By Mike Torpey on 2018-07-21 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Ford Mondeo 1.5
THE Ford Mondeo has come a long way since the old repmobile days - when every other car you saw on the motorway sported the Blue Oval badge.
Everything about the humble Mondeo has improved, significantly, to the point that the popular business cum family hatchback is no longer so very modest.
The advent and full-on sales push behind SUVs, coupled with an overall rise in the quality of hatchbacks and estates, has made life increasingly challenging for the Mondeo.
But everything about the latest model - from design to its equipment - is of a higher order, to the point that it can be compared favourably with premium offerings like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Volkswagen Passat.
Sleeker and more aerodynamic in its styling, the popular Ford clearly leans towards comfort and convenience, and while the centre console and dash is still trademark Ford, there's a more upmarket feel to the cabin as a whole.
Passenger space has never been an issue and nothing has changed on that front, whether it be leg and elbow room in the rear - three can fit easily across the back - or with regard to carrying capacity.
So much so that we dropped down the back seats and slid an old mattress inside with inches to spare before heading off to the tip.
Otherwise the cabin features an eight-inch central touchscreen for the DAB radio and CD set-up along with the sat-nav, and you also get heated seats, a pair of USB ports plus Ford's latest SYNC voice-activated connectivity system for making hands-free phone calls and hearing text messages.
A deep centre armrest plus extra space behind the floating centre console, a glovebox and various cupholders ensure plenty of oddment space.
As always Ford offers a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, the tested 1.5-litre EcoBoost variant proving one of the most popular.
That's no surprise given that despite this being a large, heavy hatchback we were still able to return an average 42 miles per gallon over almost 300 miles of mixed urban and motorway driving, compared to the official figure of 47.9mpg.
It could do with a bit more punch but certainly fulfils the needs of most families and, with business drivers in mind, it is beautifully smooth and quiet on faster roads.
Ford gearboxes have always been among the best in the business - well placed, positive and easy shifting - and nothing has changed with the Mondeo, though from a handling point of view it feels more comfortable than dynamic.
Mondeo models are fairly well specced up anyway but the mid-range Titanium brings goodies like lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition, automatic headlamps, 18-inch alloys, 10-way powered and heated leather seats, keyless entry and rain-sensing wipers.
Active City Stop, emergency Active Braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and pedestrian detection are also available.
Ford Mondeo 1.5 EcoBoost Titanium
Mechanical: 160ps, 1,499cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 138mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.9
Insurance Group: 22
C02 emissions: 136g/km
Bik rating: 28%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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