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Test driving the Ford Mondeo as featured in Casino Royale

22-Jun-2007 • Casino Royale

Chances are, the first time most people glimpsed the new Mondeo was during its cameo as James Bond's hire car in Casino Royale.

And I wouldn't be at all surprised if a few million user-choosers in the European cinema audience thought, "Maybe I'll put that A4/3 Series/C Class order on hold for a while", after seeing the new Ford.

There would certainly be a few Brownie points to be earned in choosing the Mondeo over its German rivals, as you'd be saving your company a tidy sum of money with little in the way of personal sacrifice. The new Mondeo may not have the badge cachet of its Teutonic peers, but it's still one classy bit of kit - reports This Is Basingstoke.

With its Aston Martin-esque front end, high waist and "chopped" roof, the Mondeo has road presence in spades. A host of swage lines, bonnet grooves and chrome details conspire to make the new body look busy and interesting.

Inside, the "four-door coupé" roof-line may suggest a cramped cabin but the effect is largely faked by window surround trims which extend below the glass, and headroom is actually the same as a conventional saloon.

The previous Mondeo self-consciously aped Audi with a restrained, black centre console design, but the new model explodes its minor controls across the dash in an orgy of faux brushed chrome. The effect is initially a little startling, but you soon come to appreciate the logical, well-spaced switch layout and the quality feel of the individual buttons.

Even the entry-level Mondeo Edge gets goodies like air-con, cruise control, Ford's excellent Quickclear heated windscreen and a leather steering wheel, plus Ford Intelligent Protection System featuring seven airbags (including a driver's knee airbag) and electronic stability programme.

All models also get Ford's "Easy-fuel" capless fuelling system, which prevents drivers putting the wrong fuel in their car.

Other technology available (optional on some models) includes Hill Launch Assist, Continuously Controlled Damping, Adaptive Cruise Control and run-flat tyres.

Our Zetec trim test model came fitted with Ford's 1.8-litre TDCi engine producing 123bhp. Once you get used to this engine's lack of outright punch, it really is a peach. Like a petrol engine, a few more revs are needed to get it moving from a standstill, but, once rolling, it's as smooth, quiet and refined as any petrol unit with a useful amount of urge in the mid-range.

The "motorway" speeds that most rep-mobiles get driven at all day are, unsurprisingly, the Mondeo's natural territory, but when the time comes to leave the motorway, Ford's now legendary chassis-tuning abilities mean the Mondeo is always the perfect companion.

Ford's latest Mondeo is a refined, high-quality package which can only bolster the Blue Oval's reputation as Britain's Most Trusted Brand.

And if it's good enough for Bond, it's good enough for Barry in sales.

Ford Mondeo 1.8 TDCi (125PS) Zetec
Price: £17,995
0-62mph: 10.5 secs
Max speed: 124 mph
Engine size: 1,753cc
Max power: 123bhp
Insurance group: 7
Features: Air-conditioning, cruise control, heated windscreen, leather steering wheel and gear knob, seven airbags (including driver's knee air-bag), electronic stability programme, Easyfuel capless fuelling system, six-speed gearbox

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