Launched in August, the ST TDCi has the same aggressive appearance as its petrol-powered ST220 stablemate, yet has an attention-grabbing trick up its sleeve: its 2.2 Duratorq engine will provide around 60% more miles per gallon than the ST220, according to Ford’s combined figures.
Such economy is not at the expense of performance, as 265lb ft of low-down torque keep the TDCi only a second or so behind its brother in a 0-62mph sprint.
Given the car’s sporting aspirations, buyers will expect a decent driving experience, and the ST TDCi doesn’t disappoint. Peak torque at 1,800rpm means gearchanges come quickly through the six-speed transmission, although one advantage of this useable power is the option to leave it in fourth or fifth on twisting A-roads and let it pull away strongly from every bend.
The typical diesel clatter becomes evident higher up the rev range, but at motorway speeds in sixth gear the engine is barely audible. The only issues marring the drive were too light power steering and a resistant brake pedal.
Ford GB marketing director Steve Hood says 80% of new Mondeos go to fleet clients, and he expects this to be reflected in the ST’s sales, which already account for about 10% of Mondeo orders since August.
Nevertheless, the car is expected to appeal to family buyers seeking a well-equipped car that offers a thrilling drive.
Ford is enticing private buyers by offering 48 months’ 0% finance after a 50% deposit. That offer ends on December 14.
Strengths: Styling, economy, equipment
Weakness: Not Euro 4 compliant
Opportunity: ST brand appeal for the high mileage driver
Threat: Higher price tag than rivals
The USP:The sportiest diesel saloon on the market
Engines: 2,198cc, 4 cyl Duratorq turbodiesel
Transmission: 6sp manual, fwd
Performance: 0-62mph 8.7sec, top speed 137mph
Efficiency: 46.3mpg combined, 151g/km CO2
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £6,450 (30%)
Rivals: Vectra 1.9CDTi, MG ZT 131 CDTi, Accord 2.2i CDTi, S40 2.0D