REVIEW DATE: 07 Aug 2008
Big cars can be green too, at least that's what Ford's Mondeo ECOnetic would like us to believe. Steve Walker reports
Some tweaks to the aerodynamics and a set of low rolling resistance tyres make a small but significant impact on the Ford Mondeo ECOnetic's fuel economy and emissions. The car has the potential to save company car buyers quite a sum and the general competence of the standard Mondeo package sweetens the deal further.
A logical first step towards greener motoring is to get a smaller car. Typically, smaller vehicles weigh less and use smaller engines so they'll tend to use less fuel and emit fewer of the nasties we're all trying to curb. Problems start to arise when your family just won't fit in a supermini or hatchback and you're forced to go with something bigger. How do you cut costs and do your bit for the environment from behind the wheel of a full-size family car? Ford thinks it might have the answer: it's called the Mondeo ECOnetic.
Ford has wheeled out ECOnetic versions of vehicles from across the more compact end of its model range but the Mondeo is far from compact. The ECOnetic formula is a relatively simple one of low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic tweaks made to a standard car which result in the economy and emissions savings but with a vehicle the size of the Mondeo, the effect of such alterations tends to diminish. Still, high mileage drivers in the current climate will take any reductions in fuel costs and taxation they can get, so the Mondeo ECOnetic certainly appears to have a potential market to target.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine with its common-rail injection architecture and 115PS power output. It actually moves the Mondeo with some vigour, pulling strongly through the rev range. The 0-60mph sprint takes around 10.5s on the way to a top speed of around 125mph so this environmental special hardly forces major sacrifices upon the driver who likes to get a move on. The benefits of the low rolling resistance tyres fitted to the ECOnetic are a little less clear cut. They obviously help the car achieve its modest fuel consumption but they grip less effectively than standard tyres, increasing braking distances and acting as a blemish on the Mondeo's otherwise highly polished driving experience.
"The ECOnetic formula is a relatively simple one of low rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic tweaks"
The Mondeo always feels a quality product. The slick steering, the weighting of the pedals and gearchange and the excellent damping are reminiscent of Lexus rather than Ford. The car glides down the road but you can feel the suspension doing its thing and the set-up is taut enough to really reward spirited driving.
So what separates the ECOnetic from more profligate Ford Mondeos? Visually, not a lot. There's a very subtle rear spoiler on the five-door hatch model, lowered sports suspension and wheel covers for the little 16" steel wheels that are shod with those low rolling resistance tyres but other than that, the only giveaway is the ECOnetic badge on the tailgate. The most significant changes are made out of sight underneath the Mondeo where the under tray has been smoothed out to help the car cut through the air more effectively. There's also aerodynamics-enhancing sports suspension, air deflectors and a rear spoiler, while inside, there's an optimum gearchange indicator.
Take a seat inside the cabin and you'll notice high quality surfaces, materials and finishes. Expect to find dual-zone automatic temperature control, Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, cruise control, seven airbags and a Quickclear heated front windscreen. As with the outside, dynamic lines and styling curves are again evident, plus the low profile instrument panel provides very generous cabin space for front seat occupants. The dashboard is clear and the major controls for the electronics systems largely intuitive. Rear seat headroom and legroom have been maximized for occupant comfort and safety and the boot in the Mondeo is vast at 528-litres in the hatch.
You'll pay about the same for one of these as you would for a standard Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Zetec - but bear in mind that in that case, you'd get 140PS, not 115. You might expect a green-special model to be fairly austere inside in the interests of keeping the weight down but the Mondeo ECOnetic has quite a specification to its name. Fortunately, none of the extras seem overly heavy. There's front fog lights, a leather steering wheel, electric windows and electric adjustment for the front seats. Both five-door and estate models are on offer.
The Mondeo's core market of fleet customers and company car users always has an eye open for cost savings and the ECOnetic model can give them what they want. Of course, there are alternatives for family car buyers looking to minimise their environmental impact and financial outlay and the Mondeo's figures will need to stack-up well in comparison to these.
The bottom line with the Mondeo ECOnetic is the fuel economy figure of 54.3mpg on the combined cycle rising to 64.2mpg in motorway cruising. This is a decent showing for a car of the Mondeo's size although how close you'll get to it in real world driving conditions is open to debate. The resulting emissions figure of 139g/km will help owners dodge a sizable chunk of taxation, especially if their Mondeo ECOnetic is a company car.
Residual values for the Mondeo look to be standing up very well with initial estimates around ten percentage points better than the previous generation car. Compared to models like the Mazda6, the Peugeot 407 and the Renault Laguna, these are extremely strong indeed. Only the Honda Accord really gets close in terms of mainstream brands.
Ford hasn't done anything too spectacular with its Mondeo ECOnetic. There's no advanced new technology, just a series of aerodynamic tweaks and some skinny tyres but the results will be enough to persuade many of the car's merits - especially those looking to reduce their company car tax burden.
The Mondeo ECOnetic's slippery underside, lowered suspension, rear spoiler and low-rolling resistance tyres work to give combined fuel economy of 54.3mpg and 139g/km emissions. That's a small but significant improvement on the 50.4mpg and 149g/km of, say, a standard 1.8 TDCi Mondeo. Is it worth the additional outlay? For some the answer will be yes and for others it will be a no but it may take some time in a darkened room with a calculator to work where you stand.
The results below show the top MONDEO deals on buyacar
|Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 140 Titanium 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £17,995||Save £5,436|
|Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 163 Titanium X Business Edition 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £17,571||Save £6,224|
|Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 163 Titanium X Business Edition 5dr diesel estate|
|Price £18,465||Save £6,580|
|Ford Mondeo 2.2 TDCi Titanium X Sport 5dr diesel hatchback|
|Price £20,850||Save £7,400|
|Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 140 Edge 5dr diesel estate|
|Price £16,172||Save £5,273|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT MONDEO DEALS|
|For MONDEO ECOnetic|
|OVERALL||7.8 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||8|
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