The Blue Oval’s big European star is a prime family car
One of the best cars you’ve hardly heard of is the Ecoboost version of the Mondeo. It’s all the family car you could need
THE current Falcon is the last one for several reasons, not the least of which is the inconvenient truth that sales are low and Dearborn, Michigan, couldn’t care less about making cars in Australia.
Another reason has been here for some time. It’s just that, even now, people tend to look at you blankly when you say ‘‘ Mondeo’’. Oh, it sells all right by medium-car standards, but fewer than it ought. And as if to emphasise the Falcon’s plight, the excellent 2.0-litre turbo four it’s about to receive has been doing sterling service in the Mondeo for most of the past year.
With the Focus to be imported from Thailand next year, the Mondeo and (from March) the Kuga SUV will be the only Europe-made cars in Ford’s local line-up.
The starting price is a sticking point. The $37,740 for the mid-spec Zetec liftback gets you no shortage of proven rivals with higher spec, not least the newly leathered-up Mazda6 Touring range.
You’ve got to go 10 bucks shy of $45K for the full-spec Titanium. It’s a fine thing, but at this point you’re closing in on Audi A4 territory.
Settle for the Zetec Ecoboost. It has enough kit to please and the best drivetrain in its class.
This 2.0-litre direct injection turbo petrol four is constrained to 149kw/300nm— it has greater outputs in Range Rover’s Evoque and Volvo’s S60 and also will in the Falcon.
It’s a crisply efficient unit with peak torque on tap between 1750 and 4500rpm, driving through a six-speed twin clutch auto so far removed in operation from Volkswagen’s infuriatingly inconsistent DSG as to be almost too much like a torque converter jobbie.
The Mondeo diesel has always been worthy and now there is a class petrol engine, one that renders obsolete the tryhard 2.3 in the entry cars. Economy and emissions— 8.0L/100km and 187g/km CO — are still superior to the Mazda6’s but relies on 95RON premium juice.
So capacious and practical is the liftback that the Mondeo wagon is borderline redundant.
Classed as a mid-sizer, it’s longer than the Falcon and almost as wide. Anyone ‘‘ downsizing’’ isn’t likely to feel the pinch and the driver will revel in a decent seat position, as opposed to the Falcon’s orange-crate pew.
They won’t care for the dash, though, a convoluted mess, poorer than the Falcon’s and years behind the Focus.
The Mondeo’s five-star crash rating is but one aspect that endears it to thousands of British company reps. All the passive and active measures are in place, the latter enhanced by an alert and responsive chassis.