Ford Mondeo Titanium 2016 new car review
The Mondeo will become the default large car for the Blue Oval brand when Ford parks up the last Falcon.
The Mondeo will become the default large car for the Blue Oval brand when Ford parks up the last Australian designed and built Falcon in Melbourne at the end of September 2016.
A direct replacement for the to-be-retired Ford Falcon is unnecessary because of the fourth-generation, Spanish-built MD-series Mondeo. As the pictures show, the large car has a footprint that's as big as the Aussie-built car, and interior room and boot space which is also on par.
The Mondeo has come a long way in New Zealand from the first generation car (itself a face-lifted version) which landed on our soil as a Telstar replacement in 1997. The MD-series Mondeo arrived into the New Zealand market later than expected, because production moved from the Genk Factory in Belgium, to the Valencia plant in Spain, delaying the Australasian launch.
Under the One-Ford strategy, the Mondeo is now a globally produced vehicle off one platform, offering different drive trains and suspension settings for the applicable market.
It was launched as the Ford Fusion in the USA back in 2012, but the three-year wait for New Zealand customers meant we got both liftback and station wagon versions, a choice of turbocharged diesel or petrol engines, as well as a much-improved suite of active and passive safety technologies, including Ford’s inflatable rear seat belts.
Inside and out
The Mondeo has matured from the first generation to the current fourth generation in the past 19 years. The car has grown bigger and more stylish and also offers a range of onboard specification and technology that once was the preserve of premium luxury brands.
Not so many years ago, active parking assist was a unique concept, but thanks to the growing use of integrated electronic control unit technology, it’s now a reality that is slowing creeping into the mass market passenger car. The Mondeo Titanium liftback and station wagon both feature active cruise control, active city stop, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning alert, and active parking assist, which offers both assisted parallel and perpendicular parking functions.
Both the front and rear passenger leather seats have a heat setting, there is dual-zone climate air conditioning, Ford’s Sync 2 infotainment system with touch screen, Bluetooth audio and telephony with voice control. The design and execution of the Mondeo interior is world-class, as befitting its status, and even though the switchgear and steering wheel are shared with other Ford models, this does not detract from their quality look and feel.
The Sync 2 infotainment system lets you give a raft of verbal commands, but you do need to speak slowly and clearly; it doesn’t like Kiwi vocabulary spoken at machine gun fire velocity.
On the road
While the Mondeo employs a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine, its 177kW/ 345Nm output is as powerful as the outgoing Falcon's 4-litre inline six-cylinder engine and noticeably more frugal. Despite being bigger and more softly sprung than the previous Mondeo generation, this new global car still handles well and is a comfortable short and long-distance cruiser.
Watching the Mondeo make a better job of reversing into a parallel park or a perpendicular space, as you feather the throttle and brake pedals are both intriguing and humbling at the same time. I’m sure there will come a time where the whole operation will be fully automated, and parking will become another driving skill lost - much like changing gear manually by using a clutch pedal.
Another useful function in the Mondeo Titanium's arsenal of safety features is the lane-keeping assist function, which will vibrate the steering wheel should the driver drift too closely to the outer edges of the lane markings. It’s a subtle reminder to the driver to steer the car back on course to avoid collisions, and another subtle reminder is the forward-collision warning system, where a band of red light will illuminate in the driver’s line of vision in the windscreen, which advises the vehicle is travelling too closely to the one in front of it.
The 2-litre turbocharged Ecoboost engine has a delightful timbre, the sound is very reminiscent of the raucous four-cylinder Ford engines of the previous Sierra and Cortina models, but with far more sophistication and efficiency.
Going global could be an excuse to be average all-around, something Ford was previously well known for, but thankfully the new Mondeo is not. Instead of being average, the global Mondeo sets out to be a new benchmark for the mid-to-large sedan class, by bringing world-class technologies to the buyer for mass-market prices.
Note: this was reviewed as a new vehicle.