Good looks, lots of space, handy prices, diesel or petrol, wagon or hatch, German engineering and build quality – the Ford Mondeo stakes a claim to being the best mid-sizer on the market.
That’s not a statement we make lightly, especially when you consider excellent rivals like the Mazda6 and Honda Accord Euro.
Now updated, the MC range of Ford Mondeos boasts styling enhancements inside and out, a new diesel engine and ‘Powershift’ dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission.
Despite the intense competition in this segment of the market, this year we expect Mondeo to deliver more than the 7.4 per cent of sales it garnered in 2010.
Ford Mondeo Overview
Frankly we’re surprised the Ford Mondeo doesn’t sell in larger numbers in this market, because in Europe it’s a star car for Ford.
And on paper Ford Mondeo delivers everything Australian buyers demand – especially interior space.
Prices start at $30,540 for the entry-level Mondeo LX hatch. Car Showroom tested the mid-grade $38,990, Ford Mondeo Zetec hatchback with the 2.0-litre TDCI diesel engine driving the front wheels via Ford’s latest ‘Powershift’ dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission.
Designed and manufactured by Ford in Germany, the Mondeo comes with extensive standard features and ticks the safety boxes with inclusions like front, side and curtain airbags, a drivers’ knee airbag plus dynamic stability and traction control.
Ford Mondeo Engine
Big news under the bonnet in our Ford Mondeo Zetec hatchback was the latest version of Ford’s Duratorq turbo-diesel engine (Mondeo petrol remains the 2.3-litre, four-cylinder with 118kW/208Nm).
Now compliant with Euro V emissions regulations, the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel delivers 120kW/340Nm while returning fuel consumption as low as 5.9l/100kms. It features high-pressure common rail direct injection and four valves per cylinder in its DOHC design.
The new powerplant is much more responsive than its predecessor (which was no slouch in itself) and, typical of a European turbo-diesel, is supremely quiet under hard acceleration and at high-speeds on the freeway.
Ford Mondeo The Interior
Ford Mondeo goes one-up on many segment rivals thanks to its abundant interior space (no surprise as it’s actually one of the largest mid-sizers). That’s good news for families and fleet buyers.
And another big points score for Mondeo is thanks to its German origins – the quality of materials used in the cabin stamps this Ford ahead of many rivals whose interiors just can’t match that quality feel and smell. In fact as part of the MC range improvements, Ford updated many of those materials and our Zetec model test vehicle highlighted nice cloth for the seats.
Zetec also scores Ford’s latest ‘HMI’ (Human Machine Interface) dashboard-mounted system for control of the audio and climate control air-conditioning. Voice control is also included.
There was manual height adjustment for the drivers’ seat which combined with rake/reach adjustment for the four-spoke steering wheel to provide an excellent driving position. We continue to like the steering wheel in Ford Mondeo – it’s just the right width and the simple buttons for cruise control, trip computer and audio are easy to use.
The dashboard maintains the high standard graphics which have been a Mondeo highlight, with a large screen between the speedo and tachometer displaying extensive trip computer, audio and vehicle information. In fact there is so much information available on the screen at first glance it’s a bit overpowering, but with use the system is intuitive and one of the best in this segment.
Rear seat accommodation is outstanding for a mid-sizer.
Ford Mondeo Exterior & Styling
The current third generation Ford Mondeo range has always impressed with its exterior looks – obviously European in style and featuring the current trends wherever you glance.
The latest MC models gain a new-look front end with revised grille and headlights, while the rear features new LED tail-lights. Again it’s a modern Euro look with contemporary, large, ‘wraparound’ headlights and ‘blistered’ front fenders.
The sloping side glass and prominent waist level side creases give the Ford Modeo a substantial presence which overshadows many segment rivals which look a bit lightweight and simple by comparison. Furthering that strong on-road presence, the Zetec model tested featured new design 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels as part of the MC range upgrades.
And we liked the high rear end (its look boosted by the new taillights).
Much like the smaller Focus and Fiesta, the Mondeo is evidence of the ‘new’ Ford styling coming from Europe – very ‘together’ and contemporary.
Ford Mondeo On The Road
In the way of German cars, on the road in the Ford Mondeo you’re immediate impression is: this car is solid and substantial. The latest 2.0-litre turbo-diesel is a gem and superbly matched to that six-speed twin-clutch automatic for excellent acceleration and refinement.
Around town that translates into handy acceleration away from the lights and for freeway merging – all unfussed, with little noise intrusion even under hard loads.
Over our high speed mountain roads loop the Ford Mondeo was a commendable performer with nice balance and predictable turn-in, but not quite as sharp as say the Honda Accord Euro (the 1563kgs Mondeo felt a tad heavy). In those high speed runs, using the auto as a self-shifter delivered better performance than full auto where kick-down to a lower gear was a bit abrupt.
In the city, the parking sensors made the Mondeo Zetec a breeze to park and despite its size, there was plenty of steering lock to negotiate tight spaces.
Ford Mondeo Challenges
That 120kW/340Nm turbo-diesel is certainly worth the extra dollars, but there’s no denying the Ford Mondeo doesn’t quite match the Honda Accord Euro for high performance driving dynamics. The Ford is still up there with the best, but enthusiast drivers may lean towards the Accord.
Ford Mondeo Verdict
This is bound to be controversial but we reckon the Ford Mondeo is the pick of the mid-sizers.
It oozes German quality with its manufacturing excellence and inside with high standard trim materials. Families and fleet buyers will appreciate its abundant space.
And the addition of the latest 2.0-litre diesel and twin-cluch six-speed auto has certainly ramped-up the drive.
Ford Mondeo The Competition
Dominated by the Toyota Camry, Australia’s mid-size segment is so big Ford Mondeo really competes in a sub-segment against the likes of Honda Accord Euro, Mazda6 and Subaru Liberty.
The Honda has earned acclaim from the critics and overshadows the Mondeo for on-the-limit sporty driving dynamics, however the Mondeo counters both Acord and Liberty with its interior space and, in the Zetec grade, its standard features.