The finest car Ford ever launched in Europe: Seven challengers that are revving up
Saturday 23 January 1993
But, to be number one in the class - and that is Ford's target - the Mondeo will need to see off a trio of fine, British-built Japanese competitors, rejuvenated old-timers from Peugeot and Vauxhall, a new Rover, and an upcoming new Citroen.
When Ford researched the Mondeo, it identified the Nissan Primera - built in Sunderland, to a specification largely determined by the Japanese - as the class best. It's a close call between the two. The Primera is a slightly sharper handling car, if not so fluent on winding roads. It has better engines - particularly in the 2.0-
litre sector -but a less yielding ride. If sheer driving enjoyment is paramount, the Primera is probably the more compelling buy, but for family motoring, the Mondeo is the wiser choice.
The two other Mondeo-class Japanese cars being built in Britain are the Toyota Carina E, which has just gone into production in Derby, and the latest Swindon-made Honda Accord, due on sale in the UK in May.
The Carina has the Mondeo easily covered in interior space - it's a massive family car - and offers more sophisticated engines and slicker-shifting manual transmissions. The Mondeo is more fun to drive, and has a much more composed suspension on poor- quality roads. The Accord, like the Carina, is a dull-looking and dull-
to-drive car, although it boasts a smooth engine, a wonderful gear- change, and is impressively roomy.
Initially, the Mondeo's main competitor will be the Vauxhall Cavalier, the Sierra's biggest sales rival. Go for the Mondeo. The Cavalier, like most Vauxhalls, boasts sweet revving and powerful engines, and is well made and reliable. But its suspension offers nothing like the suppleness of the Mondeo's. It is thus a substantially less comfortable car, as well as being less roomy.
A more serious rival is the Peugeot 405, my personal choice before the arrival of the Mondeo. Built in Ryton, near Coventry, it has a marvellous ride/handling balance, although its steering is less sweet than the Mondeo's. It is also not as well built, not quite as roomy, and not quite the balanced all-rounder that the new Ford is.
Harder to rate is the new Rover 600, due in April and officially still secret. It is, however, based closely on the new Honda Accord, so is likely to be roomy, beautifully finished inside (like all Rovers), and mechanically refined. Given its Honda antecedents, don't expect the chassis composure of the new Ford, though.
The car most likely to steal the class-best crown from the Mondeo is the new Citroen Xantia. No journalist has driven one yet, but this BX replacement - on sale in the UK in June - promises to be roomy, distinctive, supple-riding and brisk.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Life & Style blogs
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
There's a snake in my hat! Snakes in tiny headgear becomes latest pet trend
Microsoft announces first exclusive Xbox One content: a documentary on the worst video game ever
Potential revolution in cancer treatment voted breakthrough of the year by scientists
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...