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Ford Mondeo 2015 review

With the upcoming departure of the Ford Falcon the latest, fourth generation, version of the marginally smaller Mondeo, launched in Australia in April this year, takes on more importance than ever before.

When Mondeo first arrived on the scene in 1992 it was marketed as the "world car" – hence the name, its French for world.

Despite its success overseas, the dominance of the Falcon in Australia, and the fact that it didn't come here until 1995, meant that Mondeo was never going to be more than a bit player. Indeed it dropped out of the local market altogether between 1999 before returning with greater success in 2007.

Models

Bucking the current trend towards SUVs all Mondeo models are available with a station wagon body as well as a hatchback, but no sedan and no plans to bring one in post-Falcon.

There are three variants: Ambiente (from $32,790), Trend (from $37,340), and Titanium (from $44,290).

The Titanium wagon is diesel-only powered, the others come with the choice of either petrol or diesel.

The only option is prestige paint, at $450, with all models.

Design

Mondeo hatch has the same coupe-like styling that Mercedes pioneered with its CLS-Class. It works well with the Benz and equally so with the big Ford – at a third of the price. The Mondeo wagon gets a similar treatment.

The front of the Gen 4 Mondeo was been given a bigger grille than the previous model, with a honeycomb fill and daytime running lights that combine with the flowing profile to produce an eye-catching sporty looking car.

Each variant gets different sized alloy wheels from 16- to 18-inch.

Engines / Transmissions

Mondeo comes with the choice of two turbocharged engines, one petrol and one diesel. The petrol, from the EcoBoost family, has two different levels of tune, 149kW and 345Nm in the entry-level Ambiente model and 177kW, but the same 345Nm, in the higher-specced Trend and Titanium.

The Duratorq diesel has less power (132kW) but more torque (400Nm) with a peak from 2000 to 2500 rpm.

All models use a six-speed automatic transmission with the added feature of paddle-shift manual overrides.

Features

Our test car was the Titanium hatch with the fixed glass roof which is likely to affect the available front headroom for taller drivers. We found it necessary to drop the driver's seat height to its lower limit, not something that we prefer although it did add to the car's semi-sporty feel. Otherwise interior space is good with plenty of rear legroom and acceptable headroom. The Titanium wagon gets a powered opening sunroof.

There are excellent storage options including a large and deep alcove at the base of the front console that is ideal for keeping items like phone and wallet away from prying eyes. The drink holders are large and supportive while the USB, Aux and SD card sockets are at the bottom of the centre console box.

The Mondeo's hatch door is huge and opens wide

Mondeo uses the Ford SYNC2 system displayed on an 8-inch colour touchscreen to control the various multimedia features including satellite navigation which is standard across the range. There's a fair bit of learning involved in SYNC2, which can be frustrating for the occasional driver but owners should adapt quickly and get the maximum benefit from its many advanced features.

The Mondeo's hatch door is huge and opens wide to provide easy access to the 557 litres of storage space, or 1600 litres with the rear seatbacks folded. The size of the hatch door means shorter people may struggle to reach up and pull it closed. The problem is avoided in the Titanium courtesy of a powered door which opens via a smart-key button and closes by pressing a button at the bottom of the hatch door.

Safety

It's always reassuring when car companies introduce new safety features to their vehicles and Ford has added another with the 2015 Mondeo. All models now come with inflatable seatbelts on the two outer rear seats that combine the benefits of a normal seatbelt with those of an airbag. When crash sensors detect an accident cold compressed gas is forced out of a cylinder housed below the rear seat, through the buckle and along the length of the lower side of the seatbelt in less than 40 milliseconds.

All models also get seven conventional airbags including a driver's knee airbag; ABS brakes; Electronic Stability Control; Trailer Sway Control; Hill Launch Assist; rear parking sensors; and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.

There's also the Ford MyKey system that allows owners to program various restrictions into the car's computer to limit top speed, disable the audio system until all seatbelts have been fastened and then set a maximum audio volume. It also prevents the stability control system from being deactivated.

All a bit Big Brother-ish (the Orwell one) but anything that might help reduce the high casualty rate among 17 to 25 year olds should be encouraged.

Mondeo Trend models add Lane Departure Warning; Driver Impairment Monitor; and a reversing camera.

The flagship Titanium also gets powered steering wheel adjustment; LED headlights and daytime running lights; blind spot monitoring and park Enhanced Active Park Assist which aids with both parallel and perpendicular parking.

Driving

Our first impression was of a car with a solid feel to the body, usually a good omen for a long life.

Mondeo's European breeding (it now comes from Spain instead of Belgium) is evident in the car's excellent driving dynamics. Steering is firm and precise and the suspension provides an ideal balance between comfort and driving feel. Even a number of unexpected potholes opened up by recent heavy rain along our standard drive route inland from the NSW Central Coast didn't cause any problems.

The time is rapidly approaching for Mondeo to take its place at the top

The diesel engine is smooth and refined with plenty of grunt for safe overtaking and easy hill-climbing. We got a reading of 7.3L/100km with fairly enthusiastic driving during our test and would be confident of getting down well into the sixes although we'd struggle to match the listed 5.1L/100km.

Rear vision is poor with the small rear window combining with the sloping roofline to seriously restrict visibility although that is partially offset by large side mirrors.

Verdict

After many years as the bridesmaid to the Falcon bride in Ford's family passenger car lineup, and with no alternative replacement looking likely, the time is rapidly approaching for Mondeo to take its place at the top.

With its smooth styling, spacious interior and general good looks it should attract plenty of attention from the daily commuter or family buyer, as well as for its performance from the keen driver.

Pricing Guides

$17,970
Based on 112 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$10,960
Highest Price
$29,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Ambiente 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $11,535 – 19,999 2015 Ford Mondeo 2015 Ambiente Pricing and Specs
Ambiente TDCi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $10,960 – 22,990 2015 Ford Mondeo 2015 Ambiente TDCi Pricing and Specs
LX 2.3L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,890 – 14,850 2015 Ford Mondeo 2015 LX Pricing and Specs
LX TDCi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $12,540 – 16,720 2015 Ford Mondeo 2015 LX TDCi Pricing and Specs