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Ford Mondeo 2007 review

Time changes everything in the car business.

The latest example is the Ford Mondeo, withdrawn from sales here in 2000 when company president Tom Gorman said it was important to concentrate on volume sellers, not “rats and mice”.

Now the rat is back as a far different creature from the dowdy mid-sizer that failed at its first try here in the days when Ford was the Falcon motor company.

Gorman now says the move away from big cars and the boom in small and medium-car sales makes the Mondeo a must.

“The growth in this mid-size segment, the growth in four-cylinders, has been significant and we had to respond to that,” he says.

“If that hadn't happened, if oil prices hadn't moved and petrol prices hadn't moved correspondingly, I don't think we would have been in the position to say we can make good solid business sense of this.”

Ford is making a conservative sales forecast of 500 Mondeo deliveries a month, with a sedan and hatch priced from $29,990.

But that could easily be beaten.

“Nearly everything in the Mondeo's segment, except (sales leader) Camry, is doing low volume,” he says.

“But if you look at Toyota's numbers, they're making the numbers by flogging rental cars. If you look at what they do with Corolla and Camry, and even Aurion, it's a ton of rental cars."

“We're trying to get into a better space and get more private buyers.”

The European-built Mondeo has plenty of cabin space, a good spread of powertrains including a diesel, generous equipment, a strategic price that should avoid the pitfall that undermined Holden's Vectra, which shoppers saw as being too close in price to the Commodore; and fantastic looks.

The four models start with the $29,990 sedan-only LX. It has a 118kW/208Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder Duratech engine mated to a six-speed automatic with sport and simulated manual modes.

And it has an impressive safety kit, including stability control, traction assist to stop the wheels spinning on take-off, and anti-skid brakes with emergency brake assist and brakeforce distribution.

In case of a crash, it has seven airbags, twin front, side, full-length curtain and driver's knee and retracting pedals.

Available across the range is a clever 'Human Machine Interface' or, in other words, extra information controls on the steering wheel. It also has a cap-less fuel filler, MP3 jack on the audio, and lumbar adjustment for the driver. But you wind the back windows by hand and the wheels are 16-inch steel.

The $34,990 Zetec gets the same powertrain as a sedan and hatch, but picks up power to the rear windows and adds some body trim, 17-inch alloy wheels (with a steel spare) foglamps, dual-zone climate-controlled airconditioning, cruise nanny, driver-height adjustment, premium six-stack audio, touches of leather, cruise control and parking sensors.

Another $3000 buys the TDCi with the same body choices and equipment list, but with the auto box joined to a 96kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

Topping the range is the $41,990 XR5 Turbo sedan with a six-speed manual and the same Volvo-sourced 2.5-litre Duratech five-cylinder used in the Focus XR5, though detuned by 4kW to 162kW and 320Nm.

The XR5 gets everything from the Zetec/TDCi level, plus 18-inch alloys, alcantara and leather upholstery, heated front seats with more adjustment, ambient lighting, sportier body kit, lowered suspension, push-button start and a 15cm colour screen in the instrument cluster.

Options include a $450 Bluetooth voice control that allows you to play with the phone, radio, airconditioning and audio system, though the female voice is firm in not allowing any shades of meaning in the commands.

Ford says both petrol engines post fuel figures of 9.5 litres for 100km and the diesel comes in at 7.3.


On the road

The Mondeo is close to the Falcon in interior size and feel; and the cabin design makes a successful stab at quality and attractiveness levels that could appeal to premium buyers.

However, there are some annoyances, like a dash-top vent that reflects noticeably on to the windscreen and a couple of plastic accents that stumble between sporty and tacky.

But there is no mistaking the excellent build and solidity.

And the Mondeo feels like it might be breaking out of the mid-size segment as far as road behaviour is concerned.

The broad footprint adds balance that helps blot out some of the downsides of other front-wheel drives; the car feels nicely balanced and poised, and the steering sharp and well-weighted.

The smaller petrol engine is a reasonably smart performer, but can be a little lacklustre if left to snooze with the transmission in full auto.

Thankfully, the Sport auto mode produces such a noticeable change in response that the quick-shifting simulated manual gate is almost superfluous unless you want to play during a bit of cornering.

Keen drivers will choose the XR5 with its flat spread of torque and tauter suspension and the nicely defined feel of the manual shift.

However, the TDCi is the pick of the Mondeo powertrains and its slightly agricultural start-up sound is soon forgotten as you tap into the strong reserves of torque.

Ford expects the Zetec to be the main seller, with 50 per cent of Australian deliveries, followed by the TDCi and LX, 20 per cent each, and the XR5, with the remaining 10.


Inside view

Ford Mondeo

Prices: from $29,990 (LX sedan) to $41,990 (XR5 hatch)

Body: Four-door sedan and five-door hatch

Engines: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel; 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol; 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol

Power: 96kW (2.0); 118kW (2.3); 162kW (2.5)

Torque: 320Nm (2.0); 208Nm (2.3); 320Nm (2.5)

Transmissions: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual (2.5 only)


Pricing guides

Based on 18 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

TDCi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $5,990 – 6,990 2007 Ford Mondeo 2007 TDCi Pricing and Specs
XR5 Turbo 2.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $5,100 – 7,920 2007 Ford Mondeo 2007 XR5 Turbo Pricing and Specs
Zetec 2.3L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,985 – 6,980 2007 Ford Mondeo 2007 Zetec Pricing and Specs
LX 2.3L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $3,990 – 6,999 2007 Ford Mondeo 2007 LX Pricing and Specs