THE days when theMondeodominated UK roads are long gone but the big Ford is still a fine product even if it is seen in smaller numbers.
In estate form the current model is the best lookingMondeoyet, and it offers stacks of space and comfort in a handsome package.
Now produced in Spain, this generation arrived at the tail end of 2014 and was available in the USA long before that.
It still looks fresh and offers bags of room for five with 525 litres ofboot spacewith all the seats in use and 1,630 litres when the rear seats are folded.
The estate is available in a variety of trims with a choice of engines and the car I sampled was the ST-Line estate with the 2.0-litreTDCIdiesel engine with all-wheel-drive and the automaticPowershiftgearbox.
The ST body styling kit gives the big estate a sporty look and in standard form costs £31,295 to put on the road.
From behind the wheel the Mondeo estate feels exactly the same to drive as the hatchback and there is no extra boom noise generated in the large cabin.
TheMondeowas always the finest handling car in the family sector but the current model is more comfort based and is at its best when cruising rather than being chucked round tight corners.
The combination of the auto box and the fine diesel engine provides a relaxed feel - ideal for long motorway journeys. Shift paddles on the wheel allow you to play with the box but it is best left to its own devices.
Handling may not be as sharp as its predecessor but the ride comfort is excellent and this is a very refined bigwagon. TheAWDsystem means that there is bags of grip to cope with all weather conditions and the steering is accurate.
With 180ps on tap, the big Estate is good for a top speed of 137mph and the sprint to 62mph takes 9.5 seconds. It has enough grunt to make it a very good tow car and the emissions are listed at 137g/km.
The claimed combined fuel figure is 55.3mpg for this four-wheel-drive version but expect to get around 50mpg in real world conditions.
This particular model is very wellspeccedand comes with Rock Metallic alloy wheels, alloy pedals, a mini spare wheel, front sports seats, sports suspension, ambient lighting, LED running lights and LED tail lights, the SYNC 3 system with eight-inch touchscreen and Ford DAB navigation system, emergency assistance, dual zone climate control and power folding door mirrors.
You also get that body styling kit, aQuickclearheated front windscreen that is superb in winter, power operated windows, cruise control, hill launch assist, aThatchamalarm, electric parkingbrakeand a tyre pressure monitoring system. It is also impossible to put the wrong fuel in thanks to Ford'sEasyFuelsystem.
In addition, the car also came with a detachabletowbarat £600, lane keeping aid with traffic sign recognition at £525, blind spot monitoring system at £500, adaptive headlamps at £900, rear privacy glass at £200, a power tailgate at £400, rear view camera at £250, active park assist with front and rear parking sensors at £545 and active city stop at a further £200.
A couple of other less interesting options took the total price to a hefty £36,815 - taking thisMondeoEstate well into the premium sector.