Ford Mondeo Titanium large mid-sizer is capable but underrated.
With an all new Ford Mondeo due in the not-too-distant future, the current and outgoing versions is put under the microscope. The range kicks off with base spec LX hatch with a 2.3 petrol donk (think previous generation Mazda6) with a conventional six speed automatic can now be had for a run out price of $29,990. The car tested is a TDCi (turbo diesel) liftback in range topping Titanium spec. Ford’s current Belgian built mid-sizer suggests the new model has some very big shoes to fill.
What we like:
Styling, interior quality, fit and finish, comfort, technology, safety equipment, handling and fuel economy
Not so much:
Lack of reversing camera, audio system, tyre roar and space saver spare tyre.
Price and Value
Ford has managed to cram a huge array of technology into the car. Standard features on the Titanium include: dual zone climate control, automatic speed sensitive wipers, cornering headlights, high beam assist, voice control, key less start, speed alert, Bluetooth handsfree and mp3 playback and front and rear parking sensors. Not to mention LED driving lights, 18 inch wheels, sports suspension and a subtle body kit for $46,990. What is most bizarre, however, is the absence of a factory fitted reversing camera. Yes, Ford will retro fit you a camera and sat nav system for $950. But at this end of the market and for the car’s list price, both features should be fitted as standard.
Jump inside, and interior is formed from some wonderfully tactile and high quality materials. Grey and black are the dominating hues, with titanium inspired accents splashed across the door trims and centre console.
It’s not quite Audi, but the overall ambience is relatively premium and it signifies that Ford definitely has the compact Germans in its sights in this wedge of the market. The manually adjustable and heated (front) leather and alcantara swathed seats are firm, yet very comfortable and provide excellent under thigh support.
The instrumentation is clean and easy to read and the large LCD screen, the face of Ford’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) is between the gauges and displays vital information including fuel level and consumption as well trip computer data. The computer system is largely controlled by buttons emblazoned on the steering wheel.
The head unit also looks a bit cheap and naff and is complex to use. The quality of the Sony stereo it controls is appalling. It’s sorely lacking on both sound quality and power. An amplifier and the odd subwoofer would be most welcome additions.
Happily, the voice activation system -which gives the impression Margaret Thatcher is living between the dashboard and firewall- controls all the primary functions for the audio, phone and dual zone climate control so there is hardly ever a need for the driver to take their hands off the wheel.
Storage hasn’t been neglected either, with four cup holders, decent size door bins, a large double tiered centre console and surprisingly deep glove box.
Around the back, the enormous boot is 816 litres in capacity with the rear seat backrests upright and can extend to 1919 litres with the seats folded. The load floor is at a convenient height and does away with the need for any awkward bending. The hatch too opens high enough for the tallest of users to avoid banging their heads.
Unfortunately, as big as the boot may be, it only houses an increasingly popular space-saver spare tyre. A full size spare would have been preferable, especially in areas where tyre shops may be few and far between. Still, a space-saver is better than the can of goo some manufacturers have been supplying as of late.
Overall, interior packaging and space are exceptional.
Engine and Transmission
The car tested features the optional 2.0 litre “Duratorq” turbo diesel and it sips a commendable 7.7l/100km on combined cycle fuel economy and squeezes a range of around 850 kilometres to its 70 litre tank. The performance served up by this power plant, which delivers [email protected] and [email protected] isn’t going to set your pants on fire and it’s not Golf GTD quick, but everyday acceleration is more than acceptable and it never feels short of breath, especially whilst overtaking.
Is there diesel clatter? Well, yes. Despite its performance credentials it’s not the most refined unit on the market and at idle there is no mistaking this car for its EcoBoost
The engine also feels strong with three or four adults on board, with the automatic transmission rarely having to hunt for gears unnecessarily to improve progress.
Speaking of transmissions, the engine is mated to Ford’s “PowerShift” dual clutch automatic transmission which largely behaves in a smooth an unruffled manner and almost flawlessly indentifying the correct gear at the appropriate time.
Ride and Handling
Ford has become renowned for cars that deliver a satisfying driving experience and the Mondeo upholds this tradition. The handling is sure footed thanks to Ford’s “Control Blade” independent rear suspension.
A compromise of such handling prowess is the ride. Although never brittle or downright uncomfortable, it can transmit a few too imperfections from less than silky smooth roads into the cabin. Likewise, the 18inch rims shod with Potenza rubber are grippy and make the car fun to hustle through corners but they can generate quite a racket over coarsechip surfaces.
However, both ride and tyre roar are more than acceptable on most forms of blacktop and the overall driving experience is more Mustang than Maybach.
The steering is direct and communicative, always giving the driver accurate information as to where the front wheels are pointing at any given time all through a chunky leather wrapped steering wheel.
As communicative as it may be, the steering can be a little too heavy at times, although it does feel light enough in tight parking situations. This may be down to the 11.45 metre turning circle, which is considerably smaller than that of some rivals.
Safety and Servicing
With a 5 star ANCAP rating across the range, the big Belgian provides its occupants with a plethora of active and passive features.
The Titanium tested here is fitted with eight airbags-including a driver’s knee airbag, lane departure and blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution and clever collision mitigation technology designed to prevent rear end shunts. Much of this equipment is scarcely seen in cars in this price so it definitely gives the Mondeo a competitive advantage. But, as aforementioned, the lack of reversing camera is a glaring omission.
Maintenance will not break the bank thanks to Ford’s “myFord” capped price servicing program. The manufacturer aims to inspire owner confidence by publishing servicing costs online, offering 12 month or 15,000 kilometre service intervals and 12 months roadside assist on work carried out by Ford dealers. The capped price program is for the first seven years of the vehicle’s life or 105,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
As per the rest of Ford’s range, the Mondeo is covered by a three year/100,000 kilometre warranty. A guarantee which is falling off the pace in compared to warranties offered by competitors. Toyota and Mitsubishi spring to mind here.
Ford Mondeo Titanium Specs
Make and model: Ford Mondeo Titanium TDCi
Engine type: 2.0 litre, turbo diesel four cylinder
Power: 120kW @ 4000rpm Torque: [email protected] to 2500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic
Fuel consumption: 7.7L/100km combined cycle
Dimensions: 4778mm long, 2078mm wide, 1500mm high and 2850mm wheelbase
Weight: 1638kg Suspension: Independent MacPherson struts, front, Independent Control Blade multi-link system, rear