2011 FORD MONDEO REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Mid-size wagon
Fuel Economy (claimed): 6.2 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 6.7 l/100km
Despite the rise in popularity of the SUV, capable and stylish wagons still exist - and they’re better than ever.
Forget the days of piling into the back of the family hauler for those road-trip holidays from hell, today’s wagons are as comfortable, refined and dynamically-capable as their sedan counterparts. That’s something few SUVs can claim.
Ford would like to introduce you to comfortable and frugal travel courtesy of its Mondeo diesel.
Quality: A few mismatched colours and finishes detract from first impressions, but, once settled in, the Mondeo interior works well. It is solidly built with robust plastics and nice soft-touch finishes.
Comfort: Seats are generously-sized, no problems here for bigger Aussie frames. The back seat is also wide but knee-room can be tight behind taller front seat occupants.
The seats could do with more shaping - they’re firm and a little flat, and lack support for longer trips.
Equipment: Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, powered driver’s seat-height adjustment, heated mirrors, trip-computer, front electric windows, cargo blind, multi-function steering wheel, roof rails and a MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers.
Storage: Cargo space is huge for a mid-size wagon: 1005 litres with seats up and 2163 litres with a flat-floor when the rear bench is folded. Throughout the cabin there’s a number of storage options for smaller items and a lidded storage centre console.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: Letting the torque do all the work early is the best way to enjoy the Mondeo TDCi. Its peak torque, a healthy 340Nm, is available between 1750 and 2500 rpm. Peak power of 120 kW arrives by 4000 rpm, but wringing the engine out is of little benefit.
The six-speed twin-clutch powershift transmission provides a good spread of ratios but is often too slow to kick-down to best utilise the low-down torque in city shuffling.
The TDCi however is swift - effortless - on the open road and barely notices a load on board.
Refinement: At cruising speeds, the Mondeo LX is relaxed and quiet with minimal engine hum and good insulation from wind and road noise.
Diesel clatter and shudder are noticeable at idle though and gear changes are jerky in stop-start commuting (a traditional auto is better in these conditions).
Suspension: With a focus on comfort, the Mondeo’s MacPherson front and multi-link Control Blade rear suspension provides a smooth and well-damped ride.
It is as good as our traditional Aussie ‘sixes’ over poorly finished and pock-marked roads.
Braking: Vented front discs and sold rears provide ample stopping power, but the pedal is light and oversensitive, grabbing hard early.
ANCAP rating: 5 stars (left-hand-drive hatch tested)
Safety features: Anti-lock brakes with brakeforce distribution, Dynamic Stability Control, height adjustable front seat belts with pre-tensioners and three point rear seat belts plus seven airbags (front, side, curtain and drivers knee).
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km with five-year warranty against perforation corrosion.
Service costs: Service intervals are every 15,000km/12 months. Under myFord capped price servicing the first three services will cost no more than $330 each with the 60,000km service capped at $915 with each service including 12 months roadside assistance.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Mazda6 Diesel Classic ($36,250) - Limited by the lack of an automatic option, the 6 diesel is a more sporting option and very good buying.
For a similar price to the Mondeo LX, the Classic offers more equipment but can’t match the Mondeo’s fuel economy. (see Mazda6 reviews)
Holden Captiva 7 TD ($35,490) - Diesel wagons are a rarity, but Holden’s mid-size diesel SUV is in the running, with a driveline output that bests the Mondeo plus the ability to carry two additional passengers.
However, on-road dynamics and cargo capacity are well short of the Mondeo TDCi. (see Captiva reviews)
Peugeot 308 Sportium HDi Touring ($37,990) - If luxury over space is the priority, Peugeot offers a smaller package, better equipment, Euro panache, and the flexibility of three individually removable rear seats, plus wow factors like a panoramic glass roof. (see 308 reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Thorough, hardworking, honest and with room to carry plenty - Ford’s Mondeo TDCi wagon straddles the gulf between hauling capacity and on-road competence.
This gives it an edge over similarly-priced SUVs where the driver experience can be heavily compromised.
It has a very solid feel, is swift underfoot (thanks to a very good diesel) and conservative but well-balanced lines.
With fixed-price servicing and miserly fuel use to keep cost of ownership in check, the Mondeo TDCi Wagon is well worth consideration by family buyers.