Walking to the brilliantly black Mondeo Vignale, it is hard not to be impressed with its stance - the chrome accents, privacy glass and the very tasty graphite-coloured alloys, all very easy on the eye. While it looked the same, this model wore a badge sitting just above the rear bumper saying ‘Hybrid’ - the first one seen on a Ford, who have plans for 13 new, full or partial EVs, to hit the streets of Europe and North America by 2020, including a hybrid version of the Mustang that promises to deliver V8 power.
Model: Mondeo HEV
Trim: Titanium & Vignale
Engine & Electric Motors: 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder Petrol, with two electric motors, (one to support the petrol engine in driving the wheels and another to enable regenerative charging to the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission: CVT – Constant Velocity Transmission
Drive: Front wheel drive
CO2: 92g/km (Titanium & Vignale)
Road Tax Band: A2
Annual Road Tax: €180
Price: Mondeo HEV Titanium from €32,745 - Mondeo HEV Vignale from €35,280.
Some other Hybrids: Toyota Prius, VW Passat GTE, Volvo S60 Hybrid, BMW 330E, Audi A3 e-tron, Mercedes-Benz E300 BueTEC Hybrid, Lexus CT200h
While the previous Vignale, the 180bhp, turbo-diesel, requires a handover of circa 43k, Ford have thrown tabby into the pigeon coop with the launch of the Mondeo HEV, in Titanium and Vignale trim, at a lip-pursing transaction price of €32,745 (including a promotional launch discount and VRT rebate). The transaction price for the Mondeo HEV Vignale is from €35,280 – cue more lip-pursing. Both sit in Road Tax Band A2 with an annual tax of €180.
Ford see Hybrid Electric Vehicles as a bridge between traditional internal combustion engines and full electric motors, eliminating the ‘range anxiety’ that can worry some motorists to the latter. Drivers definitely need to alter their driving style to get the best out of any of the modern HEV/EV’s out there, the Mondeo coming with an on-board Smartgauge interface to help monitor, manage and reduce fuel and energy consumption. This features include “Brake Coach” that encourages gradual braking to help return more energy to the battery – planning and smoothness are key.
A brief test drive at the launch of the Mondeo HEV, particularly in the above detailed Vignale trim, gave me a fuel reading of 4.8litres/100kms over open road and the west Dublin traffic commute. Not bad for a car powered by a 2.0 petrol engine, with two electric motors, (one to support the petrol engine in driving the wheels and another to enable regenerative charging to the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery), both located behind the rear seats and reducing the standard Mondeo boot space from 500-litres to 386 litres.
This self-charging HEV has a power output of a healthy 190bhp and drive to the wheels is via a CVT, (Constant Velocity Transmission), transmission. The system can harness over 90% of the energy created during braking. A longer more investigative drive in the Mondeo Hybrid would be required to check if its road tactility has been affected by the addition of the necessary batteries and low rolling resistance tyres. Initial impressions gave no indication of any loss, the internal ambience of the Mondeo as commodious and welcoming as ever.
Where the Mondeo HEV impresses is in the serenity it provides in the traffic commute. Ford reckon the Mondeo HEV can get up to motorway speeds in electric mode, a factor I didn’t get to sample as Dublin’s M50 was an effective ‘no-go’ area on the morning of my drive.
Resorting to the commuter road network and the regenerative voodoo takes over, the EV side of things delivering acceleration and deceleration in smooth, silent dollops – indulgent and a wonderful antidote to the pedal-dancing that applies to the manual experience. The CVT automatic moves the Mondeo with a fair bit of enthusiasm, accompanied by the normal audio associated with its type.
Overall I thought my Vignale HEV is definitely worth a more intensive test drive. The fit and finish in the Vignale, together with the automatic transmission, makes it a very attractive proposition, undoubtedly helped by the attractive prices as mentioned.
Mondeo HEV Titanium vehicle specification includes: 16” alloy wheels; SYNC 3 with 8” touchscreen; keyless start and entry; sports seats; rain sensing windscreen wipers; traffic sign recognition; ambient lighting; high series instrument cluster display; parking sensors front and rear.
Mondeo HEV Vignale vehicle specification includes: (additional to Titanium) 18" Alloy wheels, Metallic Paint, Rear View Camera, Adaptive LED daytime running lights.
Motoring Correspondent for BeepBeep.ie