FORD WITH FOUR
The Mondeo’s excellent new engine also should shine in the Falcon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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