THE 2016 RANGE-TOPPING MONDEO TITANIUM IS AN ATTRACTIVE COCKTAIL OF LUXURY, SPORTINESS, DRIVING PIZAZZ, NEW TECHNOLOGIES, ROOMINESS AND REFINEMENT.
The 2.0TD features a muscular and economical two-litre Duratec turbo-diesel, coupled to a six-speed dual-clutch autobox, driving through the front wheels.
Throw in its ‘exclusive’ adaptive suspension, which transforms it from cruiser to sportster at a flick of a switch, and you have an affordable and desirable family all-rounder that is equally at home on the school run, or twisting blacktop.
Vehicle Style: Medium five-door wagon
Price: $49,340 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 132KW/400Nm 2.0 litre 4cyl turbo-diesel l 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.1 l/100km | tested: 5.9 l/100km
Ford’s very European Mondeo may have spent the past few years in the shadows of the Falcon and Territory, but the vastly improved 2015/2016 model is set to play a prominent role in Ford’s future here.
Built in Spain on an all-new platform, the fourth-generation Mondeo range introduced earlier this year is bigger and better, with a near Falcon-sized interior and plenty of standard features across all models.
- Standard equipment: Climate control air-conditioning, electric park-brake, rain-sensing wipers, parking assistance, parking graphical display, reversing camera, powered tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, 10-way powered driver’s seat, electric passenger seat, front and rear heated seats
- Infotainment: Multi-function colour control-screen, premium sound system, digital DAB+ radio, SYNC 2, memory card reader, voice-activated control (infotainment, guidance, Bluetooth phone connectivity), satellite nagigation, automatic emergency dialling
- Cargo volume: 730 litres (seats up) 1605 litres (seats folded)
The Mondeo Titanium’s interior looks classy and inviting, with black leather and dark chrome garnishes setting the tone.
It features the creature comforts you’d expect in an up-market premium model; like climate control, leather seats and steering wheel, trip computer, paddle shifts, one-touch window function, auto dimming rear-view mirror, push button start/stop, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.
What I didn’t expect was ‘park assist’ that gets you in AND out of parking spots, radar-guided adaptive cruise control, an electrically-adjustable steering column, a 10-way powered driver’s seat that glides backwards on turning the engine off, changeable ambient lighting and heated seats for everyone.
Also standard is Ford’s SYNC2 touchscreen and voice-activated infotainment system for the climate control, Bluetooth, AM/FM/DAB audio and satnav with GPS and 3D mapping technology. It automatically calls emergency services with the vehicle’s location if an airbag deploys or the fuel pump shuts off.
You can even personalise the screen with your own photo.
It’s comfortable in both rows with the front sports-seats providing good support. Comfortable enough, we found, to make one three-hour drive feel like a zip around the block.
It’s roomy too, with 1128mm front legroom (the Falcon’s has 1073mm) and a sizeable 972mm in the back. The rear shoulder room of 1410mm, is fine for kids, but tight for three adults and the panoramic roof robs headroom, leaving it at 946mm.
The wide A-pillars obscure angled vision somewhat, but side and rear visibility is good with privacy glass rearward of the B-pillars. The luggage area caters for all family events ranging from 730 litres to a cavernous 1605 litres with the rear seats folded.
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 132kW/400Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel (Euro 6 compliant)
- Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel-drive
- Suspension: MacPherson strut front suspension, Integral-link rear
- Brakes: 316mm front disc brakes, 316mm rear disc brakes
- Steering: Electric power steering
There’s the familiar diesel rattle on start up but once underway, its silence is impressive.
With 400Nm, I expected some torque steer; but, nope, not a shred of it, nor any turbo lag or flat spots. This is a very smooth and well-matched drivetrain.
The six gear-ratios exploit the engine’s characteristics and it loves to rev; it is effortless surging through corners or swallowing hills (and quite a bit of fun should you wish to play with the gearshift paddles).
More fuel efficient at 5.1 L/100km than a Camry Hybrid’s 5.2 L/100km, we averaged 5.9 L/100km for the week.
Ford Europe has developed some excellent handlers in recent years like the Focus and small Fiesta, and the Mondeo is no different – this is a very swift and sophisticated drive.
Electric power steering replaces the hydraulic system, it now has bigger brakes than on the previous model, a stiffer chassis and new integral-link rear suspension, with the same settings used here as in Europe.
There are three suspension modes, Comfort, Normal and Sport, with each mode altering the steering weight, ride firmness and handling. There is a marked difference between each and it remains in the mode you’ve selected until you change it again.
Comfort mode delivers a supple ride, more ‘doughy’ steering and noticeable body-roll. Normal, is a midway point and a good overall compromise. However, despite the rock-solid ride that comes with it, Sport is my choice for its composed, balanced handling and engaging feel.
The Mondeo Titanium wagon may be a little off the radar with buyers, but it is a very enjoyable and rewarding car to drive.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars; the Mondeo wagon scored a commendable 36.07 out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: Rear seatbelt airbags (a “world first” for Ford), driver and front passenger airbags, curtain airbags, driver’s-knee airbag, ABS, EBD, TCS, EBA, DSC, power child-locks and a rear-view camera.
It also features park assist, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, radar adaptive cruise control with forward collision-warning and ‘active city stop’, pedestrian detection, traction control, hill holder and trailer sway assist.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The competitive medium sedan and wagon segment is spoiled for choice; most across the segment are priced against smaller SUVs, drive particularly well, and offer plenty of space. Wagons in this space though, are a little thinner.
The Mazda6 Atenza and Subaru Outback Premium are the key competitors here for the Mondeo Titanium – both look good, drive well, offer plenty of space and have stout diesels under the bonnet, as does the Mondeo.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Ford Mondeo is an accomplished performer with few, and very minor, niggles.
While the stupendously firm ride in Sport mode is a key factor to its excellent handling, (and my preferred choice), the constant jiggling about can become tiresome. The wide A-pillars also take some getting used to, especially at roundabouts and offset intersections.
However, for overall quality, for its refined cabin, on-road dynamics and safety technology, Ford’s Mondeo Titanium wagon is a very convincing car.
It is, in our view, a genuine alternative to the much more expensive prestige German brands.
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