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Ford Mondeo ST220 estate



Granted, it's a fine car with acres of luggage space, but employees with a choice of vehicle will not immediately think of Ford's workhorse as a car for driving enjoyment and giving out the right image.


But there is a Mondeo estate which offers driving thrills while still maintaining an air of practicality.

The ST220 estate combines all the Mondeo's traditional attributes – masses of interior space, reliability, excellent driving dynamics – with a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing a fraction more than 220bhp.

Allied to a slick five-speed manual gearbox, the ST220 offers excellent performance backed up by a rorty engine soundtrack.

This Mondeo will accelerate from 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and will not run out of puff until it has reached 151mph – figures which many hot hatchbacks would be proud of. As well as all this performance, Ford has engineered the Mondeo to make it a bit of a hooligan to drive.

It wheelspins away from a standstill, there's torque steer as the front wheels struggle to get the power down but after that, there is so much grip that understeer only becomes apparent when you are really pushing on through corners.

And, of course, there is that sonorous V6 engine note growling away when you floor the accelerator pedal. Ford hasn't made much effort to dampen the noise coming from the engine bay and it's a good thing too.

And all the while you are driving in this manner, you can carry all sorts of large items in the back, from a photocopier to – if you need – a large wardrobe (with the rear seats folded down of course).

The ST220 differentiates itself from its lesser-powered stablemates with a deeper front bumper which juts out like Jimmy Hill's chin.

There are also sideskirts which give the ST220 a wider appearance, two rear exhaust pipes and, most importantly, a set of gorgeous 18-inch multi-vane alloy wheels shod with ultra-low profile tyres.

This endows the Mondeo with a very hard ride, which is great for handling but not so good for long distance work.

Inside, the cockpit is pure Mondeo fare, which means a well-built cabin using materials that feel much better than some of its upper-medium rivals.

In fact, the only give-away that you are sitting in a special Mondeo is the ST badge on the steering wheel boss and the leather-trimmed Recaro seats in the front.

For user-choosers wanting a great car to drive, the Mondeo is a great choice, as well as being fairly easy on the wallet bearing in mind the performance on offer. CO2 emissions of 245g/km put it in the 33% benefit-in-kind tax band and its P11d price of £22,565 means a 40% tax-payer will pay out £248 a month.

To all intents and purposes the ST220 is a regular Mondeo with a rather special engine under the bonnet.

For driving thrills it is out on its own – the MG ZT-T 190 cannot keep pace with the fast Ford, while Vauxhall's Vectra estate GSi with a 3.2-litre V6 engine is some months away yet.

For the time being, the Mondeo ST220 is the fast estate of choice for user-choosers.

Model: Ford Mondeo ST220 estate
Engine (cc): 2,967
Power (bhp/rpm): 225/6,150
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 210/4,900
Max speed (mph): 151
0-60mph (secs): 6.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 27.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 245
Price (OTR): £22,750

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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