The Mondeo represents Ford’s push towards the D segment of the car market in Malaysia. Built as the Telstar replacement model, the car was launched towards the end of 2009 and is imported as a complete built up (CBU) unit from Belgium. With its Euro based roots and expected higher built quality, this is a car that may well enhance consumer perception of Ford cars in Malaysia.
Only one model of the Mondeo is available, which is the 2.3L Duratec Petrol. Although this maybe the first time consumers in Malaysia get to see the Mondeo in the flesh, the model itself had already undergone a number of facelifts. The present offering is in fact the 4th generation model which was first introduced in selected global markets since 2007.
In terms of styling, the car embodies Ford’s ‘Kinetic Design’ cues. The aim is to create an impression of ‘energy in motion’, that is the perception of a moving car even when it is stationary. In keeping with the times, the front grills are large and prominent conveying an aggressive profile. The rear appears a bit like a hatchback and it gently slopes downwards in coupe’ like styling.
The Mondeo 2.3L Duratec Petrol comes with a host of safety features. Airbags are located at the front, side, curtain and at the driver’s knee. Other safety features include Anti-Lock Brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, and Emergency Brake Assist which is a system that automatically activates the hazard lights to alert other drivers during an emergency braking. The car achieved Euro NCAP 5-Star rating for adult occupant.
Other features that come standard with the car include fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, leather wrapped steering wheel, leather wrapped gear knob, leather seats, power seats adjustments for driver and front passenger, immobilizer, ISOFIX for childseats, capless refueling with mis-fuelling inhibitor, remote keyless entry, cruise control and a 6 CD/MP3 player with 8 speakers.
Open the doors and immediately you sense that this car is built with substance. The doors open wide for easy entry. With a relatively large wheelbase of 2,850mm, the interior is very spacious for the driver and passengers. One notable feature is that there is generous legroom for the rear passengers. Although the rear roofline slopes downwards, rear headroom is still adequate even for taller passengers. The driver has good views of the front, side and rear.
The quality of the leather seats are up a notch compared to the Escape which I had tested recently. The power adjusted seats provide good all round support and are firm and comfortable. Fit and finishing of the interior cabin is of good quality. The instrument panel includes small central amber coloured LCD section displaying useful information on the car. The large amber LCD display (CD/MP3) at the centre console takes prominence on the dashboard.
The test model did not include the futuristic looking instrument panel with multi coloured LCD display that is seen in the brochure. Perhaps this is for a higher specified model that is not yet available in Malaysia. This would have added a bit of sophistication to the dashboard.
The leather wrapped steering wheel is of good size with sufficient rim thickness and bulge at the right places for a good grip. There are multi-function buttons on the steering wheel to control the audio system, cruise control and the on board computer. In keeping with its Euro roots, the signal lever is located on the left side of the steering wheel while the wiper lever (with intermittent variable speed) is located on the right side.
The engine is a transversely mounted Duratec HE 2,261cc 4 cylinder inline DOHC, 16 valve with Variable Intake System (VIS). The VIS helps optimizes air and fuel intake mixture to improve fuel efficiency. Max power is 161ps (118kw) @ 6,500 rpm and max torque is 208Nm (21.2kg.m) @ 4,000 rpm. Acceleration from 0 to 100km is achievable in 10.2 seconds.
Upon ignition, the engine sounds refined. Idling speed is at around 750 rpm. Internally the engine noise is hardly noticeable until you push the car hard as the cabin is well insulated. The sampled model comes with the Durashift 6-speed automatic with Sportsmode. Gear shifts are smooth and even downshifts are barely noticeable. The extra 6th gear is a good feature which not only improves refinement but also help differentiates itself from other competitors in this segment.
The Sportsmode is Ford’s manual override for automatic transmission. To engage it, you simply push the entire gearlever to the right while you are at the “D” position. Push upwards to change to a lower gear and push downwards to change to a higher gear. Reverse is not possible in this mode and every gear change is indicated in the LCD display at the instrument panel.
The engine response of the car in the Sportsmode can be described as very cultured. Manual gear changes from the 3rd gear to the 6th gear whilst cruising are barely noticeable possibly due to the relatively low gear ratios. It was only when I downshifted to the 2nd gear that the engine came to life. You will need to work with the accelerator if you plan to overtake in 3rd gear on the Sportsmode. Otherwise an easier option is to drive at “D” and induce a kickdown by flooring the accelerator.
The car runs quite hot and its normal operating temperature is around 90ºC. The car emits quite a fair bit of heat for a normally aspirated car and the cooling fan continues to run even after the car is switched off. One unusual finding is the heavy handbrake which requires some effort to pull.
The specs stated an average fuel consumption of 9.3 litres per 100 km (combined) with a fuel tank capacity of 70 litres. Throughout the entire test drive which is mostly town drives mix with highway runs, I averaged about 11.5 to 12 litres per 100 km based on a rough calculation of the distance travelled and the remaining fuel in the tank.
By the end of the test drive, the on board computer stated an average fuel consumption of about 12.4 litres per 100 km. These figures are within expectations taking into account the displacement of the engine and the size of the car. The VIS system and the extra 6th gear are features that would help improve fuel consumption. The engine speed whilst cruising at 110km/h is around 2,250rpm.
Handling is a strong point of this car. The steering is light, responsive and provides good feedback for precise turns. This electro-hydraulic power assisted steering is accurate and responds quickly to your inputs. The minimum turning radius is 5.9m and lock to lock in a stationary position is about 1½ turns to each side.
Suspensions are independent MacPhersons at the front and ‘control blade’ multi-link suspensions at the rear. Overall, I sensed the car is set-up more for a sporty drive but there is sufficient dampening to mitigate the stiffness. Ride quality is generally comfortable considering the narrow tyres which could have easily translated into a firm and hash ride.
Wheels are the unique 5 spoke individual “Y” shaped 17 inch alloys which is a signature design for the Mondeo. The tyres are 17 inch German made Good Year Excellence 235/45/R17 which provided good grip and acceptable road noise. Both front and rear wheels have disc brakes which provide good stopping power. The brakes are another strong point of this car. They are responsive and react quickly to pedal inputs.
Town drives at designated speeds of up to 60km/h are effortless and easy. Power and torque is more than sufficient and the car is able to accelerate convincingly. In the highway, the car cruises at 110km/h with good stability and with relatively low wind and road noise. The car will shine on trunk roads as it is capable of entering into an apex of a turn with good accuracy and exit with authority. During this time you can sense the car’s anti-roll bars working hard to keep body roll to a minimum.
The car’s cruise control is quite basic and requires familiarization due to the numerous buttons. You will first need to enable the system by pushing a button the left side of the steering wheel. Then, depending on whether you wish to lock in at your current speed or reduce speed you press the “Set+” or “Set-” buttons on the right side of the steering wheel. To disengage you can either step on the brakes or press the “Off ” button.
Open the boot and you are greeted with a large, deep and inviting boot. The car’s boot capacity is among the largest in its class at 535 litres. To further increase cargo space the rear seats can be folded downward via a push button on each side in a 60/40 configuration.
The audio system which comprised a Sony 6 CD changer / MP3 with 8 speakers provided a full and balanced sound. You can also enable the sound processing function (dsp) to alter the dynamics. Radio reception was less convincing as it struggled to keep track with some selected stations. Music from the CD sounded a bit brighter than the radio and required some enhancements to the sound dynamics.
At night, the car’s halogen headlights provided good illumination of the road ahead. Perhaps Ford should consider upgrading the headlights to the Xenon type for the next facelift. The internal front and rear map reading lights are relatively dim and would only be useful for a very quick read. It is not so apparent during the day but the instrument panel looks like an optitron type which looks pleasing at night.
The Ford Mondeo 2.3L Duratec Petrol is positioned in a highly competitive D segment of the car market in Malaysia. However, this being a fully imported CBU Euro car with quality construction, good levels of standard features, generous levels of interior space and a rewarding driving experience should help differentiate it from the rest of the pack.
Test vehicle courtesy of Sime Darby Auto ConneXion Sdn Bhd
|Engine:||4-cylinder DOHC 16 valve with VIS|
|Max Output:||118kw (161ps) / 6,500 rpm|
|Max Torque:||208Nm / 4,000 rpm|
|Acceleration 0-100km:||10.2 seconds|
|Fuel Consumption:||9.3ltr/100km (combined)|
Source: Sime Darby Auto ConneXion Brochure
Note: Please reconfirm the above specifications with an authorized Ford dealer
Click on these to sample sounds from the car!