So appealing that it takes the gloss off the already impressive Falcon.
2009 Ford MA Mondeo TDCi; 2.0-litre, four-cylinder; six-speed automatic; hatch – $39,990 (RRP)
Leather heated seats
– by Paul Maric
As humble as it may seem, the Ford Mondeo has arrived in Australia with an artillery of equipment and engines, prepared to take on the rivals from Mazda, Holden, Honda, Skoda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen and Kia.
Well, that would have been the headline when the car was launched, but unfortunately the Mondeo hasn’t been the runaway success Ford had hoped.
I recently jumped behind the wheel of the turbo-diesel Mondeo to see if there was an issue with the car or if it was the Australian public.
From afar, the Mondeo is a spitting image of the Falcon. or is that the other way around?
Anyway, it’s a decently sized car and is far from offensive to look at. As you approach the Mondeo, European styling cues and impressive design features make the exterior a flowing form.
Although our test vehicle was a hatch, the integrated boot makes it look like a sedan until you open the tailgate, very reminiscent of the Skoda Octavia.
This impressive styling trait neatens the rear of the car and hides the sometimes ugly rear ended hatch look these types of mid-sized sedans possess.
It’s not until you reach the inside of the Mondeo that the exterior styling begins making sense, and the front of the cabin offers expanses of room for both driver and passenger.
Ample head and shoulder room make the leather clad cabin of the TDCi Hatch a pleasure in which to sit.
Rear seat passengers are treated to an astonishing amount of legroom. The cutaway of the roof also ensures tall passengers aren’t left rubbing their heads on the roof when seated. Three adults comfortably sit abreast along the rear row.
Boot room is yet another point of applause. Offering 528-litres of cargo volume, the boot’s depth and width along with entry room make it perfect for carting around kids belongings and luggage.
In comparison to the Falcon’s 535-litres and the Commodore’s 486-litres, the Mondeo can hold its own in the capacity stakes with these cars from a class above.
The TDCi’s standard features include; dual zone climate control, premium Sony audio system with six-disc in-dash CD player and eight-speakers, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, front and rear parking sensors and rain sensing windscreen wipers.
Standard safety features across the range include; Electronic Stability Control (ESC), driver and passenger front and side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, engine immobiliser, ABS brakes and Traction Control (TC).
Powering the TDCi Mondeo Hatch is Ford Europe’s 2.0-litre Duratorq four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine that produces 103kW and 320Nm, which is directed through a slick shifting, six-speed automatic gearbox.
Taking into account the car’s 1.6-tonne mass, the Duratorq motor does an impressive job of hauling this Belgian-made car along.
The six-speed automatic gearbox also infuses a level of confidence when driving the Mondeo both at pace and with frugal motoring in mind.
In gear acceleration is top notch at both low and high speeds. In addition, fuel consumption is a meager 7.3-litres/100km on a combined cycle, which was easily achieved on test.
The Mondeo’s steering is also an impressive show of engineering. The hydraulic power steering unit offers adequate feedback and feel, even on some of Australia’s nasty B-roads.
Although the Mondeo is front-wheel-drive, the only time understeer rears its ugly head when the Mondeo is pushed beyond its limits and is forced to throw in the towel.
Generally those limits are well out of reach for the average driver. Even with a full complement of passengers, the Mondeo handles and remains composed, as you would expect from a European engineered vehicle.
Braking is taken care of by ventilated front and solid rear discs. The pedal feels firm throughout the entire travel, making braking a manageable and inattentive affair.
Engine noise from the 2.0-litre diesel unit is minimal at the best of times, although it sounds a bit tractor-like at idle from the exterior. Generally though it’s unnoticeable and the fact that a diesel lies under the bonnet would be unbeknown to most.
Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional Bluetooth and leather interior package.
The TDCi Mondeo is priced from $39,990.
So, what have I learnt from the road test? Well, the most obvious thing is that the Mondeo isn’t a bad car.
In fact, it’s better than most, if not all, its competitors. Where the Mazda6 and Camry lack torque, the TDCi Mondeo rips them to shreds. Comfort, convenience and style are also unmatched by the competition.
I personally believe a lack of product advertising, probably due to the presence of the Falcon, is affecting Mondeo sales.
If you were in the market for a medium sized car like the Mondeo, it would be hard not to include it on the test drive list.
The pretty design and long list of safety and user features make it affordable at its asking price.