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Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi Eco Graphite first drive

  • We test Ford's new entry-level specification Mondeo
  • Smaller diesel engine means low tax and potential 1,000 mile range
  • Company car tax from £51 per month at 20% pay scale

Launched in 2007, it’s safe to say the Ford Mondeo has been a hit for company car drivers for many years.

There’s good reason for that, too, since it drives incredibly well, is reliable and doesn’t cost the earth to run. It’s due for replacement soon, but Ford needs to keep its buyers interested and that’s where the Graphite special edition comes in. It offers you an entry-level Mondeo for less cash than the majority of the Focus line-up.

Fleet drivers may be particularly interested since the Graphite's low list price means a low P11d value and company car tax. In this case, our example has a P11d value of £18,140 without optional extras.

With CO2 emissions of 112g/km, it sits in a Benefit-in-Kind tax band of 17%, making for monthly tax for 20% tax payers of £51.

Our car had a couple of optional extras pushing that monthly cost up a little. The silver metallic paint costs £545, the cruise control £200, the alarm a further £250 and front and rear parking sensors £450. The extra £1,445 on the P11d value means monthly tax costs of £55.

The cruise control is especially useful when driving at constant speeds such as through roadworks, and the parking sensors will help protect your car from parking bumps which may otherwise cause complaints from fleet managers when returning the car with ‘fair wear and tear’.

There’s a decent amount of kit on board too with 17-inch alloys, front fog lights, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, Bluetooth handsfree connectivity, air conditioning and a radio/CD player all fitted as standard.

It also has Ford’s Easy-Fuel system, which prevents people putting the wrong fuel into the car - another reason for your fleet manager to rejoice.

Diesel Graphite models also get Sports suspension, though this isn't immediately obvious thanks to the Mondeo's smooth, refined and comfortable ride. You certainly wouldn’t need to worry about doing serious mileage in it.

It does handle well, though. It’s balanced and composed through corners and always feels stable while the steering is well-weighted and the driving position brilliant. It all adds up to make the Mondeo really rewarding to drive.

The engine isn’t the most powerful with 114bhp and 270Nm of pulling power, which allows it to travel from 0-62mph in 11.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 116mph. This is more than adequate in most situations, but you’ll have to drop a gear or two in the excellent six-speed manual gearbox if you want to over-take slower-moving traffic.

Thanks to the frugal nature of the engine, however, fuel economy from a car of this size is impressive. The official claimed average is 65.7mpg, which means a theoretical range of 1,012 miles from a tank of diese thought we were seeing closer to 48mpg over combined driving. That still means a range of 739 miles between trips to the filling station though.

If you’re looking for a large yet cost-effective car which is actually great to drive, you could do a lot worse than choosing the Ford Mondeo Graphite.

Read the full Ford Mondeo review by clicking here.

Also consider:

Skoda Octavia

In terms of running costs you won’t find much better than the Octavia. Greenline-spec cars come with ultra-low CO2 and good fuel economy, while it’s also a great car to drive too.

Mazda6

The Mazda6 is based on the firm’s new SKYACTIV technology, which blends lightweight structure with clever engine tech to provide a seriously efficient package.

Vauxhall Insignia

The Insignia is a bit bigger than the Ford offering and boasts some pretty low running costs thanks to frugal diesel engines. You’re also likely to get a decent deal on an Insignia as large discounts are available.