Car Review: Ford - Mondeo  Series 07 (4 stars)

The Ford Mondeo just got better - and the German cars are getting worried.

Things must get tense at a car company's HQ when it comes around to putting pen to paper and updating a best-seller. Just where can you update something that is already best in class, where are the benchmarks? To be raising the bar all by yourself, that takes some work.

In many ways, though, this is the challenge that Ford has faced with the new Mondeo - but they steeled themselves, and decided that the only way is up. And out, and across. The new Mondeo is huge, evidently maintaining the trend of cars getting ever bigger.

As with many of its recent models, Ford has tried to move towards a more premium feel - the interior feels much plusher, for instance. There is more room inside and the seats are very comfortable. The perceived quality of the dashboard has been raised, with the whole thing feeling better assembled and nicely finished.

The Mondeo comes with an options list containing the sorts of toys you would expect to see on more executive cars, and the standard fit list is fairly impressive too. Ford has made an effort not just to see off immediate rivals, but has had a stab at scaring BMW and Audi as well.

The driving experience has become more refined too - the excellent steering is still there and the handling remains reliably pointy, but the cabin has become more hushed, thanks to increased efforts to damp out external noise. The suspension soaks up the bumps well, but we wouldn't recommend the sports suspension.

That's not to say that it's all fun and games - the slightly dull styling is a disappointment, and we fear the sheer size of the Mondeo might put off some customers. The increased dimensions have a knock-on effect in terms of weight, fuel economy and how easy it is to park.

There is an extensive range of engines available, but none of them are really allowed to shine compared to rivals because of the weight penalty the new car brings with it. Anybody should be able to find a motor to suit them, though - our favourite of the range is the 163bhp 2.0-litre TDCI diesel.

The Mondeo remains a compelling proposition for anyone in the market for a family-sized hatchback - it is practical, still great to drive and more refined than before - in fact, it's so polished we'd hate to have to design the next one.

Ford Mondeo Series 07 StatisticsCar Reviews

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