.But hang on a minute. With the automatic the CO2 soars to 189g/km, pushing it from Band D to Band F and hitting company drivers hard on the BIK rate. It's also significantly thirstier, recording just 39.8mpg on the combined cycle. In reality this regularly averages out in the low 30s according to the onboard computer.

Would we buy one?

Ford Mondeo (© Image © Ford)

This particular car? No way. The Mondeo simply doesn't live up to a price tag like this and we'd far rather drive a base spec A4 or 3-Series and enjoy the greater refinement and status. But if that sounds like a harsh judgement it's more a measure of the quality of the competition. And fundamentally the Mondeo is a great car, the £27K pricetag and Christmas tree spec of our test vehicle far from typical. The basic package is sound and further down the price range only the Mazda 6 really gives it a stern test. We'd just choose our options carefully and avoid the auto like the plague.

GALLERY: Ford Mondeo
Read more Ford car reviews

Driven: BMW 3-Series

Driven: new Audi A4
Driven: new Honda Accord
Driven: Mazda 6
Driven: Citroen C5
Driven: Renault Laguna
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