The plan was a family holiday road trip – children, surf equipment, golf clubs. A perfect test – and we do mean test! – for Ford’s range-topping Mondeo Titanium wagon.
So, family buyers (and commercial wagon fleets) what was the bottom line? Well, just as we expected, the designed-and-built-in-Germany Ford Mondeo delivered without compromise and without the inconvenience and fuel consumption penalties of a full-size SUV.
Of course the all-new Ford Mondeo arrives sometime this year and it will have to be good to take-on the just-launched, all-new Mazda6. As this Ford Mondeo test proved, the current model remains a Car Showroom favourite…so we expect the newcomer will be special.
Ford Mondeo Overview
Scoring the German Mondeo as its mid-size vehicle was a very smart move by Ford Australia. Mondeo (and Fusion in North America) is one of the world’s best-selling vehicles, popular with both commercial fleets and private buyers.
Slick design and a spacious interior are Mondeo hallmarks and it is a Car Showroom favourite. Mondeo starts at $31,490 for the LX hatchback but for the Christmas holidays, Ford equipped us with the range-topping Titanium grade wagon which is listed at $48,490.
An all-new Ford Mondeo lineup was previewed at last year’s Australian International Motor Show (Sydney) but full details will not be known until launch later this year.
Ford Mondeo Engine
In range-topping Titanium grade, Ford Mondeo is exclusively powered by the 2.0-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel. A smooth, refined, European turbo-diesel, maximum power of 120kW is delivered at 4000rpm and peak torque of 340Nm arrives between 1750rpm and 2500rpm.
Drive is to the front wheels via Ford’s six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission.
Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is rated at 6.2l/100kms.
And the Mondeo wagon’s maximum towing capacity is an impressive 1600kgs.
Even fully loaded during our week, the Mondeo wagon delivered good response for highway overtaking.
Ford Mondeo The Interior
Lots of space inside the Ford Mondeo wagon. Even though it’s a mid-sizer, like the all-new Mazda6, rear-seat leg-room puts many large vehicles in the shade.
Our Titanium grade model came with alcantara/leather trim plus electronic height adjustment for the heated sports front seats. Rake and reach adjustment for the sporty four-spoke steering wheel provided a handy driving position.
Instruments are housed in a binnacle which is curved to match the air-vents. Conventional gauges are separated by the ‘Human Machine Interface’ display – a premium version in the Titanium grade with Ford Convers+ and a colour display which includes the graph-like light display showing the lane departure warning information.
Audio is a nine-speaker Sony premium system with the usual connectivity but no satellite navigation or reversing camera.
After our holiday week we can vouch for the Ford Mondeo’s capacity to absorb copious amounts of luggage – 1005-litres with the rear seat in-place or 2163-litres when folded.
Ford Mondeo Exterior & Styling
Without doubt one of the best styling jobs from Ford’s Cologne, Germany studios, the Mondeo wagon still looks sharp even though the end of the current model’s life-cycle is on the horizon. Our Titanium grade was the latest guise with a black honeycomb front grille, ‘cornering’ headlights and fog-lights.
The Ford Mondeo delivers a contemporary on-road presence highlighted by the sporty bulging wheel-arches, large, wrap-around headlights and an elegant rising glasshouse.
At the rear, Mondeo wagon delivers a broad, low-opening tailgate.
Ford Mondeo On The Road
Apart from the styling, it’s the quality European driving dynamics which have caused us to rate the Ford Mondeo so highly. Wagon or sedan, the Mondeo’s well-honed chassis delivers the precision and feedback we like.
Mondeo rides on Macpherson strut front suspension and Ford’s independent Control Blade multi-link rear. And the Titanium model as tested benefits from lowered sports calibration and those handsome 18-inch alloy wheels.
Of course during this test our Ford Mondeo spent most of the week fully loaded with the family and assorted holiday paraphernalia, but it coped well and still delivered the refinement and performance which are hallmarks.
The 2.0-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel is a slick operator – as good as any German turbo-diesel in our minds – but it must be said Ford’s six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission isn’t the smoothest of the current crop (we suspect the all-new Mondeo will debut a new transmission probably with an extra ratio or two).
But through the twists and curves, the Ford Mondeo exudes its German origins with sportiness, firmness and precision.
And this test was our first extended use of Ford’s active cruise control and lane departure warning systems. Both work as good as similar systems fitted to vehicles costing more than twice the Mondeo.
We especially liked the lane departure system which has a dashboard display of green and red lights, a subtle buzzer and steering wheel vibration. Well, you’re in no doubt if you stray to the wrong side of the white lines!
Ford Mondeo Challenges
It had been a while since we’d driven the Titanium grade Ford Mondeo and we’d forgotten a reversing camera and satellite navigation aren’t included. Bet that changes when the all-new model lineup is revealed.
Ford Mondeo Verdict
The Christmas week re-affirmed our previous conclusion that the Ford Mondeo is the best of the mid-sizers. However the stylish German Ford now shares top billing with the all-new Mazda6.
We still like the looks – a design which pleases at the end of its model life is a sure sign of a winner – and we still rate the driving dynamics as the best (now matched by the ‘6’). And we still love the 2.0-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel – a very smooth 120kW/340Nm which deserves a better transmission.
And here’s the thing – these modern design mid-size wagons (Ford Mondeo, Mazda6, Hyundai i40 Tourer) deliver families and commercial wagon drivers the interior space they demand without the gargantuan exterior dimensions and fuel consumption penalty of SUVs.
We can’t wait to see how the all-new Ford Mondeo will compare.
Ford Mondeo The Competition
The headline-grabber in this league is the just-launched Mazda6. Mazda’s SkyActive chassis technology ensures the ‘6’ wagon lays-down a real challenge for the Ford Mondeo’s previous best-in-class driving dynamics however good as the Mazda6 interior is, we reckon the Mondeo is just as good. Mazda’s 2.2-litre SkyActive turbo-diesel is punchy at 132kW/490Nm and fuel economy is excellent at 5.9l/100kms. But the range-topping Mazda6 Atenza wagon will set you back $50,960 to $48,490 for the Mondeo Titanium.
Ironically the Hyundai i40 also has its design origins in Germany (Hyundai’s European studios are in Russelsheim). A bit less coin at $46,490 (Premium grade), the i40 offers nice looks and stylish interior and is marginally ahead on fuel consumption at 6.0l/100kms but its 1.7-litre turbo-diesel is outmuscled with 100kW/320Nm on-tap (120kW/340Nm for the Mondeo).
You’ll need $50,290 for the Holden Calais Sportwagon. But Holden’s 210kW/350Nm 3.6-litre V6 can’t match the Mondeo diesel’s refinement or fuel consumption (9.8l/100kms for the Commodore V6 versus 6.2l/100kms for the Mondeo turbo-diesel is significant in anyone’s language).