Response, ability and responsibility
by Andy Bryenton
How do you improve on a car, which has been segment-defining worldwide for decades, holding the line against the incursion of countless crossover SUVs for the classic sedan shape? How do you top a vehicle that traces its roots back through the Sierra and Cortina badges to the very roots of Ford’s mid-sized range? Easy — you add electricity.
The Hybrid Mondeo is well and truly here, offering fuel economy figures, which were once only in the realm of strange-looking eco-cars with bicycle wheels while still managing the most important magic trick of all. It looks, feels and drives like a ‘proper’ Mondeo. That is to say; it’s a reassuringly well balanced, comfortable spacious, discreetly well-appointed big four-door with kilometre-devouring highway manners fit for the longest drives.
The fact that it sips petrol to deliver a frugal 25 kilometres of driving a litre of juice is just the icing on the cake.
Certainly, the low rolling resistance tyres feel slightly different to those fitted to a petrol or diesel Mondeo, and there’s a bit of a boot space deficit compared to the gas models, as this is where the batteries live.
These are small prices to pay for a hybrid that looks and feels as non-hybrid-like as possible. It doesn’t virtue signal ‘I’m saving the world’ with a kooky shape and massive eco badges. It just gets on with the job of using as little petroleum as possible to deliver a comfortable drive, switching between petrol and electric power so seamlessly that it’s hard to notice it happening.
There are those who will opine that a diesel-powered Mondeo costs slightly more to run, but delivers a bit more pep, though this simply illustrates the point that what some folks are looking for is not necessarily in the ‘hybrid’ part of the name, but in the ‘Mondeo’ part. We’d counter than the lack of RUC faffing about, and the fact that the Mondeo is a comfy cruiser and not a track-attack weapon makes the hybrid a cut above.
To finish, here’s a story about how quiet the Mondeo Hybrid is. When attempting to move one for a photo shoot recently, three first-time drivers attempted to turn the vehicle on, and, utterly taken in by its similarity to the usual Mondeo, all three were perplexed to hear no engine noise. Of course, it starts in electric mode, but this is a hybrid that looks and feels so much like a regular car that all were fooled into waiting for that old combustion burble. That’s some clever work by Ford.