ROAD TEST:

Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic Zetec
Business Edition review

Ford Mondeo.
Engine
1596cc, 4 cylinders
Power
114bhp
Transmission
6-speed manual
Fuel/CO2
65.7mpg / 114g/km
Acceleration
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Top speed
118mph
Price
£21,795
Details correct at publication date

The phrase "Business Edition" in this car's title almost led me to assume that it's fitted with a workstation and a couple of filing cabinets. You won't be surprised to hear that it isn't. The appeal to business types - in addition to a massive luggage compartment which, I can confirm, easily holds a mountain bike even without removal of the parcel shelf - is its official CO2 rating.

This is a mere 114g/km, which is quite something for such a large car. It's achieved by the use of what seems to be an inappropriately small and weak engine, namely a 1.6 turbo diesel producing a maximum of, by an amusing coincidence, 114bhp.

Actually, it's not bad, though a bit noisy when cold. It has trouble providing hard acceleration (0-62mph takes nearly 12 seconds) and you have to change down at least one gear in the six-speed manual transmission if you want to maintain speed on a stiff incline, but on the kind of motorway cruise that a car called Business Edition appears most suited for it's as good as it needs to be.

The motorway is indeed the home environment for this model. Before I ventured out of a town-and-country setting I thought its road behaviour was cumbersome, but it settled down as soon as it saw a blue sign and behaved very well as I covered several hundred miles in a day. No aches, no pains, no complaints, nothing. (Strangely, it was also happier when being pushed hard on a country road than it did when tootling along it, but that's an anomaly I expect very few buyers to come across.)

The driver's seat also seems to have been designed for one specific kind of driving. At first I would have happily traded some of its excellent back support for a bit more of the side support which is sadly lacking, only to revise that view on the motorway, where it was my spine rather than my ribcage that needed looking after.

The modest power output leads to an official combined fuel economy figure of 65.7mpg. Well, no. Not going to happen, unless you are exceptionally feather-footed.

On the other hand, I averaged 52mpg during this test, and I'm not going to complain about that, since it's not far from what I would expect in a diesel or hybrid car one size down. And along with the economy, the considerable volume of the Mondeo's fuel tank means that you can easily - as I did - rack up over 700 miles without troubling to visit a service station, which is a pleasant thought.

As Mondeos go, this one is relatively cheap, costing £21,795 without options. For that you get air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, powered folding door mirrors, satellite navigation and a heated windscreen.

Blind spot information and lane departure warning, as fitted to the test car, are extras, in this case part of a £775 Driver Assistance Pack which also includes the Convers+ trip computer system - not Ford's best invention, in my view, since although it works well it requires a lot of button-pressing. Switching from "range" to "average mpg" and back again, for example, took up more of my concentration on the M6 than I felt it should have done.

445stars

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