As well as eating into boot space, the addition of a hybrid drivetrain into the existing Mondeo bodyshell has meant a reduction in fuel-tank capacity to fit it all in.
The drop from the 62 litres of diesel versions to the 51 litres of my petrol hybrid might not seem like much but, given that an MPG figure in the mid- 50s should be easily achievable in the oil-burner, it has a significant effect on the car’s real-world range.
Chuck in that my average economy has been dropping – now down to less than 45mpg overall – due to the number of town miles I cover, and that I’m not in the habit of letting the car run almost dry between top- ups, and I’ve found myself covering fewer than 300 miles before having to return to the pumps. That’s well under half the mileage I would expect to get between fills in a 2.0 Ecoblue.
This shortcoming is one shared by plug-in hybrids I’ve run before, but in their case, it was masked by the larger-capacity battery’s ability to offer a useful additional mileage; in a ‘self-charging’ hybrid such as the Mondeo, however, where it rarely runs on electric power alone for more than a short burst at a time, it comes into sharp focus.
At least those all-too-regular visits to the forecourts are made easier and faster by every Mondeo being fitted with Ford’s Easyfuel system. You just release the petrol flap and the spring-loaded lid opens only when the correct-sized fuel-pump nozzle is offered up to it – with the additional benefits of preventing unscrupulous people from trying to steal your fuel and preventing you from filling up with the wrong type.
Not that there’s much danger of the latter happening, so quiet is the Mondeo Hybrid’s 2.0-litre Duratec petrol engine. Diesel technology has come a long way in recent years, but it’s hard to match a well-engineered petrol for refinement. As long as you’re not pushing it hard, that is, because demand maximum acceleration and the CVT will hold it at high revs, making things uncomfortably thrashy.
That temptation is rarely there, and when it’s driven gently, there’s little more than a murmur from up front; indeed, you have to be listening carefully to detect the changeover from battery to petrol power when you’re moving. Only if the engine kicks in when you’re stuck in traffic does it really make its presence felt.