Ford Mondeo hatchback

£20,795 - £26,245

Whether you’re interested in cars or not, the Ford Mondeo name is familiar right across the UK. And while it's a very common sight on our roads, there are lots of good reasons for that – it's nice to drive, spacious and comes with plenty of equipment, and all for a reasonable price.

The current Mondeo is the fourth generation that Ford has sold in the UK. It made a cameo appearance in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, then went on sale here a year later. That means the Mondeo is rather old now, although a constant programme of improvements made by Ford has kept the car competitive, and it's had plenty of positive reviews, including winning the Carbuyer Best Large Family Car award in 2011.

And with the Mondeo being replaced by an all-new model in late 2014, dealers are likely to offer substantial discounts as they clear current stock in preparation for the arrival of the new model.

The Mondeo is available as a five-door hatchback or a huge estate and comes in a wide choice of trim levels – there's Edge, Zetec Business Edition, Titanium X Business Edition and Titanium X Sport. Its biggest rivals are the Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat. Like its rivals, the Mondeo is very popular with fleet buyers, so the line-up of powerful yet economical diesel engines is popular. They tend to be most sought-after on the used market, too, should you need to keep an eye on resale value.

Ford does offer a 1.6-litre petrol in the cheapest model, and the 1.6 and 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrols on some trims, but diesel is the best choice. Likewise, the automatic gearbox isn’t the smoothest and harms fuel economy, so the slick six-speed manual gearbox is the one to go for.

The Mondeo was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2007, and it achieved a five-star rating – although the test has become more stringent since then.