Much of that previous experience was acquired in a 2.0-litre diesel estate with which I hauled a caravan to the Scottish Highlands and back, but repeating those kinds of heroics might be more challenging this time, because I’ve opted for the Hybrid. Launched in 2019, this version offers the most up-to-date form this supposed dinosaur takes today, but it produces a relatively meagre 128lb ft of torque from its combination of Duratec 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and an electric motor with a 1.4kWh battery pack.
There’s 184bhp of power at a fairly lofty 6000rpm, but you rarely feel motivated to reach for those kind of heights, not least because the engine is hamstrung by being mated to a droning continuously variable transmission that doesn’t encourage you to drive the Mondeo in the racy fashion that its sporty styling pack encourages.
Those sharp threads come courtesy of the generous ST-Line Edition trim of our car, which is hard to fault: a panoramic roof and a reversing camera are the only things that might have been nice inclusions, but that’s me being spoiled.
Aside from the slight disappointment of the performance, the first few weeks with the car have served only to back up my Mondeo preconceptions. The big Ford remains a very appealing daily companion, with delightfully accurate, well-weighted and responsive steering, a supple ride (in spite of my car featuring ‘Sports Tuned’ suspension and sitting on whopping 19in rims) and a roomy, practical and comfortable cabin.
And as well as the Mondeo Estate Hybrid officially emitting a relatively meagre 106g/km of CO2 (just 12g/km more than the Toyota Prius), the first few hundred miles suggest that it’s going to be pretty economical. I’ve been restricted to mainly town use so far, and it has returned a perfectly acceptable 45.9mpg, with the electric and petrol power units working in seamless harmony. It pulls away silently on self-charged battery power, with the combustion engine only kicking in once you want to make more confident progress.
The boot is slightly less impressive, however. Even in standard form, the Mondeo Estate’s 500-litre load bay is bettered by roomier rivals, but in the Hybrid, that’s cut to just 403 litres by the location of the additional battery pack beneath the boot floor. It’s still a useful space, but it’s disappointing when you consider the car’s overall dimensions, and it really underlines the fact that this is a model that wasn’t designed with an electrified future in mind and has instead been bent to the will of the buying public, slightly against its wishes.