FORD WITH FOUR

The Mon­deo’s ex­cel­lent new en­gine also should shine in the Fal­con

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Inside - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­guide.com.au

The Eco­Boost en­gine that will ap­pear in the Fal­con is al­ready here in the Mon­deo. Paul Gover says the Euro mid-sizer will win friends

THE fu­ture of Aus­tralia’s Fal­con is wrapped up in the lat­est Ford Mon­deo.

The key com­po­nent for the home­grown hero is the Eco­Boost four-cylin­der en­gine now do­ing im­pres­sive duty in the Mon­deo. It is headed for the Fal­con early next year.

Eco­Boost is a big global deal for Ford. It is the com­pany’s head­liner in the at­tack on fuel econ­omy and emis­sions.

It com­bines tur­bocharg­ing and high-pres­sure di­rect fuel in­jec­tion to al­low an over­all re­duc­tion in en­gine ca­pac­ity with­out no­tice­able loss of punch or out­right per­for­mance. Best of all, the ‘‘ go’’ is on-de­mand and that means econ­omy is di­rectly re­lated to how you’re driv­ing and what you’re do­ing.

The Eco­Boost Mon­deo ar­rives this month as a re­place­ment for the 2.3-litre mod­els in the mid-sized fam­ily. It is a new direc­tion for the Euro-fo­cused con­tender.

The Mon­deo has been un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated in Aus­tralia but Eco­Boost will pro­vide a point of dif­fer­ence and a show­room lure in a class that’s in­cred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive.

Cars­guide favourites range from the driver–friendly Honda Ac­cord Euro, Suzuki Kiza­shi and Mazda 6 to the great–value Skoda Oc­tavia.

And you can never for­get Toy­ota’s Camry, the blan­doid sales leader.

VALUE

Prices for the Eco­Boost Mon­deo start at $37,740, so it’s not cheap. The en­gine is fit­ted to the mid-level Zetec hatch— as well as the Ti­ta­nium ver­sion at $44,990— with loads of equip­ment and a six-speed au­to­matic gear­box. It also has plenty of class to jus­tify the bot­tom line.

In the case of the Zetec Eco­Boost, it comes with all the fruit— power steer, auto air­con, leather-wrapped wheel, punchy sound and al­loy wheels — at a price that is com­pet­i­tive with­out be­ing out­stand­ing.

You can get an Oc­tavia for less, but a mid-level Ac­cord Euro is tip­ping $40,000 and a Mazda6, sim­i­larly equipped, goes over $40,000 but has sub­stance and plenty of brag­ging rights. The Mon­deo’s ad­van­tage on price is its stan­dard six-speed auto.

TECH­NOL­OGY

This new­comer is all about the en­gine. The Eco­Boost four is only a 2.0–litre— as it will be in the Fal­con— but it makes 149kW at 6000rpm and, more im­por­tantly, has peak torque of 300Nm in a broad range from 1750 to 4500rpm.

Those num­bers are up by 26 per cent and 44 per cent on the 2.3-litre Du­ratec petrol en­gine, which makes it look re­ally old. Ford Aus­tralia is keen to con­tinue the Du­ratec com­par­i­son with the econ­omy and CO num­bers— at

2 8.0L/100km and 187g/km, these are down by 16 per cent and 18 per cent re­spec­tively.

But it’s also im­por­tant to con­sider the ri­vals’ fig­ures: the Ac­cord Euro does 8.9 and 211, the Mazda6 8.3 and 196.

That means the Mon­deo will make fewer vis­its to the bowser, though it uses 95-oc­tane fuel.

DE­SIGN

There are now 10 mod­els in the Mon­deo fam­ily and all look good, though the hatch has slightly heavy haunches to cover its gi­ant boot. The boot, how­ever, makes it a stand­out in the medium class— and more like a wagon than a hatch.

The in­te­rior is im­pres­sively equipped and well laid-out, though the seats can be a bit flat for some peo­ple and the au­dio but­tons are fid­dly. The Mon­deo doesn’t have the sort of multi-pur­pose screen in the dash that’s be­com­ing com­mon­place— even in the lat­est Ter­ri­tory and Fal­con— but it’s fine for the class.

SAFETY

The mid-sized Ford, a five-star car with ANCAP, is also good on the ac­tive-safety front, thanks to a classy chas­sis pack­age with good bal­ance and a driver-friendly feel.

How­ever, the head­lights could be a lot bet­ter for dim days in rainy weather.

DRIV­ING

The Mon­deo is as good as we re­mem­ber, and even bet­ter in the en­gine room. The Eco­Boost four is not ex­actly a V6-style pow­er­house, but it gets the job done, with com­mend­ably good fuel econ­omy. It has a solid surge of power from low revs and low speeds, and can also kick when you need some over­tak­ing pace at the top end. It’s also quiet and re­laxed, helped by the six-speed auto.

On a 650km high­way run the Mon­deo used 7.5L/100km, which is good for a five-seater with such a big boot— and which makes you pon­der its po­ten­tial im­pact on sales of the Fal­con sta­ble­mate.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to make a solid pre­dic­tion, partly be­cause the Mon­deo is front-drive and the Fal­con drives the rear, but also be­cause the Mon­deo has 149kW/300Nm to pro­pel 1581kg while the Fal­con will have about 180kW/350Nm to deal with 1704kg.

Still, the prospect of a four­cylin­der Fal­con no longer fills us with dread.

The Eco­Boost ad­di­tion to the Mon­deo line-up pro­vides a well-bal­anced pack­age. The Zetec model has all the stan­dard equip­ment you real­is­ti­cally need, the en­gine is well suited to a fam­ily-style car and driv­ing, and the bot­tom-line num­bers make a solid case.

But, re­ally, the Mon­deo has never been given due credit in Aus­tralia. It’s not as sharp as a Euro and it lacks a Toy­ota badge, but it ticks a lot of the boxes that peo­ple want in a car.

Now, thanks to Eco­Boost, the Mon­deo also has an en­gine to win lots of friends.

VER­DICT

The fuel-efficient new Mon­deo is im­pres­sive and a classy drive. We can­not wait to see how the Eco­Boost four han­dles the ex­tra heft— and gi­ant ex­pec­ta­tions— in the flag­ship Fal­con.

Tech­nol­ogy: Mon­deo’s big­gest as­set is the Eco­Boost four­cylin­der en­gine

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.