First the motorist is squeezed, and now comes the credit crunch. Ian Robertson tests the eco-friendliest Ford Mondeo for size
With the Government seeming to want to put more and more pressure on the motorist, car makers are having to come up with ever more innovative ways to get CO2 emissions down, and fuel economy up. While superminis are usually great in this area, large family cars aren’t so good. Or are they? The latest breed of eco-focused cars from Ford and Volkswagen show that it is possible to be frugal, yet enjoy the benefits of a big car.
The third generation Mondeo was launched back in 2007 to pretty much universal acclaim, with the 2.0 TDCi engined versions coming in for particular praise. Now a year or so on, Ford has unveiled the Mondeo ECOnetic – a car that produces just 139g/km of CO2, meaning that it falls into tax bracket C for vehicle excise duty, and a £120 fee for an annual tax disc. In order to lower the emissions figure from 154g/km in the regular Mondeo 1.8 TDCi to 139g/km, Ford has kitted out the ECOnetic with a rear spoiler, low rolling resistance tyres, lowered sports suspension, and fitted the front grille with air deflectors to decrease drag. In addition, the 1.8-litre 8v turbodiesel unit has been retuned to provide around 10 per cent better fuel economy, and is longer geared.
On the road, it is easy to see why the Mondeo has been praised by so many, with a great combination of nimble handling and a pliant ride. While the ECOnetic can never be described as slow, you can certainly notice the changes made to improve economy. An area that surprised me was Ford’s decision to fit five gears, rather than six. I would have thought that the economy gains could have been even greater had this been provided. While many of Ford’s rivals have gone down the route of offering the lowest power output in their eco models, the Mondeo ECOnetic produces a class leading 123bhp, at the same time as putting out low emissions, equipping the Ford with a package that is both sprightly and frugal. In contrast, the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion, probably the closest car in terms of ethos, develops 104bhp, while producing 136g/km of CO2. And though the emissions are commendably low, the driver may feel shortchanged in terms of overall power and on the road driveability.
Ford is onto another winner with the eco-friendliest of all Mondeo’s. It possesses of all the attributes that the rest of the range is endowed with, and boasts better fuel consumption and lower emissions. Whether the Mondeo ECOnetic will still rein once Vauxhall has unveiled it’s competitor to the crown, the Insignia EcoFlex, we will just have to wait and see.
RIVALS: Renault Laguna Dynamique dCi 110, VW Passat BlueMotion 1.9 TD
- Engine: 1753cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 123bhp at 3,700rpm
- Max Torque: 236lb ft at 1,800rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 800kg
- Combined Consumption: 53.3mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 139g/km (C)
- 0-62mph: 10.4secs
- Max speed: 126mph
- Insurance group: 8
Dynamic handling, supple ride, lots of space, enormous boot, low emissions
Performance is blunted by eco measures, wheels look tiny, despite being 16-inches