I have to own up to such a prejudice. So, when my turn to test the Fleet News Ford Mondeo came around a short time ago, memories of my 'Friday afternoon Escort' came flooding back and I have to admit to a sinking feeling.
But I could not have been more wrong. Let me hold my hand up right now. The new Mondeo is a car to stand out in the crowd. It is an object of entirely superior quality.
This 128bhp 2.0 TDCi model is extremely comfortable. Our Mondeo has an easy-to-use gearbox. This is most unlike our previous two Fords – a Focus and Mondeo had a nasty habit of popping out of third once you thought it had been engaged. Now for all those reasons and for its superb fuel economy, the Mondeo has become my first choice on a long trip. I find the central console and all the dials, switches and controls are clear, logical and to hand. What more could a driver ask for?
However, last weekend, before setting out on a trip to the Home Counties, and having been warned that the screen wash needed filling, we set about trying to open the bonnet. As a last resort the man of the house consulted the manual and we finally found the catch under the badge on the front of the car.
You rotate it, then insert the key and switch it both ways and the bonnet opens. I think a bank safe combination lock would have been simpler. What does Ford think is going to happen, someone's going to pinch the engine?
Apart from that idiosyncrasy (which is becoming a trait of all new Ford cars), I have no complaints. In fact my entire attitude to Ford cars has changed. I would be delighted if I had a Mondeo 2.0 TDCi as my company car.
Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer): £61.85 per month