FORD HAS REVAMPED ITS MID-SIZER IN WAKE OF THE FALCON’S DEMISE
The big problem with waiting a long time for something is that you can start to build up unrealistic expectations. And we have waited a long time for the new Ford Mondeo.
So would our expectations have grown wildly out of control? Would we be expecting more than the new Ford “flagship” could, in reality, deliver?
There are no big surprises here, because after driving the new Mondeo around Canberra for a day at the Australasian launch, we can happily say that our expectations have been met. And then some.
For the latest incarnation of its long-serving mid-sizer, Ford has stuck to a familiar template. So familiar, in fact, that apart from the latest family face on the front, the rest of the car looks remarkably similar to the car it is replacing, despite being all new.
Ford New Zealand has stuck even closer to the status quo by only bringing 2-litre petrol and diesel models into the local market. But they are a mighty impressive pair of engines indeed.
The 2-litre four-cylinder petrol EcoBoost engine is available in two different power outputs — a 149kW/345Nm version in the entry level Ambiente sedan and wagon 2-litre four-cylinder diesel is available in a single 132kW/400Nm guise across the Ambiente and Trend models.
Prices range from $43,990 for the Ambiente 2-litre petrol to $54,890 for the Titanium petrol.
The new Mondeo comes standard with an impressive amount of technology and safety equipment across the range, not the least of which is Ford’s new inflatable rear seatbelt that, in the event of a collision, will deploy a “mini airbag” over an occupant’s torso and shoulder in 40 milliseconds. Ford says this spreads the impact forces over five times more area of the body to help reduce pressure on the chest and control head and neck motion for rear seat passengers.
All models also get Ford’s brilliant new SYNC2 infotainment system that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, voice control, 2 USB ports, an SD card port, iPod and audio/video RCA inputs, Bluetooth connectivity and a satellite navigation system.
The Trend models also score an impressive range of safety technology as standard, including adaptive cruise control that maintain a pre-determined distance from the car in front, regardless of speed and Active City Stop that can help avoid or mitigate rear end collisions at speeds up to 40 km/h.
The Titanium adds a lane keeping assist function that vibrates the steering wheel to warn the driver when they are drifting across a lane and a forward collision warning function that sounds an alert when it senses a reduction in traffic speed ahead and, if the possibility of a collision is detected, audible and visual warnings are activated to alert the driver.
The Titanium also gets a new version of Ford’s Active Park Assist system that will not only find a spot that’s just the right size, but will also steer the car into parking spaces.
Then new Mondeo slips into the “flagship” position of Ford models locally chiefly thanks to the imminent demise of the large Falcon, but it is a position that it could easily inhabit even if the venerable Falcon was soldiering on by virtue of the technology and equipment it packs as standard.
The entry level Trend packs an array of equipment that would be considered top of the line not all that long ago, while the range topping Titanium goes beyond pretty much anything else in the segment, bar the equally well-specced refreshed Mazda6. This though is a situation that may well change with the imminent introductions of a new Toyota Camry and VW Passat.
What is most impressive, however, is the fact that beneath all the high-tech gadgets and standard equipment the Mondeo remains an impressively good car to drive.
A large part of the Mondeo’s appeal has always been the rock solid certainty that, regardless of the model, it would always be a damn fine steer.
And the new car is no exception to that long-standing rule. The new model is softer than the previous car, but the confident and capable feel of the Mondeo remains intact.
The steering is sharp and accurate — albeit slightly overly light for our tastes — and the car posses an athletic, nimble feel for what is in no way a small car.
All engines are powerful and impressive, but the surprise at the launch was the entry level petrol 149kW EcoBoost that proved itself to be smooth, powerful and surprisingly flexible, far beyond the wheezy entry level engines of Mondeos past.
While the exterior is handsome, but somewhat familiar, the interior is anything but — a sleek, beautifully designed exercise in restraint and elegance, the ever-so-slightly minimalist interior of the new Mondeo is beautifully made and boasts high quality materials.
A thoroughly impressive (and impressively priced) car, it was definitely worth the wait.