Great Britain

CAR REVIEW: Ford Mondeo hybrid

Ford has made further improvements to its hybrid system to make its petrol-electric Mondeo even more relaxing to drive.

Indeed, the powertrain of this large estate is so smooth and quiet that the cabin is a haven of serenity.

On the first day in the hybrid Mondeo's company, you'll probably start off driving it like you'd drive a conventional car.

However, bit by bit, the graphics on the instrument display that encourage more efficient driving creep into your consciousness and shape your approach to the road ahead.

Suddenly, you find that driving is no longer about simply getting from A to B - it's about taking the chance to recharge the battery as you go down a hill, it's about driving delicately enough to stay on electric power where possible, it's about making the most of the clever hybrid technology on offer.

With the battery recharging achieved through regenerative braking and a petrol-powered generator, you don't need to worry about plugging in the car at a charge point.

As my driving technique became more suited to the way the car wanted to be driven, I started to see some rewarding fuel economy figures, especially for such a large piece of metal.

Officially, the Mondeo hybrid is capable of an average of 47.1mpg and - with my driving technique suitably polished - I was achieving fuel economy not far short of that figure.

On occasions when you do need to make swift progress, there's a substantial 187ps at your disposal, with the Mondeo capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds.

However, the response is not especially swift when you first give the accelerator a firm press, meaning you have to wait a second or two for that power to become available.

The brisk if unspectacular performance is backed up by decent handling, with accurate and reasonably weighty steering matched by good balance and composure through the corners.

In terms of appearance, the Mondeo remains a good-looking vehicle with an instantly recognisable silhouette.

It recently underwent a facelift, albeit one so subtle that all but the keenest observer would have missed it.

It meant that all Mondeos got a new front bumper, different grille designs and new lights at the back.

The fact the visual changes were understated was no bad thing, as the Mondeo already sported a striking a contemporary look.

With its 18-inch alloy wheels and smart blue paintwork, my test car certainly looked the part.

The cabin is hugely spacious both front and back, with the type of comfy, well-crafted seats into which you can sink and relax.

This Titanium spec-level version came with generous kit and was pretty agreeable.

Leather upholstery, ambient lighting and a well-integrated eight-inch touch screen add to the cabin's pleasant feel.

Other features at Titanium trim level include rain sensing front windscreen wipers, 10-way driver and passenger power seats, variable heated front seats, bright-finish front door scuff plates, traffic sign recognition and a keyless entry system

Perhaps the main drawback comes when you open the boot of this estate version to find that the available space has been vastly reduced by a sizeable bulge concealing the battery and electric motor.

All things considered, it's an attractive offering, underpinned by an excellent hybrid system, bags of space for front and rear seat passengers and sharp exterior styling.

The Lowdown

Ford Mondeo Titanium Edition HEV Estate

PRICE: £29,450

ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol hybrid

TRANSMISSION: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

0-62MPH: 9.2 seconds

TOP SPEED: 116mph

ECONOMY: 46.3mpg and emissions of 113g/km