What’s Hot: Smart styling, generous standard equipment list, torquey turbo petrol.
What’s Not: Unexciting interior design, it ain't cheap.
X-FACTOR: A technological tour-de-force, the new Mondeo Titanium is one of Ford's most impressive passenger cars yet.
Vehicle Style: Medium liftback
Price: $44,290 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 177kW/345Nm 2.0 turbo petrol 4cyl | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 8.5 l/100km | tested: 10.2l/100km
The Ford Falcon is on its way out, and while that’s terrible news for the workers in Geelong and Broadmeadows who build them, you, as a consumer, shouldn’t be all too fussed.
Why? Because the new Mondeo is a far better car for your money.
But, to be fair to the Falcon, that car is well past its use-by. Dated architecture, a dinosaur six-cylinder and segment-trailing interior are just some of its issues, and the recent FGX facelift didn’t solve any of them.
Thankfully the Mondeo, though sitting in a smaller size category, is more than capable of taking the baton from the Falcon as Ford’s finest four-door.
It drives well, looks fantastic, oozes quality, has plenty of space and - in Titanium spec as tested here - is packed to the gunwales with high-tech features.
Quality: “Adventurous” is not a word we’d choose to describe this interior. “Pragmatic but dull” is a better summary.
But the flat slab of a centre stack is at least easy to get your head around, with big, clearly-labelled buttons topped off by a large touchscreen for the SYNC2 infotainment system.
Other switchgear, like the wiper and indicator stalks, feel premium, and are just as good as those found in Ford’s other Europe-sourced products like the Kuga Focus ST and yes, even the Transit Custom.
Leather upholstery is standard on the Titanium and it feels great, while our tester proved to be tightly built and rattle-free.
Comfort: The front seats seemed a touch short in the base, perhaps not delivering quite as much under-thigh support for long-legged drivers.
Besides that, the Mondeo Titanium provides a roomy driving position with plenty of adjustment in the electric steering column and front seats (which also feature two memory settings on the driver’s side).
The back seats get plenty of legroom on the outboard positions, with those seats also being electrically heated. It's not quite wide enough to sit three adults across the rear bench, but three kids will be fine.
Equipment: One of the most impressive aspects of the flagship Mondeo Titanium is its equipment list. It's lengthy. Longer than the Bible, almost.
Ranging from expected mod-cons like dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and power front seats, the Titanium also brings a bevy of cutting-edge features - some of which haven't been seen in this segment before.
There's gear like adaptive LED headlamps with auto high-beam, rear seatbelt airbags, a fixed panoramic "sunroof" (in actual fact, the entire roof is glass), a self-parking function, heated outboard rear seats, a 230-volt conventional power outlet, radar-assisted cruise control plus a power hatch.
And that's not all of it either. Check out our product info story for the full list.
The infotainment system is Ford's now-familiar SYNC2, which runs off an 8-inch colour touchscreen and unifies the navigation, climate, phone and audio under one simple touchscreen interface.
It's easy to use and pairs easily with most phones, and seems to react faster and be less buggy than the SYNC2 system featured in the FGX Falcon.
SYNC2's list of capabilities is quite impressive.
Besides the sat-nav and Bluetooth phone integration, it also allows you to change the cabin temperature, dial numbers, control the audio and input navigation destinations through voice commands.
And with a digital radio tuner alongside the usual AM/FM/CD/USB/SD/Bluetooth audio sources, the only thing lacking from SYNC2's entertainment capabilities is the ability to display TV or video.
Storage: The Titanium's has the same 557 litre luggage capacity as all other Mondeo hatch variants, but gets the added bonus of a powered liftback to make life easier when you've got an armful of groceries.
Drop the 60/40 split rear seatbacks and that capacity grows to 1356 litres, turning the Mondeo into a pretty handy load-lugger.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The Mondeo Titanium's 2.0 litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine right at the top of its segment when it comes to driveability.
And, thanks to the generous servings of low-end torque it offers, it pulls the Mondeo along with little fuss.
A six-speed automatic is standard-fit, but the petrol Mondeo variants get a conventional hydraulic automatic rather than Ford's slick-shifting twin-clutch Powershift transmission.
But while it may lack technological sophistication, the auto does a fine job. It doesn't hunt through its ratios up hills, always selects the right gear according to driver demands, and kicks down quickly.
A 'sports' mode sharpens up the shifts and holds gears for longer, while a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles enable manual control should you choose.
One downside of this engine is its thirst. Driveability may be on par with larger engines, but so is the EcoBoost's thirst. In regular driving, we couldn't get our average fuel consumption under 10.0 l/100km.
Refinement: Given the Titanium spec's semi-luxurious posture, it's a good thing that it's got the cabin ambience to match.
There's a pleasing absence of road noise and wind noise, and the cabin construction is tight and creak-free.
The engine is also smooth and quiet at low rpm, unlike the Mondeo's segment rival the Hyundai Sonata turbo.
Ride and Handling: The Titanium is the only model in the range to get adaptive damper technology, and it works well on the roads we travelled.
Bumps are absorbed easily, body roll is well contained and the steering is direct, without being too quick in its ratio, unlike its cousin the Focus.
Ford - particularly Ford Europe - has built a reputation for creating cars with exemplary handling, and the new Mondeo certainly hits the mark.
Braking: The Mondeo's all-disc hardware does a find job with slowing it down from speed, with a linear pedal and no excessive grabbiness.
ANCAP rating: 5 Stars - this model scored 36.07 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: The Mondeo is notable for being the first car to feature rear seatbelt airbags, which inflate upon impact to provide backseaters some head and chest protection in a frontal impact.
Beyond those, the Mondeo also comes equipped with dual front, front side, full-length curtain and a driver's knee airbag. Total count? Nine 'bags in all.
Traction control, stability control, ABS, EBD and brake assist round out the active safety aids, and the Titanium scores autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, a collision warning system, front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and fatigue detection.
From June production, a reversing camera will be standard on all models.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Service costs: Service intervals are set for every 12 months/15,000km, with the cost of a scheduled 'A' service coming in at $355. A more intensive 'B' service will cost you $550, but only occurs every four years/60,000km.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
Mazda6 Atenza petrol sedan ($46,420) - The Mazda6 is one of the leaders in the midsize sedan segment, largely owing to the quality of its engineering, superb interior fit-out and stellar driving dynamics.
There might not be a turbo petrol variant in the range and the range-topping Atenza's equipment list might not be as extensive as the Mondeo Titanium's, but after a substantial chassis and interior revamp for 2015 the Mazda6 still deserves your attention. (see Mazda6 reviews)
Hyundai Sonata Premium ($41,990) - As a high-featured, turbo petrol FWD midsize sedan the Sonata Premium is one of the closest rivals to the Mondeo Titantium Ecoboost, but it trails the Ford thanks to less-impressive cabin plastics and poor powertrain refinement.
It does, however, have a sizable price advantage. Definitely worth a look. (see Sonata reviews)
Toyota Camry Atara SL ($37,440) - Dramatic price cuts brought in earlier this year sharpened the Camry's value equation, and, for value for money, it's getting harder to look past it.
An extensive cosmetic refresh also gives the 2015 Camry a nicer outfitbut, for feature count and interior quality, the Camry is bettered by the Mondeo. (see Camry reviews)
Subaru Liberty 3.6R ($41,990) - the Liberty's flagship 3.6R model offers a great deal at $42k, and boasts the same semi-luxe feel as the Mondeo Titanium.
It's got tremendous power from its 3.6 litre flat six and huge grip from its AWD underpinnings too, but it can also be as thirsty as a sailor on shore leave. (see Liberty reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Mondeo Titanium has a lot going for it, and if you're shopping at the upper end of the midsize segment you should place it at the top of your shortlist.
It's bursting at the seams with high-tech features and also benefits from stylish looks, but there's just one thing that may put people off - cost.
With a retail price that's not far from the $45k mark, the Mondeo Titanium competes against mid and upper-grade large cars and even costs more than Holden's impressive Commodore SS and the Ford XR6 Turbo.
But, strictly looking at the mid-size segment, that pricetag isn't so bad.
The Mazda6 Atenza is over $2000 more and has fewer features, yet takes second-place in segment sales figures. The Nissan Altima Ti-S costs $1200 more than the Mondeo Titanium petrol, and that car is notable for its averageness.
So go for the Mondeo; in place of the previous generation Mondeo is a car that leapfrogs most of its rivals to sit proudly at the top of the heap.
Another of the cars it leapfrogs is its blood brother, the Falcon. National pride aside, the Mondeo is simply the more appealing car.
The size difference between the two isn't as obvious from the inside, there are more features in the Mondeo, it drives just fine and it's got enough doo-dads to make the Falcon look positively primitive.
Put it this way: the Falcon G6E EcoBoost retails for $40,110. That's more than $4k less than the Mondeo Titanium, but we'd happily stump up the extra and go for the Mondeo. It's worth it.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- Ambiente - 2.0 EcoBoost FWD - $32,790
- Ambiente - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $36,790
- Trend - 2.0 EcoBoost FWD - $37,290
- Trend - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $40,490
- Titanium - 2.0 EcoBoost FWD - $44,290
- Titanium - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $47,490
- Ambiente - 2.0 EcoBoost FWD - $34,640
- Ambiente - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $38,640
- Trend - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $42,340
- Titanium - 2.0 TDCi FWD - $49,340