THE SPECS

The petrol-electric 2l Ford Mondeo HEV uses an Atkinson Cycle Engine and Battery Electric motor.

The two engines run in unison 98 per cent of the time. The battery electric motor very rarely runs solely. The objective is that the Battery Electric Motor complements the Atkinson Cycle Engine, allowing for greater fuel economy and vastly improved emissions, all achieved through a greater intake of air in the combustion phase, this dilutes the air fuel mixture, which means a cleaner burn but less power.

THE CAR

Sporty, but practical; quiet, yet racy-ish. Environmentally sound, yet refined and solid. There's privacy glass, so you can be gangsta and be a good Womble. It's super-spacious for those in the back and up front. Fuel wise, super-economical. Magic window wipers sense the rain and the speedometer gives a clear picture of how much power you are using. All the standard safety and entertainment-related bells and whistles.

THE DRIVE

The writing is not on the wall, but all over the car. "Hybrid Mondeo Ford".

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Big, blue script, against a white backdrop. If I had contemplated flipping the bird at anyone from the car (which I'd never, ever do, incidentally), it wouldn't be from this car, this weekend.

I am stuck at one of Auckland's longest traffic light phases. There's a guy in the lane next to me on an arterial route, not flipping the bird but giving me the thumb- up. He's seen the writing, he's seen the car. He likes what he sees, because he's seriously studying the writing and talking to the other person in the car and they're nodding their heads in approval and smiling at me. At least, I think they are. And why not? While I like to fly under the radar, there is much to shout about driving this car - it's the first in New Zealand and is so FOB I'm apparently the first in the media to take it for a spin. Special. Flooring it on the Northwestern, or just around the block to the grocery store, this is a cruisy, pleasurable ride. On the morning I had to return the car, I just sat in it for a while, turned on the heated seats, waited for the windows to clear, listened to some music and checked my Twitter stream, before reluctantly steering it in the direction of its rightful owner. Starting at $55,990, it's available to order now from a dealer and delivery would be early 2018.

ford.co.nz