Our Fleet Test Drive: Ford Mondeo estate - 8th Report
02 September 2008
Author: Guy Bird
 Alcantara seats
Big trips tell you a lot about big cars, and my most recent - a holiday haul with four up and a full-to-the-roof boot - gave our large diesel estate a real chance to show its true colours.
Just having a car like this takes the stress out of pre-holiday packing nerves - with 542-1733 litres to play with you know it will all fit in, even if your kids insist on bringing their four-foot long soft toy unicorn along at the last minute.
As well as testing the Mondeo's luggage-carrying capacity, our family vacation gave me a chance to have a play with Ford's much trumpeted new 'human machine interface' (HMI) system.
Normally a disbeliever to most new tech's supposed whizziness I found myself quietly won over on this trip. The way satnav destinations  and CDs can be recalled by the driver with both hands on the wheel is a good example. Once a few addresses have been input manually via the main screen (but not saved to the address book) they are still really easy to find via a few presses of the right-hand side steering wheel buttons .
All set within the ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing Titanium X brushed aluminium dashboard, you feel like the steward of a much smarter ship than the Mondeo badge might historically have suggested. The smart high-bolstered Alcantara seats  stayed supportive and cool in the heat, too, and no one got backache over the long journey.
Driving over all manner of roads from small, twisty and sometimes lumpy Bs to big smooth m-ways, the car's ride and handling set-up always kept the occupants happy and this driver reassured.
The 2.0 TDCi's economy has also improved with more light-foot work to an overall average of 36.6mpg - another 1mpg up on the last report - meaning well over 500 miles can be travelled on one tank of diesel; useful and impressive stats in these fuel-crazy times.