A REAL ESTATE
The all-new Mondeo saloon is trumped only by the magnificent wagon, writes Ian Mallon
WHAT is going on with the Ford Mondeo?
The perfectly reliable, eminently sensible salesman's favourite is fast becoming something that looks like it was designed in Hamburg by a Kraftwerk fan who lives in a loft.
It has been transformed into a sublime, racy-looking, Jaguar-meets-BMW-styled supercar, and all this with a reasonable price tag.
I don't propose to dwell too much on a particular Mondeo model today, though the Titanium EcoBoost might just be the best-in-class of them all.
Regular readers will remember how I extolled the virtues of electric motoring as the very best driving experiences you can have.
Hybrid driving is no longer the equivalent of going around in something that looks like and moves like a toaster, and the BMW i8 is eco-cool.
The days of the electric car looking like something that was put together by beige-wearing beaks is long gone, with i8 showing the world that cars built in laboratories can look like something from a Bond movie.
So what has the i8 got in common with the Ford Mondeo, you ask, or probably not.
Well, a few years ago the Mondeo was a featured car in a James Bond film - I have no idea which one, but I think it was the one where he got the girl, beat the bad guy and saved the world.
Back then, the Mondeo was making a statement that it was a car that could look Hollywood without a Beverly Hills price tag.
And it's the look of the Mondeo that has changed again.
I won't even bother with the bits under the bonnet, because Mondeo driving is as good as it gets in its price bracket.
I've had a bunch of Mondeos recently, the last one being the 1.5 petrol model - the same engine size as the i8. However, this one won't hurtle you from standing to 100kph in 4.4 seconds, but it will leave you with a similarly happy glow.
And you don't have to plug it in.
That's because this green version of the Ford Mondeo is not an electric jammer, it's a car that ticks all the environmentally and thereby wallet-friendly virtues of a hybrid.
The look was quite sensational: it has the nose of a Jag and the sleekness of a sportier model, but it's a Mondeo.
There's a plentiful 160 horses under this green bonnet, powered by a six-speed gearbox.
The exciting features which make this such an enjoyable ride are heated seats, keyless start, automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors and Lane Keeping Aid.
The problem with my kind of driving and lane warnings are that the dash keeps telling me I need to stop for a rest or a coffee even if I've just set off on any journey.
Delicious features include a panoramic roof, glorious 17-inch alloys and LED headlamps which throw out a wonderful blue hue.
And it still isn't the best-looking Mondeo on the road. That comes in the form of the estate version, which is quite simply stunning.
The Mondeo Estate is all about the authoritative, it's fully automatic and it's very fast.
For bores like me, sporty estates are the business. They're all-singing and all-dancing, sensible yet a little crazy, and with lots of room for a young family.
And that about sums it up.
Mondeos are becoming the most complete cars on the road, and quite possibly the most stylish non-top-of-the-range luxury cars.
The all-new Ford Mondeo starts at €28,995.
THE new Kia Sorento SUV made its Irish debut with news that the entry-level 5-seater EX will cost €38,995 while the 7-seats start at €43,995 for a 2.2-litre 190bhp diesel unit.