We’ve heard it countless times in relation to everything from classic films to red-soled heels from Louboutin – less is more.
And it is.
Too much is just too much – the real trick is having the level of customer knowledge to judge just how much is just enough.
Then again, one could argue that even though less is more may very well apply to the dashboard and cockpit of a quality car, you wouldn’t necessarily apply the same logic to the boot space, where – well – more is more, and it always will be (unless we’re talking about electric folding, hard top convertibles, but that’s another story).
Getting back to the point, and in an attempt to illustrate it a little, let’s consider one of the true classics of modern motoring – the Jaguar XK.
I truly, madly and deeply covet this car, even the late 90s models, that you can pick up for less than the price of a weekend for two to see Leinster play away against a French side in the Heineken Cup.
This car appeals to me on every level, apart from the prohibitive cost of ownership thanks to its massive 4-litre engine. Not only that, the cockpit is too busy (dials and buttons everywhere) and the boot just isn’t much use.
So, my favourite car, which would have cost quite a few quid when new, put the ass before the cart when it came to less is more.
But, in this modern era of well-thought out saloons, it’s truly heartening to see a company that makes dramatic changes to its lineup as it learns about its customers.
In this case, we’re talking about Ford, and its new and improved Mondeo.
Once a car that was the workhorse of sales reps the length and breadth of the country, nowadays the Mondeo is a force to be reckoned with.
Looks, performance, reliability and a very favourable price tag? Check, check, check and check.
Ford had a captive audience with the Mondeo, an audience that has been rewarded with an award-winning car to be proud of. And it may seem trivial, but if they hadn’t de-cluttered the dashboard and cockpit, I simply wouldn’t have warmed to it the way I have.
Don’t get me wrong, I have written glowing reports about many of Ford’s other cars, and their EcoBoost engines are a triumph of modern engineering.
But I have never quite understood their penchant for sprawling dashboards chock-a-block with buttons and dials.
In the Mondeo, the controls have been stripped down to an elegant level, making the drive feel that little bit less interrupted.
Of course, an automatic gearbox would have added to the experience considerably, but unfortunately, my test car didn’t come with one. Fortunately, the six-speed manual was well matched to the 1.6-TDCi engine.
So, having warmed to the clean dash, and quality interior – my attention drifted to the all-important boot.
Here I was in for a nice surprise. It’s massive. It would give the Skoda Octavia a serious run for its money, and owners are fortunate they don’t pay extra property tax for such a cavernous space.
So, less is more up front, and more is definitely more in the boot, where it counts.
The Mondeo deserves the popularity it enjoys – it is affordable to buy, it offers serious reliability, the cost of ownership is meager, and it looks great.
Do you need more in a car? Well, apart from the automatic box, not really.
But if you do need convincing, Ford has upgraded the Mondeo to deliver up to 8% lower CO2 emissions, improved fuel efficiency, and even more competitive pricing with enhanced levels of equipment and attractive pricing starting at €23,950.
With these upgrades, Mondeo models equipped with the best-selling 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel engine will offer CO2 emissions from just 119 g/km – a reduction of up to 10 g/km.
Fuel consumption is reduced to 4.6 l/100 km from 4.9 l/100 km.
The reductions place the cars into the low A4 motor tax band (110 to 120 g/km CO2) with annual road tax of just €200.