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The fourth-generation Ford Mondeo is a car that might seem to have been around for longer than it has. Partly because the US got it as the Fusion more than a year before it arrived here in 2014, partly because the fast pace of development in the industry put it at risk of being left behind by rivals. Therefore, it's not surprising that Ford has now updated its Mondeo range.
As part of the refresh, Ford has reduced the number of trim levels from seven to five, so buyers are now choosing from the entry-level Zetec Edition, the sporty ST-Line and ST-Line Edition, the Titanium Edition we drove - expected to be the preferred option for fleet buyers - and the top-line Vignale.
Ford says that, with more than 85% of Mondeos sold to fleet users, all three powertrains - petrol, diesel and hybrid - have to do business in the sector, and it is keen to talk up the tax advantages of the hybrid. It's been around for a couple of years, and is only available as a four-door saloon, but in the time since its introduction, uncertainty about the future of diesel has made managers keener to consider alternatives. With the Titanium Edition hybrid only £1,190 more than the equivalent diesel, it's a good time to see how it shapes up.
Horses for courses
The hybrid pairs a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an 88kW electric motor to produce 184hp, with Ford claiming a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. On the road, if you're taking a relaxed drive around town, the system is perfectly pleasant, with the petrol engine getting you up to speed, then the electric motor taking over for silent cruising. But if you're considering a Mondeo, then we'd imagine you're doing most of your driving on motorways. Here, things aren't so good: at these speeds, the petrol engine is needed more, and is noisier than a diesel, making the latter a more refined motorway mile-muncher, although the hybrid's electric motor can just about maintain a cruise by itself for a couple of spells, if the road is level.
Where the hybrid does make sense is on tax, with CO2 emissions of 92g/km, equating to a 17% BIK rate, rather than the equivalent diesel's 117g/km and 25%. On fuel economy, the hybrid achieves 70.6mpg on a combined cycle, compared with 64.2mpg for the diesel.
Get behind the wheel, and the first thing you notice is the 8in touchscreen running Ford's SYNC3 infotainment system. The display is clear, and we found the satellite navigation system made short work of complex city streets.
You also shouldn't be too disturbed by road surfaces, as the Mondeo offers a comfortable ride. It drives well enough, with direct steering and composed handling; however, drivers keen on B-road thrills may want to consider the ST-Line and ST-Line Edition with their lowered sports suspension, which offers more agile cornering.
Inside, there's lots of room for front and rear passengers. However, the hybrid powertrain restricts boot space to 383 litres, which is poor for the sector, and more than 150 litres less than a conventionally engined Mondeo hatch.
Value for money
Saving customers money is something Ford's addressed across the Mondeo range, with an on-the-road price cut of £2,000 for the Titanium Edition, alongside a £2,500 cut on Zetec Edition and ST-Line Edition, and £3,000 cut on Vignale, leading to BIK tax savings.
Overall, the revised Mondeo is a good package, and while not groundbreaking, the new features do improve things. But for users who mainly use motorways, the hybrid might not be the engine to choose.
P11D Price: £25,870
Fuel consumption: 70.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 92g/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £73/£147
Engine size/power: 1,999cc/184hp and 88kW electric battery