THE Ford range is constantly being improved and up-graded and as I write the very stylish new Ford Focus is soon to be launched here. The Mondeo has been around in its present guise for quite some time but has aged well.
Road tested by Hugh Maguire
However, it did need a little freshen-up to keep pace with rivals such as the revised VW Passat amongst others. Indeed I am just back from Spain where I tested the all-new Peugeot 508, the replacement to the ageing 407, and I must confess Peugeot now have a car to rival the best in this class, so the latest Mondeo needs to be good if it is to hold its own in such excellent company.
Mondeo remains a strong seller and now Ford the 2011 model year car gets some extra specification and some minor cosmetic up-grades, all in an effort to keep pace with the newer competition. The Mondeo range is very comprehensive with a huge choice of engines, and body-styles. The car on test this week is the Mondeo 2.0 TDCi in Titanium specification. Prices for the new Mondeo range kick-off at just €26,475.
The revised front and rear give the car a more contemporary fresher style. The new look is crisp, reflecting Ford’s “new edge” design philosophy. Interestingly the Mondeo has not dated too badly despite being around for a few years now. The front grille is changed slightly as are the front and rear taillights. Alloy wheels, front fog lights and metallic paint also help jazz it up a bit.
Behind the Wheel
The big solid door handles open the doors to a cabin that is both inviting and contemporary in its design. The dashboard has simple to use push-button switches, an integrated stereo system with MP3 compatible in dash 6-stack CD player with steering wheel mounted remote controls. An aux port is provided for your iPod. It all feels very well put together and almost echoes that Teutonic feel you get from an Audi or BMW. The list of standard specification is very good and includes fully automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, Voice control activation, cruise control, half leather upholstery, remote locking, auto lights, auto wipers, four electric windows, leather trimmed steering wheel, and the previously mentioned alloys, front fogs and metallic paint. New LED type interior lights bathe the cabin in a sophisticated lighting effect. Safety features include, dual stage front airbags, inflatable side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, chest protecting side airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, ISO Fix child seat mounts and a collapsible pedal structure. There are many, many more detailed engineering items, which combine to make the Mondeo one of the safest cars in its class.
The latest generation Ford Duratorq turbo diesel engines really are very good indeed. My test car was powered by the 140 bhp 2.0 litre TDCi engine mated to a very smooth 6-speed manual gearbox. These Duratorq engines offer a more efficient fuel burn, lower noise levels and reduced emissions. In fact these new common rail diesel engines produce 20% less carbon dioxide than an equivalent petrol engine.
This engine also uses two stage injection with fuel injected in smaller amounts and more precisely than before resulting in the aforementioned improvements in economy and performance. The engine proves quite refined though there is still some diesel clatter at idle.
Over my 680 kilometers behind the wheel of the 2011 model Mondeo TDCi I continued to be surprised at how lively and indeed quiet this car proved to be. According to the on-board trip computer the car burned on average just 7.5 litres per 100km. Performance is excellent with bags of low speed torque and effortless motorway cruising. Furthermore emissions of just 139g/km put it into band B for road tax purposes.
We all know that Ford’s chassis engineers can make cars handle well at the limit – the new Mondeo is no different. But huge effort went into making the Mondeo “feel good” on the road even when driven under less exacting conditions. No matter how hard I pushed it the Mondeo always remained composed. Noise levels are very well suppressed and refinement is high. The steering is nicely weighted, the suspension soaks up road imperfections with aplomb and the engine is responsive. The large cabin is bright and roomy – and I enjoyed driving it. One other note worthy of mention is that all new Mondeos come with a full size spare wheel unlike many rivals, a must in my opinion for Irish road conditions.
Overall then once again Ford have tweaked and further refined the already excellent Mondeo. It’s closer to an Audi in terms of quality, yet drives with the responsiveness of a quality saloon. The latest diesel engines are a revelation in terms of their refinement, economy and performance. The Mondeo is still regarded by many to be the benchmark car in this segment. In my opinion it still is! The latest Mondeo is still well able to compete with its rivals in this sector. In terms of driving dynamics Mondeo continues to be the car to beat, in that area at least they still have the edge. The Mondeo 2.0 140 bhp TDCI Titanium costs €33,075.