Fleet News

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Zetec-S - 14,667 miles

Ford

Review

##Mondeo TDCI--right## WHEN every other vehicle on the road seems to be either a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Vectra, it's all too easy to forget just how good these cars actually are.

Take my case, for example. The editor was handing out test cars the other week and while I wouldn't have exactly complained about being given the keys to our Mondeo 2.0 TDCi, it wouldn't have been my first choice either. Mondeos? Well, they're a bit boring, aren't they?

As luck would have it, I was left driving Ford's number one repmobile over a two-week period and I can confirm that this car is anything but a yawn.

For those who don't know, there is a world of difference between Mondeo TDdi and TDCi. It may only be one letter, but the C stands for common rail and this amazing bit of technology gives our Mondeo power and smoothness that its 'low tech' brother could never hope to achieve.

In short, it turns the car from a frog to a prince. And as I prepare to pass the keys on to another tester, I must say I'll miss it.

The Mondeo in all its formats is one of the best handling upper-medium cars on the road today and in this diesel guise, it behaves even better. The unit will pull like a train in any gear and low-profile tyres, an optional extra, add to its 'stickiness' on the road.

With 128bhp under the bonnet, the car accelerates from 0-60mph in 9.9 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 124mph. With its amazing mid-range pulling power, that should be enough for any speed merchant.

The racy feel is enhanced by figure-hugging seats in the front and sporty black and silver upholstery and trim in the cabin.

So what does our car offer in the standard goodies department? It would be easier to write down what isn't included. You get alloy wheels, climate control, remote central locking, deadlocks, alarm and immobiliser, driver, passenger and side airbags, ABS brakes, traction control, electric windows, heated mirrors and a CD player. If you want to get flash, you can add xenon headlights for £500 (our model has them) and a CD autochanger and satnav will set you back £1,750.

Bearing in mind that sum will be added to the cost of the car for benefit-in-kind taxation purposes, I think I'd stick with the standard unit.

A complaint about this car is one that has been voiced before and by many testers – the clutch bites like a lion with a sore head. It engages instantly about one millimetre from the floor, the result being that until you are used to driving it, you will stall again and again.

The only other moan is a small one – the stereo controls on the steering column are slung low on the left hand side and I'm constantly knocking my knee on them. Smaller drivers won't notice it but I'm 6ft 3in tall with long legs, so it's a constant problem.

The other great thing about driving a common rail diesel car is that the driver can expect to achieve an mpg figure in the mid-40s, as opposed to mid-30 for a petrol equivalent. Even with my 'spirited' style of driving, this car is returning more than 40 miles per gallon.

So with a winning combination of speed, handling and economy, I'd have no problems recommending this car as an ideal vehicle for a busy high mileage company driver.

Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer): £61.85 per month

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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