After a shaky start our long-term Ford Mondeo estate is now a bit happier, and is firmly in the role it was designed to do – be a great all-round large family car.

Due to our car’s initial unreliability it did less than 300 miles in the first month with us because it spent much of that time waiting to go the dealer, or was in the dealership being fixed. As it happened, it seems the AA did more than the Ford dealer: the former got the car started [1] while the latter never found what had caused the problem.

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Now in its third month with us, the Mondeo has made up for the lack of miles by racking up another 2000 in next to no time.

Basically, it’s turned into our vehicle of choice when BusinessCar staff want to carry four people on long trips. In two of the past four weekends it’s been to Wales, on the third it’s been to Northumberland, and on the fourth the boot and folding seats have carried garden rubbish to the tip and carted home trees from the garden centre [2]. It’s even ferried around the in-laws on various day-trips over Easter.

And during the week, the estate has been in near-constant service, taking us to various business meetings along the UK’s motorways – just what our Business Car of the Year was designed to do.

The result is an average fuel figure of 38.5mpg, which is 9.4mpg off the official combined figure of 47.9mpg, but when you’re carrying people and luggage, the extra weight will have an impact on fuel consumption. Historically, we’ve also found that fuel consumption usually improves as a car’s mileage increases, and so far our Mondeo has only done nearly 3000.

The more observant will have noticed the car is only a ‘bit’ happier because in the past 100 miles an ‘oil service’ message has appeared. We’ve checked the oil level and it’s fine, so we’ve booked the Mondeo into the dealer to see what’s up. There’s a two-week wait on bookings so we’ll let you know how things go in our next report.