The Ford Mondeo is starting to grow a little elderly.
The current Mark IV generation was launched back in 2007, although a facelifted model was introduced last year with new engines, LED daytime running lights and a few other tweaks.
Ford sent me one of these models to play with, powered by a new 1.6 litre petrol unit from its efficient EcoBoost stable of engines. The turbocharged unit puts out 158bhp, making it good for 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 134mph.
Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it’ll return 44.1mpg and emits 149g/km of CO2, meaning it’ll cost £130 a year to road tax.
Of course, the petrol is not the most economical engine in the Mondeo range. The 1.6 litre diesel EcoBoost achieves 65.7mpg and emits 114g/km of CO2 meaning it’ll cost just £30 a year in road tax. It costs £1,200 more than the 1.6 petrol, though, and it’s a lot slower: taking more than two seconds longer to get to 62mph.
My test car costs £23,195 in top spec Titanium X trim, which includes automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, starter button, cruise control, dual air conditioning, Bluetooth with voice control, snazzy alloys, lots of chrome and so on.
Ford added the Premium X Pack on top of this which includes keyless entry, leather seats, bi-xenon headlights and privacy glass and the Driver’s Assistance Pack 2.
This latter costs a hefty £2,050 but includes useful safety features such as lane departure warning system, blind spot information system, and adaptive cruise control, which automatically slows and speeds the car back up again as you approach other traffic.
One feature I could have done without is the rear privacy glass. Yes, it means no one can see in, but it makes the rear very dark and it hampers visibility, making reversing much more tricky.
In most respects, the Mondeo is still a fantastic car. It offers almost superfluous levels of space, with acres of room front, rear, and in the boot.
Of course, it’s grown on the outside as well so if you’re not comfortable driving big cars, the Mondeo isn’t for you.
Ride and handling are first rate. On a jaunt from Dundee to Edinburgh, sitting at 70mph in sixth, it was cruising comfortably enough to rival an Audi or BMW.
It’s quieter, roomier and more enjoyable to drive than its greatest rival, the Vauxhall Insignia.
Even as the Mondeo enters middle age, it remains the class leader.
Price: £23,195.0-62mph: 9.3sec.Top speed: 134mph. Economy: 44.1mpg. CO2 emissions: 149g/km.