August 1, 2014
Vehicle Style: 5-door medium hatch
Engine/trans: 149kW/300Nm 2.0 turbo 4cyl | 6sp twin-clutch auto
Fuel Economy claimed: 8.0 l/100km | tested: 9.4 l/100km
Ford showed off its all-new Mondeo at the 2012 Sydney Motor Show, but production delays at its new facility in Spain mean that both Australian and European consumers alike have been kept waiting.
We went straight to the top: to the well-equipped Titanium model to see if the Mondeo still holds an upper-end advantage in equipment, drivetrain and comfort.
- Dual-zone climate control, leather and suede-look heated front sports seats, instrument cluster colour display.
- Leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel with audio and adaptive cruise control buttons.
- Dusk-sensing headlights with auto high beam, auto wipers.
- Trip computer, proximity key and push-button start.
- Electric sunroof, auto dimming rear view mirror, LED ambient lighting.
- Nine-speaker Sony audio with CD/AM/FM/MP3 playback and Aux-in, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Perhaps the most telling sign of the Mondeo’s advancing age is its dashboard. With a button-heavy centre stack and no colour display or navigation system, plus an interface that can be clunky to use, it looks a bit 'yesterday-gen'.
Dated design aside though, the build appears to be solid and there are some nice materials in use.
In front of the driver is Ford’s Convers+ multi-function colour display that makes navigating the trip computer and audio functions easier via steering wheel controls.
The off-centre orientation of the display might be bothersome to perfectionists though - it certainly caused me some anguish.
Move to the seats, and the leather and suede-look trim looks fantastic, heated front seats are also just the thing for chilly winter mornings.
At first sit though, both front and rear seats feel a little ‘odd’, almost too small and with overstuffed centre sections in the base and backrest.
More time behind the wheel however revealed hidden comfort and, after becoming accustomed to the seat shape, we decided that they're actually among the better pews in the class.
Taller folk may not agree; the seats might prove a little low-backed for six-footers and above.
Rear seats, though, are very well-suited to lanky passengers. There’s plenty of legroom, and the scalloped headlining opens up headroom - only the width is noticeably less than a Falcon (but three growing teens will still happily fit).
Swing the tailgate up and the size and accessibility of the boot puts most sedans in the shade.
With rear-seats up there’s 816 litres of volume and with the 60:40 bench folded (a two-stage 'base-then-backrest' operation) there’s a flat floor and 1919 litres on offer.
ON THE ROAD
- 149kW/300Nm 2.0 litre ‘EcoBoost’ turbocharged petrol inline four
- Six-speed twin-clutch ‘Powershift’ automatic, front-wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front, ‘Control Blade’ multi-link rear suspension
- Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes.
With a choice of two turbocharged engines, one diesel and one petrol, the Mondeo has economical travel covered.
With 149kW at 6000rpm and 300Nm on offer from 1750 to 4500rpm, the Mondeo feels strong and delivers power smoothly and unobtrusively.
There’s a brief pause though if sinking the boot in from standstill while the gearbox electronics actuate your request.
The Powershift transmission is more successful at gentle launches, feeling like a traditional automatic on part throttle.
With almost seamless power delivery and upshifts, plus low levels of engine noise, the powertrain is exceptionally well-suited to relaxed commuter cruising.
As speed builds, so too does cabin drone - you won’t need to raise your voice to maintain a conversation up front, but rear seat passengers will have a harder time listening in.
Ride quality strikes a nice balance between compliance and control. Over cobblestone laneways things stayed comfortable, and, out on the open road, patchy tarmac is dispatched with untroubled ease.
Conversely, the suspension always feels well pinned-down and ‘at the ready’ if you need to call it into action.
While the Mondeo is no sports car, level cornering and a grippy front-end endow it with a handling prowess that cars like the Malibu, i40, Camry and Optima just can’t match.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars - this model scored 35.13 out of a possible 37 points.
Safety features: Standard safety features across the Mondeo range include seven airbags, stability and traction control, ABS brakes, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
All seats feature three point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints, whilst up front there’s anti whiplash head restraints and height adjustable seatbelts with pretensioners.
Titanium models also score lane departure warning, forward collision warning and collision mitigation, fatigue detection and blind spot monitoring.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
If a hatchback is a must, look to Skoda’s Octavia or Citroën’s DS5, otherwise sedans rule the roost in the medium class.
Like the Mondeo the Honda Accord Euro is carrying a few extra years while the Mazda6 is fresher but with a slight price premium.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The great thing about a fastback hatch like the Mondeo is the way it blends a sedan-like silhouette with the load-space practicality of an SUV, but with none of the bulk.
In the up-spec Mondeo Titanium model, there’s also a healthy serving of driver-assist technology.
As family transportation, the Mondeo provides room for growing youngsters and their clobber.
For downsizing empty-nesters stepping out of a larger car, there are enough technologies on board to keep from feeling short-changed, and much better on-road performance than a typical SUV can manage.
The biggest problem for this Mondeo is that there's a new model just around the corner.
And Ford has been happy to whet the appetite of the market for that new car and its improvements in accommodation, space, driver technology and powertrains.
So while the current Mondeo remains a worthy buy, it might be worth crunching your Ford dealer for a decent deal to tip the figures in your favour.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
LX - 2.3 Duratec - 6spd Durashift auto - $31,490
LX TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $34,490
Zetec - 2.0 EcoBoost - 6spd PowerShift auto - $37,740
Zetec TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $39,740
Titanium - 2.0 EcoBoost - 6spd PowerShift auto - $44,990
Titanium TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $46,990
LX - 2.3 Duratec - 6spd Durashift auto - $33,340
LX TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $37,340
Zetec TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $41,240
Titanium TDCi - 2.0 Duratorq TDCi - 6spd PowerShift auto - $48,490