It might look familiar, but the new Mondeo represents the cutting-edge of engineering and safety technology for Ford. We test the top Titanium version.
Base price: $53,390.
Powertrain and performance: 2.0-litre turbo petrol four, 177kW/345Nm, 6-speed automatic, front-drive, Combined economy 8.5 litres per 100km.
Vital statistics: 4871mm long, 1482mm high, 2850mm wheelbase, luggage capacity 557-1356 litres, fuel tank 70 litres, 18-inch alloy wheels on 235/45 tyres.
We like: Smooth performance, comfort, high technology.
We don’t like: Three years old already, sharp chassis of previous model will be missed by some.
How it rates: 8/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? This car has been a long time coming. Not just because the previous Mondeo was on the market a long time (it made its first appearance back in 2006), but also because there have been major delays in getting the new version here.
The new Mondeo is essentially the same car as the Ford Fusion that’s been available in in the United States since 2012, so it’s not exactly hot off the press. It’s taken some time for the European-market Mondeo to come on stream for a variety of reasons, including a shift in production base from Belgium to Spain.
Nonetheless, here it is: the future of Ford’s family and fleet range for this part of the world. Mondeo is of course the car that not only takes it to the medium-sized competition – it also takes over from Falcon when the Australian car ceases production late next year.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The Mondeo has changed. Not necessarily for the better and not necessarily for the worse, but it has definitely changed.
Formerly a mid-sized model with truly sharp steering and chassis dynamics, it’s eased into middle age with much more of an emphasis on comfort and cruising ability. This makes complete sense for a large (larger than Falcon in most respects) car designed to carry people and cargo from A-to-B with minimum fuss.
That’s not to say the Mondeo has lost that dynamic excellence; it’s just expressed in a different way. Our test car was the flagship Titanium, powered by the familiar EcoBoost 2.0-litre turbo engine. It’s not as thrifty as the name might suggest, but it is smooth and boasts plenty of punch – certainly enough to get the front wheels spinning on wet roads or through tight corners.
There’s an initial laziness to the steering and chassis which might surprise if you’re stepping out of the previous model. But the Mondeo still has a depth of handling ability that becomes apparent the harder you drive it. The long wheelbase ensures a plush ride, but excellent body control also enables it to flow through fast corners in an elegant manner.
Interestingly, the petrol Mondeo (as tested) sticks with a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, while the diesels get Ford’s automated dual-clutch PowerShift gearbox.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH? The Mondeo has a rather luxurious feel on the road, but if there’s one thing Ford has always struggled with, it’s creating a truly luxurious feel inside its larger models.
It’s nothing to do with the quality of materials or even the ergonomics, but the interior of the Mondeo still seems a little piecemeal compared with other cars in the segment. There’s a strange mix of textures, some garish silver trim inserts and there were even a few telltale squeaks and rattles in our 10,000km test car. The panoramic glass roof in particular seemed to be flexing quite a lot over low-speed bumps.
Interior design is a matter of taste, of course. There’s no question that the Titanium is packed with technology. The new Mondeo features Ford’s Sync 2 touch-screen and voice-control system, which has a gorgeous colour interface, including live Windows-style tiles on the home screen that give you simultaneous information from four different functions.
The Titanium is also a safety showcase for Ford. It has a suite of active driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking and self-parking. There are airbags galore, including something quite unique: inflatable seatbelt airbags on the outer-rear seats.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? For a segment that’s shrinking in volume, there are certainly a lot of very impressive new mid-sized models being launched. Cars like these have to tick a lot of boxes, for everybody from fleet/business users to family buyers who need space but don’t necessarily want an SUV (this is a small group, admittedly).
The Mondeo has always been something of an everyman car, but this latest model still stands out as a highly desirable machine for its style, comfort and technology. Even after all these years.
- Blind spot warning: Yes
- Lane guidance: Yes
- Cruise control: Adaptive
- Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
- Parking radar: Yes with camera
- Self-parking technology: Yes including exit function
- Head-up display: Yes
- Satellite navigation: Yes
- Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
- Stop-start: Yes
- Air conditioning: Dual climate
- Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
- Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
- Leather upholstery: Yes
- Power boot or tailgate: Yes
- Split/folding rear seats: 60/40