New Mondeo ups the ante with groundbreaking 1.5 litre petrol Ecoboost power plant
Petrol engines are back in vogue - and about time.
Not only are they smaller and more efficient, they're more powerful.
Leading the charge with cleaner and meaner power plants is Ford, which exploded on to the unleaded scene with the mega 1.0 litre EcoBoost.
Voted world engine of the year, this three-cylinder turbocharged motor proved such a hit it was promoted from the Fiesta to the mighty Focus.
Now it has been upgraded again, only this time beefed up to a 1.5 litre to power the flagship Mondeo.
Providing that extra bit of grunt is an addition cylinder and, twinned to a turbo, generates a stunning 160bhp and 0-100kph of 9.2 seconds.
Impressive, you'll agree, but the biggest lure of all is the diesel-like fuel consumption of 47mpg (5.9 litres/100kms).
The emissions are a tad higher than the oil burner with a count of 137g/km, meaning road tax of €280.
Initially, we were sceptical, thinking the 1,500cc just wouldn't be powerful enough to haul that giant saloon around, let alone be brisk.
But not so. The engineers at the Blue Oval Badge have excelled this time with a little dynamo that could power a big-rig tractor unit.
While it's not peel-your-face-off quick and lacks the massive torque of the diesel, it's punching well above its weight and never feels sluggish or underpowered.
It's most at home wafting along the motorway, and at speeds of 120kph on cruise control it will barely tick over at 2,500rpm as it silently swallows mile after mile of tarmac.
That comfort is particularly noticeable among the rear seat passengers who now enjoy limo-like legroom and extra head and elbow room. That level of family-friendly practicality continues into the boot which again is huge, with 550 litres of luggage space.
This explodes into 1,446 with the seats folded flat, and thanks to a low-loading lip and generous aperture it will accommodate anything from flat-packed furniture to a couple of mountain bikes.
Along with the estate, Mondeo comes in three trims - Style, Zetec and top-of-the-range Titanium.
The Zetec kit includes 16-inch alloys, electric windows all-round, Sync voice control, cruise control, leather steering wheel, MyKey (keyless entry) and fog lights.
Opt for the Titanium and you'll get 17-inch alloys, parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, Sync infotainment (with colour touchscreen), sports seats and auto headlights and wipers.
The mid-range should be the most popular choice, and for the first time since 2008 the EcoBoost engine too, considering the number of drivers who found themselves in diesel cars even though they didn't want or need them.
It's a personal choice, I suppose, but from a critic's point of view this 1.5-litre engine is up there with its diesel brother.
The only drawback is the price difference of €3,755, but on the up side it only comes in the range-topping Titanium.
The new Mondeo 1.5 EcoBoost costs from €32,620.