WHEN YOU are facing a week where 1000 miles is in store, it was a relief that my car ‘companion’ for that week was none other than the Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre TDCi Powershift estate, fitted with just about every gizmo in the inventory.

This vehicle is something of an unsung hero in my opinion and the latest version of Ford’s venerable Mondeo range is certainly a quality article. That deep blue favoured by Ford for its Titanium models is a perfect fit for the big rangy estate and, in a week where this poor lad had to go to St Boswells, then Dumfries, then Newcastle, then Oban, the extra comfort from that spec’ rating was well appreciated.

The test model had the 177bhp version of the Duratorq TDCi engine in the bay and it was well up to the task of not only propelling me around the country in some style, but also with a fairly hefty load on board. And the little extras which are on the Titanium, like lane assist and distance control are a real Godsend to the driver these days.

I’m a little sceptical about some of these ‘aids’ but a recent trip to Inverness via the now laborious A9, proved to me the value of the speed and distance control add-on. This basically keeps you a certain distance from the car (or in the A9 case, lorry) in front and then let’s you speed up to overtake when you swing out past the vehicle. The radar detects no vehicle in front and so automatically speeds you up to a pre-set top speed. Very handy for those tedious journeys.

That was certainly the case with the Mondeo estate and it was helped enormously by the smooth-shifting Powershift auto’ gearbox. This is a six-speed unit and is an ideal match for the engine fitted in the test car, which was fairly quick off the mark with a 0-62mph figure of just 8.7.

Despite this, that long journey meant that I could get a good handle on fuel economy. Over the course of the week, I averaged just a tad above 50mpg, which is pretty close to the official 56.5mpg combined figure, though the stats say that on so-called extra urban driving, the figure is a little more than 60mpg.

It’s a big car, with tonnes of room in the load space, but not at the expense of rear passenger legroom. There is 525 litres of boot space with the seats in operation, but this rises to a skip-filling 1630 litres when the rear seats are folded. Importantly for the driver, this comes with expense in terms of handling where a new suspension design definitely brings benefits to comfort and driveability.

And the driver’s job is made much easier with the provision of a touchscreen operation for much of the controls, this tidying up the dashboard and making it much easier to change settings as you drive along. The phone and navigation system have been amongst the easiest I’ve used and the latter delivered me to a hard to find parking destination in Newcastle with no fuss at all.

If you have time to master it, Ford’s SYNC voice control system could also be a boon for those who spend a long time behind the wheel. But, for me, the touchscreen and a myriad of functions on the steering wheel were enough to keep me busy!

Other features on the Titanium included start button, DAB satnav, auto headlights with auto high/low beam, front fog lights, LED tail lights, dual auto temperature control and power folding door mirrors. Plus, of course, Ford’s excellent heated front screen which is a must for all rural users in winter. The test car’s X-pack (£2000 extra) added distinctive 19-inch alloys, LED headlamps, leather seats, 10-way power front seats, heated front seats (oh the joy on a cold morning), keyless entry and privacy glass.

Also fitted was the £450 advanced version of active park technology option –­ but, of course, being a man, this wasn’t needed!!!

Without the extras, the test car costs a range-topping £27,165, and I’d say that in today’s market, that’s a pretty good deal. Give it four-wheel-drive and I wouldn’t hesitate in having one myself! Also, keep an eye out for Ford’s new luxury Vignale designation – that takes the price up to £33k-plus, but adds a whole lot of exclusive extras, including more power.