Easier to choose

your new Mondeo

Ford Mondeo ST-Line, front static
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, front static 2
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, front action
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, rear action
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, rear static
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, badge
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, front seats
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, dashboard
Ford Mondeo ST-Line, boot

FORD has tried to make life simpler - and cheaper - for anyone who fancies a new Mondeo.

Simpler, by cutting the previous seven model variants to five and easier on the pocket, especially for the company car drivers who make up the vast majority Mondeo drivers, by cutting list prices by up to £3,200.

Not that simple, in fact, with the new Mondeo range stretching to 75 versions, taking in four-door saloon, five-door hatchback and estate and powered by diesel or petrol engines, or a petrol/electric hybrid.

Oh, and don't forget manual or automatic transmissions and the possibility of all-wheel drive.

As to the price cuts; perhaps they now reflect the sort of discount you'd have already been able to wangle from your dealer in a private sale. More importantly, they lower the benefit in kind (BIK) pinned on a company car user.

Take the cheapest new Mondeo, a £19,455 Zetec 1.0T Ecoboost hatchback (hardly anyone will) and a company car user will be massaged a gentle £70.51 a month in BIK if they're a 20 per cent taxpayer.

At the other end of the Mondeo scale, a £32,695 Vignale Estate with 2.0 diesel engine, auto gears and all-wheel drive (another ultra rare combination) will hit its 40 per cent taxpayer user for £324.40 a month.

Whichever new Mondeo you end up with it will now certainly come with DAB, cruise control, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors and automatic emergency city braking, this latter feature responsible for a two or three group drop in insurance ratings, thanks to a lowered likelihood of bent bumpers.

Ford thinks private buyers will fancy a Mondeo in ST-Line trim, which adds £3,500 over the cost of an entry level Zetec but includes larger (18ins) alloy wheels, mildly lowered and stiffened suspension, front sports-style seats with red stitching, alloy foot pedals and a dark headliner.

They're in addition to a styling kit that marks out an ST-Line car thanks to unique bumpers front and rear and lower side panels in body colour. Inside, you'll also discover smart velour floor mats, a push button starter and more red stitching to steering wheel, centre console and side trims.

Out on the road in a highly spec'd ST-Line, costing £26,595 and boasting automatic gears and all-wheel drive, you notice how much of the latest Mondeo stays unchanged - and are thankful for it.

Things start off well with a perfect driving position and set of clear instruments ahead of you and continue in similar fashion as you discover a car that rides the rougher streets of London with well damped aplomb.

The interior is neat and orderly but doesn't give off the posh car ambience that points people to dearer cars like an Audi but holds its own against an obvious competitor in the equally roomy shape of Vauxhall's Insignia.

A range topping Vignale version tried later was quieter still and presented a more modern and crisply digital instrument cluster but still wouldn't worry an Audi for instant interior appeal.

Still, you won't have trouble beating 40mpg in your diesel Mondeo and the taxman won't think Christmas has arrived when he ask for your Exchequer contribution.

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