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Leaner evergreen.

Byline: MIKE TORPEY

MONDEO man has enjoyed a privileged position in the automotive hierarchy over the past decade.

He may not be the guy driving the car with the most prestigious badge, nor the one with the coolest looks.

But when it comes to munching the miles or coping with the rigours of everyday family life there are few better places to be than in the evergreen Ford.

As Tina Turner still reminds listeners of retro radio stations: It's simply the best.

These days fans of the blue oval have the chance to go more lean and green than ever, courtesy of what's probably the best engine in the Mondeo range.

It's the 1.6-litre TDCi ECOnetic, a strong turbodiesel offering low emissions and the best fuel economy in the range.

With a six-speed manual transmission plus Stop/Start technology it can return an average 65.7 miles per gallon (14.45 miles per litre) and belch out just 114g/km of CO2.

And despite only boasting 115ps of punch it makes pretty remarkable fist of powering what is a large, heavy motor car. The relevant numbers are acceleration from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds and a top speed of 118mph.

The upshot is that Ford now has eight Mondeo models emitting CO2 of below 115g/km - a boon for company car drivers, while annual road tax is pounds 30.

What makes the Mondeo so compelling though is the way it ticks all the boxes, for both business and private drivers.

Take the interior. It may be functional rather than luxurious, but you could have designed it yourself.

Instinctively reach for where you would expect the switches and dials to be placed, and that's where they are.

Need to carry a heap of luggage or samples and the huge boot swallows it all up.

Need to fit three adults across the 60/40 split-fold back seat and there's ample leg and shoulder room, while there are cupholders and cubbies dotted around the cabin.

Wind and road noise is well suppressed, the gearshift is sweet, steering direct and feeling both at speed and in urban conditions stable and controlled.

The tested Titanium X version is the top spec model and as such comes with a raft of features like 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, power folding door mirrors, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, swivelling headlights and electronic stability programme.

At pounds 24,395 though it makes sense to go for either the pounds 4,500-cheaper Edge model or the popular Zetec at pounds 20,795, both of which are well-kitted-out and include Bluetooth.

And of course there's the scope to specify a number of optional packages, among the best of which is the pounds 525 Driver Assistance Pack which includes Blind Spot and Lane Departure warnings along with an automatic high beam.

FAST FACTS Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic Titanium X Price: pounds 24,395 Mechanical: 115ps, 1,598cc, 4cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox Max speed: 118mph 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds Combined mpg: 65.7 (14.45 miles per litre) Insurance group: 17 CO2 emissions: 114g/km BiK rating: 13% Warranty: 3years/ 60,000 miles

CAPTION(S):

* FUEL ECONOMY: The Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi Econetic Titanium X
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2011
Words:546
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