Fleet News

Fleet leaders up the stakes in upper medium sector

FORD and Vauxhall have announced improvements to Mondeo and Vectra in preparation for the onslaught about to be unleashed by Volkswagen and Nissan with the Passat and Primera.

A year after launch, Vectra gets air conditioning as standard across 60% of the range and an in-car navigation system as standard or a low cost option. Vauxhall has also introduced a number of new models - including a revolutionary direct injection diesel and a 2.0 litre LS - and slashed the price of its popular SRi performance derivative. Luton engineers have also addressed some of the criticisms which dogged the car at launch by fitting lower and softer seats and installing a tilt-adjustable steering column on all but the entry level Envoy model.

Ford has gone for an extensive restyle, ride refinements and better fuel economy but little in the way of extra spec. The new Mondeo gets huge head and tail lights, a more muscular look and a better ride, but fleet managers looking for extras like ABS in the lower reaches of the range will be disappointed. A new economy version of the 1.6 engine offers 16% better fuel consumption and the range is joined by a new sports/luxury version - the ST-24.

Peugeot, whose 406 is widely regarded as the best car in its class, said it had no plans for any specification changes.

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