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Ford Mondeo


The Mondeo is a beautifully built, exciting to drive and hugely practical car. But is it value for money?

I have recently brought the family’s second car, a 2004 Ford Mondeo, for the humble outlay of $4800. This means if you were to average the depreciation of my trusty family vehicle out on an annual basis, you’d be losing nearly $5000 for every year of the vehicle’s seven years of existence.

My point is, on the back of massive fleet popularity flooding the second hand market, depreciation has not been kind to the Mondeo. Great for used car bargain hunters like me; the Mondeo is a beautifully built, exciting to drive and hugely practical car. But would I be game enough to fork out $55K for a new one?

Hardly chump change is it? Surprising then, I’d argue in the latest 2011 Mondeo Titanium diesel’s case, it actually represents excellent value for money.

It’s all too easy to write the Mondeo off as a fleet special, but the Titanium spec is far from it with the absolute latest cutting edge safety technology, a premium diesel engine with snappy dual clutch transmission, impressive ride and handling and all the high end interior features you need to embarrass much pricier German product.

The 2011 suspension tune in the Titanium is sharper and firmer over the outgoing Mondeo, which is exactly what was required. The front end is now significantly more reactive, roll and pitch is restrained well at speeds where the immediately past model would’ve felt pudgy. The car now reminds me of the lithe, third generation model I have in my driveway. Minus seven years of wear and tear of course. There’s plenty of grip available too from the standard 18” wheel and tyre package, but the real trick is how they have suppressed any real jarring through the stiffer underpinnings – it’s an excellent blend of comfort and agility.

The 2.0 litre diesel mill (a Titanium petrol is also available for $52,990) is a quick revving unit that exhibits very petrol-engine-like characteristics. Rather than dumping torque all over the tarseal in one brief and frenzied attack, it’s spread as liberally as soft butter across the rev range, so you always have some reserve grunt for passing or accelerating out of bends. The all new PowerShift dual clutch transmission is a big help here, though the shift calibration isn’t nearly as swift as say, the Volkswagen DSG box. Learn to adapt your shift requests to suit, however, and you can still have heaps of fun.

A real draw card – for me at least, safety is my heroin – are the numerous driver aids and safety features including radar adaptive cruise control, lane departure and blind spot warning systems, collision mitigation and even a driver alert system to detect when the driver is drowsy, that all come packaged as standard on the Titanium spec. Imagine that Volvo, Audi, BMW and Mercedes…and here you all are offering these as convoluted and costly options packages.

All this stuff is very cutting edge, it was less than a year ago that the Volvo S60 – what I consider the safest car in the world – was really making a song and dance about such features and now they’re available to the masses. Ok, I’ll still be seven years away from affording it, but you get the idea. It is a very large leap forward for mainstream safety features, even at $54,990.

I don’t have enough space here to really delve into the minutia of how they all work, but they do, and importantly they’re not annoyingly intrusive in their intervention.

If that kind of advancement isn’t your cup of tea, you may prefer the awesome colour info display which allows you to flip through your phone contacts, make Bluetooth voice activated phones calls and connect your iPod. The heated, electrically adjustable seating is generously bolstered and comfortable, but I could do without the plush alcantara upholstery – it looks sharp now, but a few years from now?

The Mondeo Titanium punches above its weight in too many areas to ignore; it’s arguably the best family car you could buy below $60,000 in fact, so that price all of a sudden seems quite attractive. Oh, being the top of the line, it’ll be more insulated against depreciation than the volume seller too, so don’t worry. I look forward to owning one, shame that’ll be in 2018.

See Ford Mondeo for sale.

Auto Trader New Zealand