How I became Mondeo Man!
|Topics: Ford Mondeo
November 8, 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 Michael Ogden
Some years we wrote an article about our dilemma in choosing a new (to us) car. After visiting lots of showrooms and test driving a couple of cars we ended up with a nine month old Peugeot 406 estate with 9000 miles on the clock. It did us very well, doing sterling service towing the caravan, long journeys to the south of France, acted as a load carrier to the tip (sorry, Household Waste Disposal Site or Dechetterie in France), and as delivery van for our business amongst its other roles.
However, although in diesel terms it was only just run in at 144,000 miles we felt it was time for a change. The cam belt would be due for a change, at the 10- year point the airbags would need replacing and other major work would be due. We thought we would let someone else do it.
The search started for a replacement. We started by consulting 'Honest John', from The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. His top suggestion was a........Ford Mondeo! Oh No, we thought, we can't become Mondeo Man! We would be seen as travelling salesmen or worse. However, we visited the Ford dealership, who gave us brochures but didn't have a demonstrator for us to test. We visited the Suzuki dealer who had had a Mondeo estate but had sold it over the weekend, but was very keen for us to take out their Grand Vitara instead. (Too sluggish, and a bit iffy about the souped-up one).
We looked at reports from the caravan clubs about their Tow Cars of the Year and came up with alternatives to the dreaded Mondeo. None of these proved ideal for various reasons so we put the idea on the back burner for the time being. There was nothing wrong with the Mondeo per se, it is an excellent car, it was obviously suited to our needs; we just didn't see ourselves owning up to one!
Then, in early June, we saw an advert in The Salisbury Journal offering £4,000 off the Ford Mondeo (LX model only), provided it was bought before 30 June. It seemed too good to be true. We decided there had to be a catch - it was only saloon models, or ghastly colours that did not sell or some other disincentive to us. We thought it wouldn't hurt to enquire about the offer though. Alison, my wife, was spending the next day with a friend, and at 4.30 on that Friday afternoon I phoned her on my mobile (I was not driving at the time) to say that I was at the Ford dealership. They had an Mondeo estate available at the factory under the offer and that I had had a test drive of the Mondeo and thought it was great. Would she like to test drive it too? Alison said "Not at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon in Salisbury I don't". She said she trusted my judgement (!),
We part exchanged the Peugeot for £2,000 and with all the extras (tow bar and electrics, two extra number plates, metallic paint that we didn't ask for but was already on it, registration, 11 litres of fuel, etc) the cost was about £14,000. We took delivery of the car on Wednesday 28 June since we were going to France for the weekend on the Friday and thought we ought to have the extra 24 hours to get used to it and make sure there were no teething troubles.
As the car has the same engine as the Peugeot we might forgiven for expecting it to drive like the Peugeot. However, as it has a six-speed gearbox we have had to change our driving style to suit the car. Fifth gear needs to be selected earlier at about 50mph, but the car is not happy in sixth below 60 mph, so on A roads it is necessary either to change between the two gears or stop in fifth depending on the road. The car also has cruise control, which I haven't used before. It takes some experimentation (when the traffic is minimal, of course), as the car responds differently to changing the cruise control to alter speed compared with lifting the accelerator- touching the brakes to disable the cruise control is confusing for following drivers. I can't see myself using it in the sort of everyday driving I do, but I can see that it has it's place in long distance driving, provided the driver doesn't get complacent and stop paying attention to the road ahead.
After we picked up the car, we went out for lunch near Romsey to give the car a bit of a run and, get the feel of it, and returned home in time to meet the man from the signwriting company who emblazoned the car with advertising for our business. I then did my deliveries in the car, trying to remember to push the gear lever left instead of right to reverse. At that early stage the car seemed comfortable, with no surprises or quirks to worry about.
On the Thursday we topped up the fuel, checked the tyre pressures (why doesn't the dealership pump up the tyres to the recommended pressures before they hand over the car?), checked all fluid levels, found the headlamp converters and other things we needed for driving on the Continent and failed to get the early night we had agreed we needed before setting off with La Belle Mere at the crack of sparrows to get the 0830 Portsmouth-Le Havre ferry.
Michael is a Distributor with Kleeneze, a UK Multi-Level Marketing Company, promoting household products via a catalogue. If you like travelling the world with someone else paying and doing it safely, please look at our website for further information http://www.vastincome.com
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