A hid­den gem

New or used, the Mon­deo de­serves to be a whole lot bet­ter known

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car news -

in­ter­na­tion­ally, it hasn’t won over Aus­tralia’s mid-sized buy­ers, who have a wide choice of fine cars from Asia.

Such was the lack­lus­tre sales per­for­mance, it was dropped from the mar­ket in 2000 and the dust was left to set­tle be­fore the name­plate came back with a much her­alded all-new model in 2007.

TheMA­model promised plenty with its Euro­pean looks, renowned han­dling and re­fine­ment. Ini­tially it came in sedan and hatch body styles but in 2009 the sedan was dropped for a wagon.

The model line-up con­sisted of the en­try LX, sporty Zetec, hot XR5 and lux­ury Ti­ta­nium. The Ti­ta­nium was new to the range in 2009 and came with fea­tures such as voice con­trol, adap­tive cruise con­trol with for­ward alert, dy­namic head­lights and cor­ner­ing lights. There was plenty of choice, too, when it came to en­gines. The op­tions were a 2.3-litre petrol four, a frugal 2.0-litre four­cylin­der turbo diesel and a 2.5-litre turbo five-cylin­der. Trans­mis­sions were six-speed auto or man­ual.

The Mon­deo came with a rep­u­ta­tion for han­dling and didn’t dis­ap­point lo­cal road testers. Its steer­ing was pre­cise, its brakes were pow­er­ful, the sus­pen­sion was sup­ple and not fazed by rough lo­cal roads. The Mon­deo’s cabin was also roomy and its boot space com­pared favourably with the larger Fal­cons.

NOW

The prob­lem for the Mon­deo is it has run slap-bang into a new gen­er­a­tion of well-built, welle­quipped and de­cent driv­ing cars from Asia.

That it’s a Euro­pean car might have car­ried some weight in the past, when Asian cars lacked the road re­fine­ment of cars from Europe, but no longer. Now, be­ing Euro­pean of­ten sug­gests ques­tion­able build qual­ity when stacked up against the Asian makes, which have ac­quired a rep­u­ta­tion as the stan­dard bear­ers when it comes to pro­duc­tion.

Care­fully check any Mon­deo be­fore buy­ing and make sure ev­ery­thing works the way it should. Road-test the gear­box and iden­tify any quirks that need at­ten­tion be­fore you part with your cash. The same goes for fea­tures such as voice con­trol on the Ti­ta­nium.

Also make the usual checks for ser­vic­ing his­tory. As with all cars, reg­u­lar oil changes are the key to a long trou­ble-free run.

SMITHY SAYS

Nice driv­ing mid-sized car that is still to find its tar­get mar­ket.

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