Ford’s largest sedan offering looks to step into the shoes of the now-deceased Aussie Falcon. But can it compete against a large and versatile group of competitors, while also being an attractive alternative to SUVs for families?
Tell me about this car
Ford’s current Mondeo sedan was last seriously updated in 2012, and is facing off against fresh-faced competition like the new Holden Commodore/Calais, and Toyota Camry. We got behind the wheel of the mid-level Trend hatch to see if it remains a compelling proposition for buyers looking for a mid-size, affordable liftback. The petrol-powered Trend has an MLRP of $37,790 and sits below the flagship Titanium grade, and above the entry-level Ambiente.
- Engine: Powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder which sends 177kW and 345Nm to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic, the drivetrain in the Mondeo Trend is one of its biggest assets. It isn’t class leading in terms of output, but has been calibrated in such a way that everyday driving is easy and enjoyable. The transmission’s logic ensures that it effortlessly plugs into the broad spread of torque without excess ‘hunting’ between ratios, and while the exhaust note is thrummy, it’s far from obnoxious.
- Ride: The suspension tune in the Mondeo rides the line between a firm ‘dynamic’ set-up, and ‘cruiser’ plushness. Because of this, it is neither the most comfortable, nor the most dynamically impressive, but it finds a sweet spot which is more than acceptable for most requirements. Potholes and poor road surfaces are dealt with well in the Mondeo, without the car turning to jelly in the corners. Ride comfort is aided by seats which are trimmed with a combination of leather and faux-suede, providing ample cushioning for longer drives.
- Equipment: With a sub-$40k price tag, the Trend is fitted with plenty of equipment that would traditionally be the preserve of pricier offerings. The driver is treated to memory seating with three different settings, both front passengers have heated seats, and a heated windscreen is fitted as standard. Power adjustable seats are also standard fit items.
- Ageing platform: It’s hard to get around the age of the Mondeo when compared to its competitors. Things like the instrument design and ‘clap-down’ style windscreen wipers make the Ford feel a step or two behind its most modern rivals. The wipers in particular could use an update as they don’t provide enough coverage on the windscreen (although a rear-wiper is unique for this class, and handy in poor weather conditions). While AEB and adaptive cruise are standard, there is no digital speedo, which is becoming a must-have for some buyers. The design of the Mondeo, while classy and understated, is also getting long in the tooth. Those who really want to make a statement with their new car will almost certainly overlook the Mondeo.
- Interior plastics: A mix and match of interior plastics lets down what is a well-laid out dash architecture. Hard, scratchy plastics comprise the lower half of the cabin, while different grades of trim throughout the door cards and dash give a patchy feel to the trim that lacks cohesion.
- Rear roofline: Rear passenger comfort is not a strong suit in the Mondeo. Design of the rear seat pushes occupants to the outer edges, compromising forward vision. Though there is ample toe and leg room, that raked rear roofline cuts in heavily to headroom. Adult passengers will find the back of their head touching the roof lining before meeting a headrest.
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