I think we’re all pretty familiar with the new Ford Mondeo now, aren’t we? We know how big it is, what kit it comes with as standard and what it’s like to drive.
There can’t be much left in terms of surprise with the range, with the exception of a new diesel engine which has just been launched.
The 1.8 TDCi unit joins the line up and offers 125bhp, CO2 emissions of 154g/km (putting it in the 20% BIK bracket) and claimed combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg.
All well and good, and it also costs £400 less than the 2.0 TDCi version, but the smaller unit’s gains aren’t particularly impressive.
The 1.8 TDCi loses 15bhp from the 140bhp 2.0 TDCi, but gains just 0.8mpg in average fuel economy – rising from 47.9mpg to 48.7.
CO2 emission reductions are equally slight, falling from 156g/km to 154 – although this is enough to drop the 1.8 TDCi into the band below in benefit-in-kind tax terms.
So although the 1.8 TDCi will offer drivers lower company car tax bills, the savings won’t be massive.
Unlike the car itself, which is simply huge.
There’s so much space inside, especially in the cavernous boot, that it’s not far off an executive car size-wise.
Not only is legroom impressive, but the sheer width of the cabin means the driver will never brush shoulders with the front seat passenger.
Fit and finish is up with the best in the sector, and it all feels solidly put together.
Despite the Mondeo’s size, the driving experience is still very good.
The Mondeo rides well, with a decent compromise made between comfort and handling.
On twisting roads the car remains flat and composed, while on the motorway it feels planted and cruises with ease.
The 1.8 TDCi engine helps with this relaxed cruising gait, being long-legged enough to allow 70mph to be achieved at low revs.
However, it isn’t so accomplished elsewhere.
Pulling out from junctions there is a noticeable lag between applying the throttle and some actual movement happening.
This requires some forward planning in terms of spotting gaps and accelerating just before you really ought to in order to get over this lag.
Acceleration is fine through the gears, although you can feel the engine is more restricted than the torquey 2.0 TDCi.
Elsewhere, the gearbox shifts easily with a nice, positive feel, while the steering is nicely weighted at all speeds.
So there you have it – the 1.8 TDCi Mondeo is a big, comfortable and accomplished car.
The only problem is the 2.0 TDCi Mondeo – a better car all round for £400 more.
P11D value: £18,005
CO2 emissions (g/km): 154
BIK % of P11D in 2007 20%
Graduated VED rate: £140
Insurance group: 7
Combined mpg: 48.7
CAP RV (3yr/60k): £5,550/31%
Monthly lease (3yr/60k): £410
THREE RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Accord was recently introduced in SE specification to lower the entry price point for the range, but it is still the most expensive car here at the front-end, costing £1,000 more than the Passat.
However, it does offer the hands-free telephone package as standard.
EMISSIONS AND TAX RATES
The Mondeo will cost the most in benefit-in-kind tax terms, with a monthly bill of £66 for a 22% taxpayer.
The Honda, Vauxhall and Volkswagen will all cost the same taxpayer £64 a month. The Accord has lower VED bills of £115 a year, compared to £140 for the rest.
Mondeo : 154g/km/20%
Vauxhall’s value-led strategy in terms of service, maintenance and repair put the Vectra easily on top here, costing around £1,700 over three years and 60,000 miles.
The Passat dips just below the £2,000 barrier. The Mondeo is the most expensive – costing £600 more than the Vectra.
Vectra: 2.86 (pence per mile) / £1,716 (60,000 miles total)
The Honda is the only model to reach above the 50mpg mark, with a claimed combined figure of 51.4mpg. This equates to a diesel spend of around £5,100 over 60,000 miles. The Vectra returns a claimed 49.6mpg, with the Mondeo and Passat offering 48.7mpg.
Accord: 8.58 (pence per mile) / £5,148 (60,000 miles total)
With the lowest front-end price and the highest residual value forecast, the Passat is way ahead here.
CAP estimates the Volkswagen will retain 39% of its cost new after three years/60,000 miles, compared with 35% for the Honda and 31% for the Mondeo. The Vectra retains 25%.
Passat: 17.74 (pence per mile) / £10,644 (60,000 miles total)
Mondeo : 20.75/£12,450
With a two pence per mile advantage in the depreciation section, the Passat takes a convincing overall victory, costing around £18,000 over three years and 60,000 miles.
The Accord is second, and just 0.01ppm separates the Mondeo and Vectra.
Passat: 30.09 (pence per mile)/ £18,054 (60,000 miles total)
The Vectra and Mondeo are the first to be discounted – the Vauxhall simply because a new model is due within the next 12 months which promises to be a massive leap forward, while the Ford costs too much to run.
The Accord is a well-equipped and very refined car, but the Volkswagen’s significant wholelife costs advantage give it the win.