FORD MONDEO TITANIUM V SKODA SUPERB 206 TSI
Roomy and ready for family and fleet duty, these liftbacks will fill gaps left by the Commodore and Falcon
The top-spec Titanium wants for very little, except a five-year warranty to match the Skoda. Standard are an eight-inch touchscreen with Android/Apple smartphone mirroring, dualzone aircon, heated seats front and rear and auto lights/wipers. Servicing is at 12 months/15,000km intervals and the first three trips will cost $1095.
A chameleon that blends into the urban environment, the Mondeo looks good on the outside and has an airy cabin. The centre stack is dominated by the touchscreen but the aircon buttons under it look a bit mundane for a car of this calibre. Cargo space is 557L but the boot isn’t particularly deep, meaning bags must be packed flat rather than on their sides. Towing capacity for petrol Mondeos is 1200kg.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo (177kW/345Nm) turns a sixspeed auto and has enough poke to chirp the front wheels on take-off and give a solid mid-range shove when overtaking. Claimed thirst is 8.5L/100km — expect to see 11L in real world driving, largely as a result of the Mondeo’s hefty 1690kg.
Nine airbags (the outboard rear seats have inflatable belts), autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot and lane departure warnings and semi-automated parking are included. ANCAP rated the car 36.07/37 after it also performed strongly in the physical crash tests.
The Mondeo is a match for most cars on the road in terms of how it drives, let down only by its mass. Adaptive suspension keeps it flat in the corners without creating a bouncy ride over bumps. Road noise is well suppressed, even on the low-profile 19-inch rubber, and the brakes have reassuring bite and progressive pedal travel
The Superb matches the Mondeo’s kit but on a more expansive stage, which helps justify the 10 per cent price premium. There’s a 9.2-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, three-zone aircon, heated front seats and auto lights/wipers. Service intervals are 12 months/15,000km and the first three trips are priced at $1346.
If space is a priority, the Superb fills the bill. It is the closest conventional alternative to a Falcon or Commodore for rear seat room and boot space (an impressive 625L with the seats up). The interior is typical VW Group black and grey. There are more buttons on the dash than in the Mondeo but they’re fairly intuitive to operate. The Superb is rated to tow 2200kg.
Skoda turns up the wick on its 2.0-litre turbo to channel 206kW/350Nm to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic — as fitted to the Volkswagen Golf R — and it smokes the Mondeo for performance and fuel economy. The claimed 7.3L/100km will equate to about 10L in normal driving.
Rear side and curtain airbags bring the count to nine. Recent updates have added blind spot and lane departure alerts and rear cross traffic assist to the standard city-speed autonomous emergency braking. ANCAP awards five-stars, the blemishes being a marginal rating for the driver’s chest in the frontal crash test and marginal whiplash protection for those in the rear.
The Skoda is a willing accomplice on a winding road but its larger size means it doesn’t corner with as much authority as the Mondeo. We suspect the optional adaptive chassis control might address that. There’s a touch more road and tyre noise in the cabin than the Ford but the brakes are equally capable of hauling the Superb up in a short space.