Mazda 6 GT wagon 2017 review
Not all wagons are created equal, and if it's cargo space you're craving, some do it better than others. The question is, where does the Mazda6 GT wagon sit in the pecking order?
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The relentless march of SUVs continues to roll across the Australian landscape, like a plague of white walkers in high-riding wagons. But what if there was an alternative? What if there was something that didn't look exactly like the vehicles sitting in your neighbours' driveway (on both sides)? And what if it actually drove better… and performed better at the pump?
|Ford Mondeo 2018: Ambiente|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
It's worth taking another look at the Mondeo if you haven’t seen it for a while. It's certainly sharpened up over the years, and now, in isolation, presents incredibly well in an increasingly stylised carpark of mid-size machines.
The angular nose and the sedate sweep over the roof really gives the Mondeo presence, while the company’s prominent grille works very well on this larger car. The relatively low ride height sits right down over the decently-sized 19-inch rims, and they manage to fill the guards nicely.
The car’s waistline isn’t too high to preclude vision out of the car, but still gives the Mondeo a hunkered-down, purposeful stance.
Inside the car, the line blurs between subtle and underdone. There's a host of nice materials used throughout, including grille vents, a leather steering wheel and surround, along with flat grey plastic surrounds for the centre console.
While it's not as premium as some of its European rivals, there is a subtlety and a tactility in the Mondeo that actually eclipses most of its own stablemates. It's a calm, comfortable place to be and you’re in no doubt that this car is a bit above where you might expect it to be.
Even though it's classed as a medium-sized car, there's certainly an air of large about the Mondeo, especially in the interior. The seats are large and quite soft, but still supportive over a longer drive, although the squabs in the front could stand to be a little bit longer.
Two cupholders reside side by side up front, while a large and overly-deep area under the dash could actually swallow your arm should you drop your phone into it. There are dual pockets for bottles on each side, but they are not divided, so items can rattle around if unrestrained.
Rear-seat proportions are good, with taller teen-aged passengers not complaining one bit about legroom in the back, although the full length sunroof (standard in the Titanium grade) steals away a not-inconsiderable 46mm of headroom from back-seaters. There are also two cupholders in the centre console, along with bottle holders in the door pockets, while bubs can be strapped in via a pair of ISOFIX mounts on the outside rears.
As mentioned, the rear cargo area offers a number of extras that help to secure luggage when required. When you drop the seats, it's quite possible to get the larger-than-usual rear belts caught if you're not paying attention. It's only a small thing, but it's definitely one to watch out for.
There's a 220-volt power point and a 12-volt adapter in the rear passenger area, as well. The rear doors don't take huge bottles, but they're certainly capable of taking a regular 600ml run-of-the-mill bottle. The centre armrest also has a small bin to hide valuables like Barbies, Matchbox cars and other important items.
With the seats up, Ford says it’ll take 730 litres of luggage when stacked to the roof (most other makers measure capacity to the window line). Plonk the seats down – no tricky levers in the back of the car, sadly – and it yields 1605 litres of total space (again, to the roof).
Visibility around the car is quite good, although the A-pillars are thick and it's possible to lose sight of pedestrians or cyclists when turning corners. Equipment level is excellent with easy-to-use satellite navigation - and a big tick for having a voice control system that actually recognises voice commands.
However, we couldn't really get the reverse parking function to work as easily as we can on rival products. It just didn't want to find a spot, and then, once a spot was found, it didn't want to help us reverse back into it. It may have been operator error, but after about six or seven tries, we eventually gave up and did it the old-fashioned way.
The sunroof in our test model stole away headroom (a noticeable 46mm in the rear and a less obvious 44mm up front), while the opaque cover was thankfully thick enough not to transmit a lot of light and heat back into the car.
For a shade under $50,000, it's possible to get a competent, quick and quiet wagon with pretty much every on-board feature you'll need or want. It goes up against cars like the the Mazda6 Atenza diesel wagon, Skoda's Octavia 135TDI diesel wagon, (and even the larger Superb 140TDI diesel), as well as Volkswagen's Passat 140TDI oiler. Hyundai’s i40 Premium diesel wagon is in the mix, too.
Inclusions for this range-topping Titanium are plentiful, and include Ford’s 'Sync 3' multimedia system (with touchscreen and satellite navigation as standard), automatic lights and wipers, automatic parking, automatic tailgate, folding electric mirrors, heated front and rear seats, airbag belts for the rear seats, and leather trim throughout.
The Mondeo Titanium is also not shy on including a few extras. The tailgate area, for example, has aluminium runners designed to use modular dividers. An aluminium fence is provided with the car and enables you to store small bags and boxes in the larger area without them rattling around. It has to make do with a space saver underneath the floor, though.
Ford’s direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine is used across the brand’s various ranges, and makes 132kW and a healthy 400Nm in this guise.
It makes about 36kW less power but 15Nm more torque than the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol Titanium, but gets better economy and can tow 400kg more, with a maximum capacity of 1600kg of braked trailer imposed by Ford.
It’s not as smooth and silent as more modern diesels, with clatter and grumble evident at start-up and idle, but it quietens down nicely once it gets going.
The Mondeo uses a wet-clutch version of Ford’s dual-clutch transmission; the dry-clutch version is the one that’s giving the company a lot of trouble, but the gearbox worked very well in this iteration. In fact, it was closer in behaviour to a regular torque-converting auto than it was a dual-clutcher, such was the quality of the change and the lack of hesitation when forced to pick between a lower or higher gear at short notice.
Over (weirdly exactly) 300km of testing, we recorded a dash-indicated figure of 7.6 litres per 100km, against a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 5.3L/100km.
A 62-litre fuel tank gives the Mondeo wagon a theoretical range of 1170km.
With its diesel engine and front-wheel drive powertrain, the Mondeo is not as quiet and refined as a petrol version, but on the whole, it's a quiet, smooth, calm and comfortable experience aboard the car.
Noise suppression into the cabin is well-contained and the ride is excellent, even given its heavier powertrain. The ride and handling of the Mondeo is actually one of its strong suits. There's no brittleness to the ride, even though it has quite a firm platform, while the steering is well weighted and feelsome. The Titanium is fitted with adaptive dampers, but the difference between comfort and sport mode ride wasn’t especially obvious.
About the only point we can criticise is the long travel on the throttle when trying to get away from rest. It takes a little moment for the car to gather itself and get going, while plonking the tranny into sport mode makes the shifts too fussy and sharp. It actually takes some getting used to overcome that initial lag off the line.
3 years / 100,000 km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The top-of-the-line Titanium Mondeo offers the full gamut of driver aids, including AEB, adaptive cruise control, lane departure, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and even airbags in the rear seatbelt sash straps. It scores a well-deserved maximum five-star ANCAP rating.
Thankfully, you can adjust the sensitivity of the forward collision alert system. In its most sensitive mode, it is quite intrusive and very annoying. Luckily, you can turn it down to save your sanity.
Ford offers a three-year/100,000km warranty standard with the Mondeo, with suggested service intervals of 12 months or 15,000km, whichever arrives first.
Ford’s fixed price service program shows a $415 cost for the first service at one year or 15,000km, the same for the second and third, $865 for the fourth at 60,000km before dropping back to $415 each for the fifth and sixth.
The only thing wrong with a car like the Mondeo is that it’s not sitting up 15mm higher, doesn’t have black plastic overfenders and doesn’t purport to be an SUV.
Other than that, if you’re looking for well-equipped, handsome transport that will cover big kilometres standing on one leg, the Mondeo – despite being a little dearer than some of its competition – is definitely worth adding to the shopping list.
|Ambiente||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||No recent listings||2018 FORD MONDEO 2018 Ambiente Pricing and Specs|
|AMBIENTE (5 YR)||2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$24,310 – 30,030||2018 FORD MONDEO 2018 AMBIENTE (5 YR) Pricing and Specs|
|Ambiente TDCi||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$26,400 – 32,560||2018 FORD MONDEO 2018 Ambiente TDCi Pricing and Specs|
|AMBIENTE TDCi (5 YR)||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$27,940 – 33,660||2018 FORD MONDEO 2018 AMBIENTE TDCi (5 YR) Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||8|