What's hot: Swift sure-footed handling, smart style, HUGE boot, four-cylinder thirst.
What's not: Rear styling barely changed, no reversing camera in Ambiente, no manual option
X-FACTOR: As roomy as the Falcon, as practical as an SUV, and a new high-bar for safety technologies - this is a car for families.
Vehicle style: Medium Hatch and Wagon
Price range: $32,790 - $49,340
137kW/345Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol
177kW/345Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol
132kW/400Nm 2.0 litre Duratorq TDCI diesel
Six-speed sports automatic
Fuel consumption, l/100km
2.0 litre Ambiente claimed: 8.2 | tested: 9.0
2.0 litre Trend/Titanium claimed: 8.2/8.5 | tested: 9.4
2.0 litre TDCI Wagon claimed: 5.3 | tested: 6.8
2.0 litre TDCI Hatch claimed: 5.1 | tested: 6.4
There are three key words at the heart of the new Ford Mondeo: safety, safety, and safety.
This fresh new mid-sized hatch and wagon from Ford offers Australian families unprecedented levels of premium safety technologies at a family-friendly, middle Australia price.
Unexpected things like pedestrian detection and avoidance technology (which can detect people on or near the road ahead) available in the mid-spec Trend and up-spec Titanium range; and inflatable rear seat-belts for children and rear-seat passengers, available standard across the range.
Nine airbags are standard, as is cruise control with speed limiter, hill launch assist, load-levelling suspension (in wagon models) and daytime running lights.
Step up to the Trend and Titanium and add pre-collision warning and assist, pedestrian detection, adaptive LED headlamps, and a host of dynamic and passive high-end safety technologies.
This, in a range that starts at $32,790 for the entry-level Ambiente, the mid-spec Trend Mondeo range that begins at $37,290, and the Titanium which begins at $44,290.
Right now, at this price, the new Mondeo is the safest car you can put your family into.
It is a bonus then that it is also a dynamic performer on road, is laden with high-end features - like standard satellite navigation, ‘voice control' functions and SYNC2 connectivity platform - and is nicely trimmed and fitted inside.
Also a bonus is that this new Mondeo has the interior space of a Falcon, rides like a large car, but feels much smaller and more dynamic at the wheel.
We drove all three engine combinations at launch - two petrol, one diesel - all three models, and both body styles, Wagon and Hatch.
Any way you look at it, the new Mondeo adds an impressive, affordable new choice for Australian families.
This is a satisfying interior.
Whether in the base-spec Ambiente, or top-dog Titanium, the seats are comfortable, the surfaces are appealing, there are neat piano-black and metal finishes throughout, and things are placed where they are easily found and operated.
The base-spec Ambiente is hardly a base-spec car.
Look through the feature list - standard satellite navigation, SYNC2 with emergency assistance, DAB+ radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, voice control (for phone, music, air-con), cruise control, paddle-shifters, electronic park-brake, inflatable rear seat belts and navigation - these are higher-end features and unexpected on a $32,790 family car.
Sure, it's no Audi in here, but there is a feel of substance to this interior, and the higher-end technologies it offers puts it a cut above its key competition from Toyota and Mazda.
Perhaps, if we were to gripe, we might grizzle about the omission of a reversing camera in the Ambiente (it is standard on Trend and Titanium models).
After all, the screen is there and it is a simple life-saving technology that - really - should be standard on every family car.
If you can stretch to the extra dollars, the $37,290 mid-spec Trend is our pick (but, for most family buyers, that $5000 step up from the Ambiente is not just small change).
The Trend though feels and looks smarter inside, the partial leather trimmed seats are particularly appealing - they're well-shaped, feature 10-way power adjustment (for driver and passenger), are padded in the right places and have a nice sporty hip-hugging contour.
The Trend picks up keyless entry, lane keeping aid (which I nearly always turn off), auto high beam that ‘reads' the conditions ahead (and selectively dims, raises and lowers the beam), active ‘city stop' - which brakes at low speeds if you don't - and rear view camera.
Its big ticket item, standard on Trend and Titanium models, is the pedestrian detection and avoidance technology.
This scans and references objects ahead via a camera in the windscreen and radar in the lower bumper.
If a pedestrian is detected within a wide field of view and the car detects a collision is imminent, it first gives a warning, then applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond.
The Titanium of course comes with the lot. But its additional features over the Trend are mostly cosmetic and luxury enhancements - like finely grained leather seats, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof, etc. - as well as park assist features.
It looks and feels the luxury choice, but, at $44,290 for the Titanium Hatch EcoBoost 2.0 litre turbo, rising to $49,340 for the Titanium diesel wagon, it's getting “up there”.
We'd be placing our dollars on the Trend (and taking a holiday with the change).
Lastly, immense boot space in both Mondeo Hatch and Wagon cannot pass without comment. The long deep floor of the Hatch, in particular, is a real surprise. Offering 458 litres to the window-line or 557 litres of space fully laden, there is ample here for at least four sets of golf clubs (plus three caddies).
The Wagon, offering 488 litres to the window-line, expanding to 1585 with the rear seats folded, comes with clever Audi-style tie-downs and locking barrier (you can strap in, for instance, a gas bottle, and not have it rolling around in the back).
And towing capacity? Not earth-shattering, but you can hitch a 1200kg braked trailer or van to both EcoBoost Hatch and Wagon, and 1600kg (braked) to the TDCI diesel models.
ON THE ROAD
There is no doubting the dynamic character of these cars. From the entry-spec (and lower-powered) Ambiente to the top-spec TDCI diesel Titanium Wagon, each can be driven with real verve.
Each feels responsive underfoot and alert at the wheel. But neither the higher output 177kW EcoBoost turbo nor the stout TDCI diesel are in hot-hatch or high-performance territory.
No, these are swift touring cars in the fashion of the European ‘sports tourer' - swift, not thumping, and with an elegant ability to swallow long kilometres.
Like the i6 Falcon, strangely enough. (A direct comparison between the two will be interesting; which we will do - Ed.)
Each is quiet on road, whatever the surface, although the larger 18-inch alloys (which look like they were stolen from a 1990 Toyota Cressida) and lower profile Continental tyres on the Titanium create a little more road-roar on coarse chip bitumen.
Not unsurprisingly, we came away impressed most with the TDCI diesel.
Once warm, it is a very smooth and responsive unit, will effortlessly power over hills (and will, undoubtedly, be untroubled by the weight of a family-sized load) and has no trouble getting quickly ‘out and around' when overtaking.
The same is true of both EcoBoost petrol turbo models. While Ambiente models get a lower state of tune and lower output - 149kW as opposed to 177kW - they each have the same torque output (345Nm) and feel much the same on road.
We gave both a bit of a whack through some winding sections of road in the Brindabellas west of Canberra and decided there was little in it.
The higher output version (in Trend and Titanium models) is certainly quicker at the top end, when being stretched, and is a bit more eager to pick up its skirts out of a corner, but the Ambiente is no slouch when ‘asked the question'.
Both Wagon and Hatch are tuned to the softer side, leaning to comfort, but the rebound damping is quite good.
This gives a feel of the wheels ‘contouring' the road, soaking up imperfections and corrugations, but providing a very settled and quite sophisticated feel to the front end.
When pushed hard into a corner there is a bit of understeer, but lifting off tightens the line and you will feel the transition to mild oversteer (helped, no doubt, by the weight in the back of both models).
The wagon is a bit more ‘wagonny' through the hills, you can feel the higher centre of gravity sitting over the back wheels.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
In the new Mondeo, Ford has a car of real substance and style - whichever model you choose.
But the Trend is the standout model. EcoBoost petrol turbo, or TDCI diesel, Wagon or Hatch, this is an impressively well-kitted car and positively laden with high-end technologies and infotainment systems.
It is also, as we commented at the head, THE safest car you can buy for your family.
For long distance travel over Australia's vast and varying road system, the quiet, settled and sophisticated Mondeo is one of the best buys to hit the market.
It goes on sale in a couple of weeks.
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