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Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi review

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    There are plenty of reasons to look at purchasing the Titanium thanks to the addition of high-end equipment like voice control, adaptive cruise control and dynamic headlights. Photo Gallery

Neil McDonald road tests and reviews the Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi and finds it has something the others lack?

When you arrive late to a party you can often be ignored and blend quietly into the crowd. Ford found that out in 2007 when it launched the new-generation Mondeo. As the new-look hatch and sedan shuffled into the mid-size party pack, buyers glanced over their shoulders for a peek but then promptly went back to the easily recognised Japanese and Korean competition.

Initial sales were slow and the car struggled to find its place, largely overshadowed by a widely held - but misplaced - perception of Ford as the ‘Falcon car company’. The dominance of the Mondeo's mid-size competition did not help either.

Sales improved last year but the perky Ford still lags behind the established bluebloods like the Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Subaru Liberty and Honda Accord Euro.

Ford admits it initially had trouble convincing buyers that its car had the looks, price and equipment to be taken seriously. This time around they might have better luck. With the MB model update, Ford has put the Mondeo under the microscope and essentially relaunching the brand.

It has dropped the sedan, refreshed the hatch and added a wagon. As before there is a choice of the entry LX, sporty Zetec and turbocharged XR5 models. The Titanium is only available in a hatch, which seems a pity, particularly given Holden's success with its Commodore Sportswagon.

Drivetrains and pricing

Ford has also launched the up-spec Titanium version with the choice of a 2.3-litre petrol four cylinder or 2.0-litre turbodiesel mated to a six-speed automatic. The 2.3-litre Duratec four cylinder petrol develops 118kW/208Nm while the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, shared with the Focus, develops 103kW/320Nm.

At $42,990, the Titanium petrol version sits below the XR5 and blends that car's sporty looks with some premium luxury features not before seen in the segment — and some of which are not even available in the Falcon.

At $45,990 for the TDCi, it sits at the upper end of the price scale against the Japanese and Korean diesel opposition and smack in the middle of some performance Falcons. But if you want a roomy Ford with a diesel, it is well worth the extra. There are plenty of inducements to get buyers to look at the Titanium too.

Equipment and fit-out

The Titanium gets voice control, adaptive cruise control with forward alert and dynamic headlights with low beam headlights, as well as cornering lights. Like the other sporty Mondeos, there is a sports body kit, foglights, to sports suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside there are alcantara/leather sports seats with five-phase heating, sunroof, keyless start and smart key entry, Bluetooth and B-pillar mounted air vents for the rear passenger compartment.

Safety

Safety conscious buyers also get a full suite of airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, as well as traction and stability control. These safety features and a strong body deliver a five-star crash rating.

Driving

The previous Mondeo had a lot going for it and there is little reason to question the performance or packaging of the new one. Prices have risen slightly but it remains a well-styled vehicle with plenty of room for a family. The mid-size Ford delivers a strong case as a roomy, classy car backed up with precise steering, strong brakes, supple suspension and almost Falcon levels of cabin and boot space. Adding high-end equipment like voice control, adaptive cruise control and dynamic headlights are more than a talking point; they are recognised safety features.

The petrol version costs $3000 less but for our money the turbo-diesel Titanium is the pick, delivering strong performance and excellent fuel economy of 7.3 litres/100km. In a mix of mostly city driving we achieved 7.9 litres/100km.

Apart from economy, the relatively small TDCi engine is strong on performance, particularly in the mid-range from 80km/h upwards. It is a good commuter but also a relaxed long-distance tourer with plenty in reserve for overtaking. The Titanium's 2.0-litre TDCi is particularly peaky down low, so much so that it is easy to induce the traction control system in the wet as the front wheels scramble for grip.

Initially there is an ever-so-slight lag as you pull away from traffic lights but once rolling the diesel is responsive. Like all the latest-generation common rail diesel engines, it is quiet and refined at highway speeds. The Mondeo copes with Australian roads well. Even with the 18-inch alloys and low-profile rubber there is a reasonable degree of suppleness in the suspension. The Continental tyres are grippy but over coarser surfaces some road noise does find its way into the cabin.

At highway speeds there is some booming noise in the cabin but we suspect that is because of the large hatch area. Like some of its Japanese opposition, the Mondeo is an engaging drive. The steering is well weighted and direct and supplies plenty of feedback. There are no complaints about the six-speed auto either. It is silky and kicks down effortlessly when you require more urge.

Inside, the superb leather and alcantara heated front seats do a great job in the comfort stakes and there is plenty of leg and headroom in the back. The boot is huge enough to challenge the Falcon, particularly with the 60/40 split rear seats folded. The cabin presentation is top-class too. The faux alloy and piano black mix of trim gives the cabin a classy look and the mostly soft-touch plastic trim is on-par with the best out of Japan.

However, some of the cartoon-style colour graphics in the centre cluster - Ford calls it the human machine interface - are not as polished as the Germans. They are however, intuitive and easy to master using the steering wheel mounted controls.

The Titanium's parking sensors come in handy because the hatch's swoopy silhouette makes it difficult to judge the car's extremities from the driver's seat. The directional lights are also an unexpected bonus, providing a good spread of low beam light as they swivel through 15 degrees around corners.

For those buyers who want wagon-levels of load capacity the Mondeo will not disappoint. There is absolutely no reason it cannot grab sales from the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Honda Accord Euro. By reorganising the range and adding the Titanium, Ford may finally have a better chance of weaning buyers off the Japanese and Korean fare. It has the right gear and something the others so obviously lack - European cachet. And there’s just enough bling to make it worthwhile.

Verdict: 78/100


Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi
Price: from $45,990 (2.0-litre TDCi)
Engines: 2.0-litre turbodiesel,
Power: 103kW @ 4000rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1750-2240rpm
Transmission: Six-speed sequential automatic
Economy: 7.3 litres/100km combined
Emisssions: 193g/km
Rivals
Mazda6 Diesel Sport 76/100 (from $44,840)
Honda Accord Euro 79/100 (from $34,990)
Toyota Camry 75/100 (from $29,990)
Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI auto 74/100 (from $39,915)

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 14 comments

  • I have been issued a 2011 MC Mondeo Titanium TDCi hatch as a company car. Quite impressed. Well appointed, great performance, extremely comprehensive safety features (just love the adaptive cruise control) and with all that still impressive fuel economy to boot.

    Ed Napiorkowski of Sydney Posted on 30 October 2011 8:36pm
  • I have just purchased a Mondeo, wow, it is by far the best car to own! I love driving it, the TDCI motor is a gem, all the goodies make it a joy and it is roomy and comfortable. Well done Ford!

    Peter of Rutherford Posted on 03 September 2011 7:56pm
  • A recent purchaser of the TDCI Hatch I am impressed with it’s features and great drive. The auto gear box is not smooth in it’s down changes and the motor is noisy at idle but fantastic on the road.Overall it is one of my best car purchases. Ford’s promotion of this car needs to improve. It has more features than the Mazda 6 and hold’s it’s own most company. Definitely recommend it.

    Roger of Brisbane Posted on 10 February 2010 10:46pm
  • There is alot to love about this car! I am still amazed at being able to drive 900 to 1200 kms before refuelling. The adaptive cruise control is brilliant on the freeways. Heaps of space - my road bike fits in the back with both wheels still attached.

    Chris Bunney of South Yarra, Victoria Posted on 29 January 2010 3:27pm
  • Unadvertised, but the car has LEFT & RIGHT parklights that operate vis;
    -  Engine off
    -  Indicator UP = Driver side front and rear parklights only.
    -  Indicator DOWN = Passenger side front and rear parklights only. 
    Saves battery drain!  A regulatory German feature now being adopted into the world UNECE (vehicle construction) Regs.

    The straps one sees in the boot stowage area are in EU trim used to secure the mandatory genuine Ford Australia Hazard-Warning Triangle and First Aid kit. 

    See the FORD AUS Mondeo website>> Accessories and choose “SAFETY & SECURITY” for the items.

    The mentioned fire extinguisher also recommended.

    Reference to ‘foglights’ in this article, is for both front and rear - that EU makes include now on all its vehicle exports.

    Keepleft of Lake Macquarie, NSW Posted on 11 January 2010 7:35pm
  • Although I don’t own the Titanium, I do own the six speed auto Zetec TDCi hatch and I could not be happier with it. It’s effortless to drive, smooth as silk gear changes, front and rear parking sensors, MASSIVE hatch space and extra features are excellent, however the real BONUS is the fuel consumption, I am getting almost 1200kms out of the 70ltr tank with air con on. The only thing I can fault is the road noise, but I put that down to the bridgestone tyres.  Big thumbs up from me!

    Sal of Sydney Posted on 30 December 2009 11:38am
  • Interested to see the comments:I have just taken delivery 2 days ago of a Titanium ‘09 Mondeo and am thrilled as this is a thinking drivers car, with enough ‘bling’ to stand out from the horde and lots of well sorted gear. The review is accurate but doesn’t give enough credit for driving the car at night being an unreal sensation.
    Don’t use the outside button- use the keyless entry provided it’s simpler.
    Top marks Ford and Mondeo.
    AM Sydney

    Alister Moultrie of Sydney, NSW Posted on 24 December 2009 4:40pm
  • I have owned the TDCI since it arrived in Oz. My first ever FORD. It is the best car I have ever owned in all respects. The only other cars I will ever own now will be the later model Mondeos as they come along. Well done FORD. The German engineering shows and it is far better value for money than a BMW,Merc,Audi,VW etc… which are all over priced (and driven by the cops in UK!!!)

    Rob Hore of Forster Posted on 24 December 2009 2:45pm
  • I have owned the new Mondeo since 08 and have had no issues at all. It drives well economy is brilliant one of the best handling cars I have driven. Not sure what the idiot FlixSwiss is on obviously has no idea about cars. The only disappointment is FORD motor company decided not to have the 2.5l turbo in an Auto just only the manual.

    IP of Sydney Posted on 13 December 2009 5:35pm
  • As an owner of a base model 1996 Mondeo , i would definitely consider upgrading another base model version in diesal of course- forget the bells and whistles - just too much weight when it comes to drag racing the Accord Euro (not to mention the uneconomical SIDI Sports Wagons).

    vk Posted on 22 November 2009 7:21pm
  • i love my new mondeo titanium but having trouble working out the key-less entry. front doors have a small button on outside handles which appears to work instead of those on the remote but so far we are getting random responses when using them. sometimes the back doors only will open, sometimes all doors, sometimes none! ??? can anyone help??

    dganzer of WA Posted on 19 November 2009 6:59pm
  • What an idiot Flix must be. I have owned driven many cars from all over the world, from Mercedes and BMW’s to Chevolets and Cadillacs, Toyotas and Nissans, just to name a very small selection, and I can honestly say, without a single doubt, that this new Ford Mondeo is one of the very best cars I have ever owned and driven!
    I’m not sure what he means by “a real car” but I would strongly suggest he stops being an armchair critic, and actually go and drive one of the most pleasureable cars on the road, the new Ford Mondeo!

    DJCraig of Sydney Posted on 29 October 2009 12:42am
  • to Flix Swisse
    This is a German Ford with a French driveline, absolutly nothing to do with the Austalian product

    Horst Schiff Posted on 09 October 2009 12:05am
  • 45 grand for a FORD? Spend a little more and get a real car something that works and is not more time in the workshop than on the road.
    Remember, Fix Or Repair Daily !!!

    FlixSwisse Posted on 09 September 2009 1:15am
Read all 14 comments

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