Ford Mondeo 240 PS Ecoboost

This week, a celebration of the ordinary, if that's not an unkind way of putting it. The pace of technical development in the motor industry is accelerating as customers demand more in the way of economy, safety, comfort and performance, and inevitably it's the cars pushing the boundaries that attract all the attention.

You'll hear a lot about the luxury of the Bentley Mulsanne, the economy of the latest hybrids and the Bugatti Veyron's acceleration, but the huge progress made by mainstream models such as Ford's Mondeo, which has just undergone a mid-life update, is often overlooked.

In truth, the Mondeo was already an excellent all-rounder, so the changes are fairly modest, save for the introduction of impressive new top-of-the range diesel and petrol engines from November. The diesel is a 2.2-litre that provides over 200 horsepower, while the petrol car has a 240 horsepower, 2.0-litre turbocharged power unit, badged EcoBoost, that is good for an astonishing 153mph, making it as fast as almost any other car on the road.

Does that mean that this formidable Mondeo will sweep all before it? Probably not, because social change and the blurring of market segments in the car market are undermining demand for traditional mainstream models, no matter how good they are. Once, of course, Mondeo Man was a force in the land, but now he is on the wane and politicians no longer feel the need to pander to his previously election-swinging concerns. Of course, there are fewer Mondeo Man jobs (those traditional middle-management positions) now and, like the rest of us, Mondeo Man has been developing more sophisticated tastes. Just as he now shuns Little Chef's Olympic Breakfast in favour of a Costa cappuccino, so his head is being turned by a bewildering array of specialised niche models such as SUVs and four-door coupés.

In terms of the Ford range, Mondeo Man has been joined by a host of other characters, such as people-carrier fan Galaxy Woman and crossover-loving Kuga Man/Woman; the term "crossover", incidentally, refers to the Kuga's successful straddling of the old boundary between 4x4s and standard saloons, rather than the man/woman bit, although such models do appeal to buyers of both genders in a way that traditional car types did not. But while market trends may be against the Mondeo, the good news is that Ford's other cars are just as impressive.

Price: Revised Mondeo range, from £17,295
Top speed: 153mph 0-62mph 7.5 seconds
Consumption: 36.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 179g/km
Best for: understated performance
Also worth considering? Skoda Superb, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Insignia

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