In a previous test I waxed lyrical about the wheels and tyres and how they made our Mondeo stand out from the crowd, but acknowledged that the rubber may need changing more frequently if drivers made frequent use of the engine's monstrous 243lb-ft of torque.
And so it has proved: a quick trip to Ford Rapid Fit, where even the mechanics commented that it was unusual to see a Mondeo with 18-inch wheels, would put a cost-conscious fleet manager off the £500 wheel option: two new Continental 225/40 ZR 18s cost a hefty £320 including VAT.
The tyres aside, the Mondeo has been a delight to drive thanks to its powerful 128bhp TDCi engine. Its performance never disappoints – in fact it is so responsive that I have to keep a close eye on my speed every time I drive it.
Several colleagues have complained about the clutch on the Mondeo, and setting off in particular, where it is prone to stalling. But during my second stint in the car I have only stalled it once.
Fuel consumption has remained steady throughout the Mondeo's time on the fleet, with mpg in the early to mid 40s easily achieved, ensuring the Mondeo is always in demand for long journeys.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £63.62 per month