The last Ford Mondeo was a capable beast that never really inspired passion in a segment that needed something fresh and new to overthrow the one or two dominant veterans.
The new Mondeo certainly arrives with style and flair, but is it enough to topple the segment leaders?
In the past, Ford has fought to attract new customers; people who had never bought a Ford before. That has mostly changed, with new customers discovering the blue oval brand’s new line up is no longer anchored by the combination of the Falcon and Territory, thanks to the focus of the OneFord strategy to field just one model in each vehicle segment.
That means the Mondeo slots into the line up as Ford’s medium car, competing in a tight race for business buyers who need reliable, versatile company cars as well as families looking for a spacious vehicle that fits into their budget and lifestyle.
Looking at the Mondeo, it’s clear that Ford’s styling team have gone upmarket for their inspiration. It’s certainly positioning itself with a premium look above its competitors.
The hatch is all slick lines and low profile, with Ford’s now signature trapezoidal grille creating an imposing, but elegant front profile. This grille turns into an active shutter on diesel models to improve fuel efficiency and reduce drag on the car. The wagons add increased cargo space, while still keeping a lowered profile that makes "station wagon" not such a dirty word.
Inside, the Mondeo goes for a pretty clean, modern look (including a floating centre console) without going too far left of centre – everything is where it should be, there’s no surprise button locations. One drawback would be the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) physical buttons on the Trend models, which are a little bunched up – although the touchscreen climate controls are thankfully easy to use. The physical buttons are better spaced on the Titanium models, thanks to the rejig of the centre console to accommodate the premium Sony audio system.
Built in Spain, the new Mondeo is well put together, no rattles or squeaks and there’s an overall feeling that you’re getting a quality product for your cash. Given that the upper-spec Titanium models can set you back up to and over $50,000, the work put into the cabin is especially appreciated on the entry Ambiente and mid-range Trend models.
Our Mondeo Trend hatch features Ford’s EcoBoost 2.0L engine, which is tuned for more power over the unit that powers entry-level Ambiente models.
Power delivery from the engine mated to the six-speed PowerShift automatic is so smooth, with no harsh engine note, or hesitation in gear changes. You can shift gears yourself with paddle shifters, but there’s no real need unless you’ve got the pedal to the floor.
This is especially surprising given the heft of the Mondeo, which tips the scale at just over 1.6 tonnes in the Trend petrol, a mere 100kg lighter than it’s older Falcon cousin. Rather than make it bloated or heavy, the weight helps to give the car a secure feel on the road; you feel well planted when you’re driving in the Mondeo.
Rounding corners there’s no ungainly body roll or lurching, and at speed the steering feels precise and direct with none of the vague wandering that plagues other mid-sizers. The 17” alloys on the Trend hold the Mondeo well, and overall, it feels fit for purpose while throwing some flair into the mix.
The driver assist features are a highlight of the Mondeo, with class leading safety features for a medium car. In the Trend, you gain Active City Stop and Pre Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection to keep their eyes on the road in case you don’t.
If you are following too closely to the car in front, a red light illuminates on the dashboard under the drivers side windscreen corresponding with the sensors that show you how close you are in the instrument cluster. In addition to that, if a car suddenly brakes in front of you, and you don’t respond quickly enough the Pre Collision Assist feature will kick in to apply the brakes so you don’t rear end someone.
While the braking is appreciated, especially to apply adequate stopping power to such a heavy car, the sensors that recognise the car in front can get a little preachy with how close you follow the car in front. The red light comes on frequently, even if you think you’re a safe distance behind the car. This may be to compensate for the lack of forward visibility, where the front of the bonnet just drops off. It will definitely help adjust your driving habits, where you won’t follow so closely. In its defence, it doesn’t come on unnecessarily at low speeds, such as in stop-start city traffic where you may need to follow closer than you would at high speed.
The suspension soaks up bumps and rattles nicely, and the top tier Titanium gets the added bonus of adaptive suspension, to work even harder in the background to create a smoother ride.
In a segment built on two customer bases, bulk fleet sales and family buyers, a common theme between mid-size cars is to either head utilitarian to keep costs down for businesses or to show off how many features they can jam into a car to up the spec sheet for families (which can sometimes end up pricing it beyond the means of families.)
Luckily, the Mondeo avoids these traps by creating a well thought out interior with a good balance of standard equipment for all customers, without unnecessarily loading the interior to price the Mondeo out of reach of private buyers who can’t claim their car and running costs on their tax return.
The Trend, as the middle child of the range, sits with a comfortable spec sheet that will please most buyers – starting with the re-tuned engine for one. On the interior, there’s enough equipment to keep you happy on the drive, including Ford’s SYNC2 system standard across the range, the simplicity and enhanced connectivity over the original SYNC system is immediately noticeable thanks to the 8” colour touch screen that anchors the dash over the 4” LCD that is a feature of the original system. It’s so much clearer, so that you can avoid distractions from going through unnecessary screens.
The wi-fi connectivity, which can sync and act as a ‘hotspot’ for all your devices in the car, is especially useful when you’ve got a phone and laptop on the go. It works just as well for sending emails back to the office as it does with sharing music and movies to the iPad for the kids.
Despite being marginally smaller than the Falcon, the Mondeo can boast more cargo space – even in the hatch, thanks to the liftback that gives it a longer loading space than competitor sedans, and with the back seats folded down, you can fit a sizeable load.
Dual zone climate control works well to create a distinct temperature zone for the passengers and the driver, and the heated front seats are cosy as well as supportive on the drive (the power lumbar support doesn’t hurt either.)
The safety features have been heralded as some of the best in the Mondeo’s segment, including one of the first cars below $40,000 to offer rear inflatable seatbelts as standard to up the airbag count to nine, in addition to the front, side, drivers knee and side curtain airbags that bolster the 5-Star ANCAP safety rating. This is in addition to the driver assist technologies, electronic braking, traction and stability controls that all add up to a gold standard in safety.
The Mondeo range kicks off with the Ambiente hatch, powered by a lower output version of the 2.0L EcoBoost petrol engine for around $36,524 with the range topping Titanium hatch with the tuned up EcoBoost engine clocking in at $48,369 drive away.
These estimated drive away prices are approximate at time of writing, based on circumstances that may not apply to you, so see Motorama Ford for an exact drive away price.
Hatches are all available with the 2.0L Duratorq diesel engine, or you can go with the Wagon body style, which gives you the diesel as standard on Trend & Titanium models (Ambiente wagons feature the Ecoboost petrol as standard, but are available with the diesel for additional cost.)
Premium paint is available at additional cost, as are any Ford genuine accessories.
There’s a lot to love about the new Mondeo, and you can see that Ford has put a lot of effort into creating an executive style, mid size vehicle that can hold it’s own in a segment dominated by one or two offerings that can afford to rest on their laurels.
If you want something with a decent swag of comfort, convenience and safety features, you should put the Mondeo on the list.