- We like...Economy, space, drive
- We don't...Pricey: a VW Passat is cheaper
Big, family eco-car that sips fuel to travel as many as 53 miles on a gallon. It's good - but is it the greenest you can buy? Imagine. A big saloon, roomy enough to take five adults plus a weekend’s luggage. One that drives normally and – this is the key thing – travels over 50mpg on a gallon of diesel. That’s the Mondeo Econetic.
Following in the shs of its little brother, the Focus Econetic, this car shaves the already impressive figures achieved by a regular 1.8-engined Mondeo turbodiesel by making an adjustment here, a tweak there. The engine itself is left as is, aside from a re-mapped management system, although the gearbox gets a drink of low viscosity oil to free it up. Otherwise changes are restricted to taller ratios for the gears, the fitment of easy-roll tyres and minor alterations to the car to make it slippier through the air.
But it’s enough to squeeze an extra 3 miles from a gallon, and also to lower its carbon dioxide output by 10g/km to 139g/km. That also makes this car capable of covering over 800 miles between fill-ups.
Like any Mondeo, this is a big car, giving a cavernous boot and huge cabin space for its five occupants, front and rear. It also rides fluently and steers so precisely, it gives the almost uncanny feeling that the car ‘shrinks’ around you as you drive.
Since there’s just 123bhp there to haul this car around it’s no firecracker to drive, although its 1.8 motor pulls gamely from low revs. It’s quiet once warmed and fades to a distant hum on the motorway. Most wind, tyre and other road noise stays outside the car, making it a calming space in which to pass long journeys.
It’s reasonably well equipped, packing the kit you’d expect for its £18,455 price – seven airbags, air conditioning and a quality stereo – although alloy wheels are a surprise omission (those on our photo car are a £600 option). But it is £1000 or so dearer than a similarly equipped ‘regular’ 1.8 Mondeo turbodiesel. Do the maths and you’ve a fair distance to drive in the Econetic to recoup what you’ll save on fuel.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen has an ‘eco’ version of its Passat, the Bluemotion, which almost matches the Mondeo’s length and girth and is an arguably classier car to boot. It’s less powerful but has a lower CO2 reading (136g/km) and is even more of a fuel-sipper at 55.4mpg. If that’s not enough, it costs £17,295, making it £1200 cheaper than the Mondeo. And it has alloy wheels as standard.
The Ford is the nicer of the two to pilot. But whether that’s enough to wrest the extra cash from you depends on how much of a driver you think you are. For us, the Passat would get the nod – just.
View and buy new and used Ford Mondeos on motors.co.uk
- Engines1.8 TDCi
- 0-60 mph11.3sec
- Insurance groups7
Motors.co.uk value verdict: