| 8.4°C Dublin

New Mondeo has earned its licence to thrill

If it's good enough for James Bond then it's good enough for me.

Who can forget the opening shots of Casino Royale and the all-new Mondeo screeching up to the doors of the country club in the Bahamas?

Out of the brand new model steps the equally brand new 007 -- Daniel Craig and his first outing as the meaner, leaner, more action-packed secret agent.

While the ladies were blown away by Craig's smouldering good looks and washboard stomach, car fans were too smitten by his co-star -- a creature of unbridled automotive beauty.

Since then the gargantuan family saloon has become a firm favourite in Ireland and the good news is ... it's just got better.

It seems the German engineers at Ford HQ never take a day off -- resulting in a mid-life refit. Billed as the most technologically advanced Mondeo to date, it is packed with next generation driver assistance features -- some of which are already tried and tested in the new S-MAX and Galaxy.

Desirable

Amongst these high-tech features, are Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert including Blind Spot and Auto High Beam.

But it's the gadgets which you can't see or touch which really makes their fleet leader more desirable than ever before.

Yes the green Dept of the Blue Oval Badge have been working flat out and their toil hasn't been in vain.

They have managed to reduce the CO2s significantly -- leaping from one tax and VRT band into another.

In terms of money, it means that all Irish models are all now in Band B -- which sees road tax reduced from €600 on the old 07 model to a minuscule €156.

Drive-wise the Mondeo was always a good handler and although lacking some of the charisma of the Focus was simply unbeatable on comfort and economy.

The revised six-speed gearbox is slick and seamless - enhancing the ride especially on more twisty, demanding roads.

Body roll - a bit of a bug bear in the past due to the sheer size of the chassis - is no more, thanks to improved, more weighted steering and stiffer suspension.

The refined Duratorq TDCi diesel engines in 115, 140 and 163 bph are more responsive cleaner and less thirsty -- returning an average of 45- 50+mpg.

Current Mondeo owners thinking of an upgrade will be pleasantly surprised as will growing families with the €26,495 price.