• Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 150 Econetic Titanium 5dr, £23,745
  • Engine: 2.0-litre unit producing 148bhp and 258lb.ft of torque
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels Performance:
  • Top speed 134mph, 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds
  • Economy: 69.9mpg combined Emissions: 107g/km of CO2

DESPITE the looks, this is an all-new Ford Mondeo – it concentrates on comfort more than before, and it has a range of new engines to cut emissions and improve fuel economy.

Prime among these are new 1.0-litre turbo petrol and 1.5-litre turbodiesel motors that bring a new wave of downsizing to the family car class. There are fewer dash buttons to come to terms with and Ford now fits a large touchscreen to operate many functions. On top of this, Ford’s Sync2 voice control system lets the driver change settings with simple commands while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

The slimmer headlights give a sleeker look that will be key to the Mondeo clawing back sales from the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series that have proved so popular with their premium images. If the Mondeo is not seen as quite as premium as its rivals, it easily betters them for cabin space and load lugging. There is masses of room in the rear and there is a wealth of adjustment to fine tune the driving position. As for the boot, the hatch’s is large and the estate’s is cavernous.

The new car’s suspension has a little more compliance that translates into a superbly smooth ride over any type of road surface. Refinement is also top drawer. The Mondeo retains its ability to hustle through corners with composed ease, though the new car’s steering is not quite as alert as the old model’s.

Starting at £20,795 for the hatch and £23,795 for the estate, the Mondeo is not as keenly priced as its arch-rival, the Vauxhall Insignia. However, the Mondeo compensates with a generous level of equipment.

Ford may have lost sales ground to its premium rivals, but the bulk of sales for the new Mondeo will still come from company car drivers. Carbon dioxide emissions that dip below 100g/km and up to 78.5mpg average economy will appeal to business users and private buyers alike.