A hidden gem
New or used, the Mondeo deserves to be a whole lot better known
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.
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.
Nice driving mid-sized car that is still to find its target market.