Haul the mod cons

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Short Cut -

VALUE Ford’s mid-size front-wheel drive Mon­deo ap­peals to dis­cern­ing buy­ers thanks to its tech­nol­ogy, fuel ef­fi­ciency and so-called Euro feel. Sedans and wag­ons are avail­able with 2.0-litre turbo petrol or diesel en­gines and sixspeed trans­mis­sions, a con­ven­tional auto and, in the diesel, a dual clutch. Our test Ti­ta­nium wagon at $49,340 plus on-roads packs in fea­tures that would make a more ex­pen­sive pres­tige Ger­man car look in­ad­e­quate. Build qual­ity on the car driven was as good as any­thing from Europe, if a lit­tle over the top in the dash de­part­ment with too many but­tons. Ti­ta­nium spec gets leather, pre­mium au­dio, the some­times con­fus­ing Sync2 con­nec­tiv­ity with voice con­trol, touch­screen me­dia hub, adap­tive sus­pen­sion and auto tail­gate. Capped ser­vic­ing for three years is $1225 and war­ranty is three years/100,000km. COM­FORT The wagon is quite big, which in the cabin means comfy seat­ing for five and a large load space. Head­room isn’t an is­sue even with the un­nec­es­sary sun­roof. Some engine noise in­trudes at low speeds but oth­er­wise it’s quiet. Au­dio qual­ity is high and there is just about ev­ery lux­ury fea­ture in the Ford in­ven­tory. Of note are the 10-way elec­tri­cally ad­justable and heated front seats, elec­tri­cally ad­justable steer­ing wheel, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol air­con and drive mode set­tings of sport, nor­mal and eco. Too many con­trols? Maybe. SAFETY Ford goes over the top here with a fo­cus on ad­vanced driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy. The Ti­ta­nium gets for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing, blind spot warn­ing, re­verse cam­era, pro­gram­mable ig­ni­tion key that al­lows speed re­stric­tions, pre­c­ol­li­sion alert, pedes­trian de­tec­tion, ac­tive city brake and adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane keep­ing and fa­tigue mon­i­tor­ing. There are nine airbags in­clud­ing seat belt bags for rear oc­cu­pants. Then there are adap­tive LED head­lights, au­to­matic wipers and head­lights. ANCAP’s rat­ing is five stars. DRIV­ING The turbo diesel (132kW/ 400Nm) de­liv­ers strong per­for­mance across the board for the heavy (1789kg) Ti­ta­nium wagon. Sport is the pre­ferred drive mode. The engine is quiet most of the time and su­per eco­nom­i­cal given the weight it has to haul, abet­ted by the twin­clutch — pad­dle-shifters help to stir things along. Ex­pect 1000km of cruis­ing on one tank. Adap­tive dampers cover most con­tin­gen­cies, en­dow­ing the hauler with a high com­fort rat­ing and sur­pris­ingly sporty dy­nam­ics. Even the brakes prove well up to the task. Steer­ing re­sponse is quick and well damped, even on rough roads, though the turn­ing cir­cle is a tad large at nearly 12 me­tres. It is rated to tow 1600kg. AL­TER­NA­TIVES Di­rect com­peti­tors are

wagon at the same money, diesel wagon at $42,990,

diesel wagon at $49,490. The Mon­deo wagon stacks up well against these on all scores. VER­DICT It’s su­pe­rior on all fronts to pre­vi­ous Mon­deos. A classy wagon, it de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent per­for­mance and econ­omy and the fea­tures list has ev­ery­thing short of the kitchen sink.

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