Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ford Mondeo review

Years of reading British car mags have made me a bit of a skeptic. The Ford Mondeo is the best example of Europe’s answer to the D-segment saloon, a class dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in our part of the world, so naturally, these are the reference points we’ll use to compare the Ford with. Looks are subjective of course, but while the Mondeo’s design is a breath of fresh air on our streets, neat, inoffensive and more dynamic looking than the Accord and Camry, the shape is rather generic and Ford’s Kinetic design is toned down for this application. Which may not be an illusion, as the Mondeo is no small car. It’s taller and quite a bit wider than both Japanese cars while overall length (4844 mm) is closer to the Camry (4825 mm) than the class busting Accord (4945 mm). Despite this, the Ford’s 2850 mm wheelbase is lengthier than the Accord’s 2800 mm, which is quite something, since we all know how much rear legroom the Honda has. Like the Honda, the Mondeo comes with all-black leather seats and trim, as opposed to the Camry interior, which is specified with light hues for a more cozy and warm ambience.

Up front, comparing the Ford with its Japanese rivals is an exercise of comparing regional tastes. Italians aside, Continental cabins have always been more functional than glitzy, and the Mondeo stays true to form. Ford also surprised this writer with its material selection. The Mondeo gave a decent first impression on the move. Bigger intrusions that you’ll certainly feel in the Japanese cars are rolled over with authority, sparing occupants from feeling their sharp edge. The Accord feels a little too firm after the Mondeo, which damping is very well judged. Then I drove it hard. In the "Mondeo", you feel that the car is always on your side as you explore its ability, bit by bit, corner by corner. The abovementioned ride comfort also plays a big role in the Mondeo’s ability to flow across country roads with finesse. The twin cam engine produces 159 bhp and 208 Nm, quite underwhelming compared to the Accord 2.4′s 178 bhp and 222 Nm.

"All-round refinement is definitely a Mondeo strong point. No rival cruises as comfortably at high speeds or deals with coarse surfaces so well. We tested a model fitted with Ford’s Interactive Vehicle Dynamics Control (IVDC) electronic dampers. In short, it feels unflappable thanks to its awesome suspension control, which in turn inspires confidence. It still competes against familiar rivals, such as the Vauxhall Vectra, Renault Laguna, Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat and Peugeot 407, though it is premium models like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Saab 9-3 that are arguably this car’s fiercest rivals. Owning"
No rival can match the Ford for space or versatility inside. The 2.0-litre petrol was even worse, averaging just 28.2mpg. At least running costs are impressive, thanks to keen servicing prices from Ford’s vast UK dealer network.

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