Fleet or family Mondeo wagon is certain to impress
- 2009 Ford MB Mondeo LX; 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; six-speed automatic, wagon - $32,990*
- Metallic Paint $400 (Not Fitted - Frozen White)
Blurring the lines between a bottom-end fleet special and bargain family transport is usually an exercise in futility.
Ford's Mondeo LX is one wagon that proves how entering the lower-end of the market no longer means having to compromise on a car bereft of finesse or features.
Sitting beneath the upper-spec Zetec, Mondeo LX wagon comprises sleek but subtle flowing lines that are drawn from an amiable 'kinetic' front fascia, a design cue now shared across the Ford range, through a crisp profile accented by a clean, high shoulder line finishing at Mondeo's large, clearly defined horizontally orientated tail lamps.
At the back a uniformly moulded appearance sees the top-hinged tail gate incorporate the rear bumper's shape for a cleaner look that also contributes functionally to the cargo area's low flat floor.
The result is a body that's modern and stylish without being ostentatious, a theme testament to Mondeo's German heritage and one that follows suit in the wagon's simple yet elegant cabin.
In here the contrasting silver-on-black tones of the dashboard and centre console are met hospitably by chaste grey and black cloth upholstery to lift the ambiance and interest of the interior to a status more often associated with mid- or even upper-spec models.
This level of esteem is complimented hand in glove by the LX's generous array of quality fittings and intuitive features.
Standard equipment includes voice recognition, cruise control, single CD tuner with steering wheel mounted controls, full function trip computer, front power windows, power mirrors, air conditioning, remote central locking and height adjustable headlamps.
Sadly rear power windows, rear ventilation outlets and an instrument panel dimmer don't make the cut.
Accommodation is very comfortable in four of the five positions, the rear centre seat being a little firm and narrow. Otherwise the well formed seats exceed the dimensional expectations of Mondeo's 'mid-size' moniker with rear leg room very nearly representative of that found in the large-car category.
Mondeo wagon boasts 950mm of rear leg room which is only 30mm and 51mm fewer than Holden's Commodore Sportwagon and Mondeo's big brother, the Ford Falcon XT wagon respectively.
It's a similar story when it comes to cargo capacity with Mondeo wagon's low, flat floor offering 1005 litres with seats up, to window height. By comparison Commodore Sportwagon offers 895 litres and Falcon XT considerably more at 1260 litres.
The cargo area comes standard with a retractable cover for security, four chrome plated 'D' shaped tie down points, and 60:40 split fold rear seats to expand the area to a cavernous 2163 litres. A space saver spare wheel is housed beneath the floor.
Powering the Mondeo LX is a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine developing 118kW of power and 208Nm. These figures, although hardly world-beating, manage to deliver acceptable performance both around town and on the open road thanks primarily to an intelligent six-speed automatic transmission.
Delivering linear acceleration with DSG-like response times this well calibrated transmission makes Mondeo's drive smooth and precise while also managing to return fuel consumption figures consistently below 10L/100km.
A balanced chassis enhanced by similarly well tuned MacPherson strut (front) / multi-link (rear) suspension see Mondeo handle every aspect of urban and highway driving competently, even, at times, impressively, well beyond what you'd expect of its bargain-basement price tag.
In sharp corners the Mondeo feels precise, with barely a hint of body roll. In fast, flowing sweepers the wagon feels settled and calm, offering a level of grip that feels both planted and confident, even over mid-corner lumps. In fact you've really got to throw Mondeo around a lot to trigger the ESC, such is its near-perfect poise.
Despite the enjoyable handling, Mondeo has lost none of its polished ride. The car handles coarse country roads and speed hump riddled suburban streets with a resolute pliancy usually associated with high-end, long-wheelbase offerings.
Steering is accurate and well weighted while remaining light enough at car park speeds to keep things easy. Visbility is excellent, even to the rear, to boost that feeling of confidence when maneuvering in tight parking spaces.
First rate safety includes standard equipment of discs brakes with ABS, EBA and EBD; ESC with Traction Control; plus dual front, side, curtain and driver's knee airbags.
All seating positions feature three-point inertia reel seatbelts whilst ISOFIX child seat anchor points are fitted in all three rear seat locations. These efforts see Mondeo score a deserved five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Ford Mondeo LX wagon is priced from $32,990* excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.