Ford's jolly good green giant

Andy RussellFord's frugal new Mondeo ECOnetic diesel is a mean greenie, says ANDY RUSSELL.My boys think I'm a real anorak when it comes to fuel economy but it seems it runs in the family.Andy Russell

Ford's frugal new Mondeo ECOnetic diesel is a mean greenie, says ANDY RUSSELL.

My boys think I'm a real anorak when it comes to fuel economy but it seems it runs in the family.

For, having returned to England, my Australian cousin has discovered the delights of driving diesel and regularly updates me on how his 2.0-litre car is now averaging more than 50mpg.


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It's been an eye-opener for a man from Down Under where, with petrol prices considerably less than ours, diesels in some quarters are greeted with the same enthusiasm as England regaining the Ashes.

So imagine my delight as I rolled up at his home to tell him I had achieved nearly 63mpg over the 20-mile run and averaged 53mpg over a couple of hundred miles giving a potential of more than 800 miles between fill-ups.

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I wasn't even driving some small-engined diesel supermini - this was Ford's new Mondeo 2.0-litre ECOnetic turbo diesel, the tag given to the greenest models in the Mondeo, Focus and Fiesta ranges.

Based on the standard 2.0-litre turbo diesel, the ECOnetic model - the cleanest, greenest Mondeo - develops 115PS compared to 140PS but, more importantly, delivers virtually the same amount of low-down pulling power but across a slightly wider rev band. Make use of this strong low-down pull and it picks up cleanly and smoothly and when you want full power for overtaking it revs freely yet remains refined.

On paper it is a second and a half slower over the 0-62mph sprint, and has a lower top speed but given that it is still 121mph that is rather academic. In real-world driving it is irrelevant because the ECOnetic model makes good progress and, to be honest, does not feel much slower than the 140PS version on the open road but ekes 6mpg more out of every gallon and that's a lot of fuel if you cover 30,000 miles a year.

Coming in just below the magical 140g/km emissions level means it is going to be particularly attractive to company car drivers - as well as the extra miles per gallon they will be taxed on just 18pc of its list price rather than 22pc for the 156g/km 140PS 2.0 TDCi and even the 125PS 1.8TDCi's 154g/km means a benefit-in-kind tax rate of 21pc.

Other economy-enhancing measures are low-rolling resistance tyres, a gear-change indicator, lowered sport suspension to improve aerodynamics, air deflectors and a rear spoiler.

I hadn't driven the latest Mondeo since its launch and had forgotten what an accomplished all-rounder it is, be it eating up motorway miles or tackling twists and turns on country roads.

Inside this huge hatchback will cosset five large adults with a vast hatchback boot that will swallow their luggage and a classy cabin that puts many much more expensive cars to shame.

The standard ECOnetic model comes with dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity with voice control, cruise control, seven airbags including one for the driver's knees, front fog lamps, four electric windows, heated front screen, stability and traction control but pay �300 for a set of alloy wheels.

Step up to the new Titanium model - �150 more than the 140PS 2.0 TDCi - and you get a car loaded with even more creature comforts.

The Mondeo ECOnetic proves that you don't have to have a small car to be eco-friendly.

Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi ECOnetic

PRICE: �20,795 (Titanium �23,295)

ENGINE: 1,997cc, 115PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph 10.9 seconds; top speed 121mph

MPG: Urban 42.8; extra urban 64.2; combined 54.3

EMISSIONS: 139g/km

BENEFIT-IN-KIND TAX RATE: 18pc

INSURANCE GROUP: 8

WARRANTY: Three years/60,000 miles

WILL IT FIT IN THE GARAGE: Length 4,778mm; width (with door mirrors) 2,078mm; height 1,500mm

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