A road test review of the 2013 VW Golf GTi
Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Titanium X review (2011 onwards)
Model: Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 163 Titanium X
Bodystyle: Five-door hatch
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, diesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual
What is it?
Seems only yesterday Daniel Craig's 007 found himself in the surprising position of launching the latest Ford Mondeo with its cameo appearance in Casino Royale. But that was nearly five years ago, the car on sale since 2007 and racking up 120,000 sales.
Time for a facelift then, this being the new 2011 model year Mondeo and opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with this deserved class benchmark and see how Ford has improved it further. And it goes beyond twinkly LED running lights.
They're there of course, at least from Titanium spec upwards, all new Mondeos gaining the usual mild tweaks to front and rear bumpers. There wasn't much wrong with the big Ford's 'Kinetic Design' anyway and they've wisely left it broadly unchanged.
The more significant changes are new engines - including turbocharged Ecoboost petrols - improved interior quality and a huge array of extra tech features to keep pace with the fast moving D-segment and fresh rivals like the Peugeot 508 and new VW Passat.
Where does it fit?
2.0-litre diesels are the core of this sector of the market and the Ford's version is available in 115, 140 and 163hp variants, the latter two optionally available with the DSG-rivalling Powershift twin-clutch automatic.
A downsized 1.6 diesel and 1.6 petrols in conventional and turbocharged Ecoboost demonstrate Ford is keeping pace with the general trend for CO2 (and, by extension, tax and fleet) friendly smaller engines but our test car was a 163hp 2.0 TDCi diesel.
In Titanium X spec as tested this would set you back £25,545, plus options. That's nearly a grand more than an equivalent Passat 2.0 TDI 170 Sport and a similar margin over the auto-only Peugeot 508 Allure HDi 163.
Not cheap then. But you're getting a whole lot of car for your money, the Mondeo's sheer size impressive and the toy count in Titanium X generous, parking sensors, heated seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara and various luxury trimmings all standard.
Is it for you?
If you need a big, spacious car built to rack up the miles in comfort the Mondeo is just the ticket. The 163hp version of the TDCi diesel is a proven player and delivers strong performance and 40mpg even when being driven hard.
Front and back cabins are spacious and accommodating and the boot is simply vast at 540 litres. As a family car and an executive hack the Mondeo deserves its reputation as the model by which others in this sector are judged
What does it do well?
The Mondeo has always driven well and the difference between the big Ford and its stodgy Vauxhall Insignia arch rival is night and day. Admittedly not crucial on a motorway hack but nice to have for the twisty way home.
Surprisingly alert steering and a crisp chassis that uses its big footprint to excellent, stabilising effect offset a slow gearshift (the Powershift auto is worth considering) and Ford's Convers+ driver interface makes interacting with the various systems a real pleasure.
What doesn't it do well?
The Mondeo is an unashamedly big car and feels it. Useful if you're carrying a car load of colleagues to a meeting, not so handy when you're trying to manoeuvre around supermarket carparks or find room outside the school gate.
And though much improved and solidly constructed it's not quite got the pseudo premium feel offered by some rivals, not least the new Peugeot 508 and VW Passat, especially in some of the cheaper trim grades. Juicier spec options cost too.
What's it like to live with?
Size issues aside the Mondeo is very pleasant to be around. The excellent Convers+ colour instrument panel combines conventional dials with digital readouts in a slightly Ferrari-esque manner - Ford design boss Martin Smith owns a 430 Scuderia so perhaps some influence there!
It's only on Titanium trim and above though and even on our Titanium X version touchscreen navigation and an iPod friendly stereo are a hefty £1,250 option. The Mondeo ain't cheap then but nor does it feel it, thankfully.
How green is it?
Downsized Ecoboost petrols and the 1.6 diesel with 65.6mpg and 115g/km are obvious eco-friendly choices but all Mondeos get improved efficiency thanks to a range of innovations under Ford's Econetic branding.
An Active Grille Shutter is one example, reducing drag by 6% when closed and only opening when needed. It's standard on the 2.0 TDCi engines, Smart Regenerative Charging built in to all new Mondeos and channelling braking energy through the alternator and to the car's systems.
Would we buy it?
Absolutely. The Mondeo has the feel of a car built by people who really know what they're doing and haven't had to resort to gimmicks or fripperies to adorn what is, fundamentally, a very strong car.
And this feeling permeates every facet of the car. True, it's pricey. More so if you start indulging in some of the extra kit. But it drives brilliantly and with agility of a car half its size, still looks fresh and the new engines broaden the appeal still further.
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