It’s been a long road to this fourth generation but here it is – the Mondeo has arrived in Europe and the midsize family segment has once more one of its main contenders up and running.
The Mondeo / Fusion premiered back in 2012 and while the wait us usually just a few months worth, in Europe it was much, much longer. The US-spec Fusion is practically the same car and it was launched commercially much faster in America – while the Mondeo has reached the European shores much slower. This is one of the main products of the “One-Ford” strategy and as such it should have been delivered much faster – though we’re actually now happy it has finally rolled out across much of Europe. Timing is perhaps important as well – as it goes up against the other main contender of the segment – the all new Passat. But the German duo will have stiff competition very soon – in the guise of the recently announced Renault Talisman and the upcoming new generation Opel Insignia.
Anyways, the Ford Mondeo which is now a global car – not one only developed with European minds in the forefront – is here and we’ll get to judge a car that has become rather iconic on the continent. First off, let’s say the wait has made some fans even eager and the new Mondeo has pretty big shoes to fill (in every sense) coming from a long running and successful third generation.
Design, Interior and Gadgets
While it has been seen since way back in 2012 the Mondeo doesn’t disappoint in terms of design – the styling is the one that has been imposed since practically across the entire lineup of the automaker with very few exceptions. It’s also one that is pretty spectacular and will live up to the test of time – it didn’t get old while we waited for the model to reach the showrooms. And of course it will get a healthy infusion of novelty once the Vignale upscale versions are offered across the continent – working both ways to attract the spotlight onto themselves and remind customers of the regular Mondeo.
Ever since the beginning of its life cycle back in 1993 when the Mk I reached showrooms, one of the most striking features of the Mondeo was the availability of a five-door model, what Americans might actually call a Fastback. It’s not a regular hatchback but makes use of its practical features – bigger trunk lid that will encompass the tonneau glass and also sport it own wiper for bad weather. It’s not a proprietary design as Opel has also used it on the Ascona C since way back at the start of the 1980s – but it’s nonetheless one of those gimmics you’ll disregard until you run into such a car and will henceforth always look for in the next car you own. That said, Ford has managed to pretty much nail the design of both the sedan and five-door versions – with the latter looking pretty close to the crop of modern four-door coupes without even trying to compete them.
We had the liftback version for the review and can tell you that handling the nasty task of filling the trunk with luggage – whether grocery or the shopping attires of an entire family will always be a smaller hustle thanks to the large trunk lid opening – which is also automatic. As such, the trunk can vary between 458 and 525 liters (you can have a normal spare wheel, small spare tire or run flat kit) in the standard guise. Going back to the interior, the Mondeo features the most unique dashboard in the model range of the European Ford unit – it has a design that differs from any of the models – and we’re pretty much rooting for an updated configuration of the design to span across the entire lineup – from the small Ka to the large Galaxy (this one is the closest to date). We’re not saying it’s perfect, but the Mondeo sports the cleanest center stack we’ve seen to date – finally erasing from the memory the days of the pre-Sync infotainment systems and designs (unfortunately this one can still be seen in the EcoSport small ute). We understand the instrument cluster – which takes a high-tech note will never go down the line to the Ka or Fiesta as it its but the cleaner lines and clutter-free arrangement is something we’re hoping to see on every Ford once the automaker kicks off the switch to the Sync 3 infotainment system.
Treading the asphalt at 4867 mm long, the Mondeo is longer than the Insignia (4842 mm) and the regular four door Passat (4767 mm) and as such it comes with lots of interior space. There’s one catch though – at the height of 1482 mm it’s sitting lower than the Insignia (1498 mm) for example and as such the more dynamic stance might not bode well with the very tall passengers sitting in the back. Up front there’s lots of room and the seats are both comfortable and have good lateral restraint capacity. There’s one catch though when it comes to the overall available space. We have a 2850 mm long wheelbase – better than in the Insignia (2737 mm) and the Passat (2791) but the way it has been used will leave room for frowning from owners of the older Mondeo. The front seats are very thick and the back couch is not using the entire width of the car – this effectively cuts the advantage compared to its competitors and will take away one of the most revered traits of the older Mondeo – the incredible back seat interior space. It’s a shame the model – in this particular upholster option – conceives this exact set character piece. Five persons and the associated luggage will still be a go but if an owner of the older Mondeo makes the switch the new one will seem less spacious.
Nevertheless, the Mondeo is actually better than the older one in every respect – the infotainment system for example has made a huge “cuantum” leap to a modern one with all the necessary amenities – from Bluetooth to smartphone usage. The instrument cluster is also very neatly fitted with a middle display that can switch readings between more than one setup. The one area that has remained rather cluttered is the steering wheel where we have four zones with buttons all handling different functions. But coming from the older Mondeo there’s also one area that has carefully been treated to a much needed update – materials and assembly re way better now. The driver position is also well thought, with the electric seats being adjustable across a wide span – catering for a dynamic or comfortable position or the size difference between a man or a woman driver. And another area that has improved massively is the NVH – meaning noise and vibrations are almost completely filtered out – you’ll hear the roar of the engine under heavy acceleration for a sporty cue but other than that even the wind at high speeds is tempered.
Engine, Transmission and Handling
The Mondeo can be treated if you need as an executive large sedan as well – at almost 5 meters long there’s no other way around this trait anyways, with the other niche being family ownership. As such both these segments will not care for or even root for dynamic handling – which is another beef fans might have with the new Mondeo. Having an all new platform underneath means the “One-Ford” strategy also calls for the underpinnings to be fitting with the American market – and as such compromises have been made. This is why I’m starting with the road handling section of the review when I usually began the segment with the engine. Tipping the scales between 1455 kg (with the minuscule three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost) and 1564 kg (2.0 EcoBoost 240 hp AT) when talking about the gasoline options alone will have a considerable impact on the way the Mondeo handles what you throw to the front wheels. Yep, we can say goodbye to the incisive handling of the predecessor (well, for its category anyways) and say hello to the new Mondeo age where comfort reigns supreme. The steering wheel input has also been toned down and as such the tendencies to eschew the line you imposed will be very hard to spot at the tipping point – though fortunately the Mondeo has all the safety bells and whistles on board.
Speaking of the latter, the Mondeo will treat you, either standard or optional to anything other automakers have thought about – from a full array of airbags to adaptive cruise control, BLIS, Active City Stop or the lane departure warning and assist system. We’re pretty much used to this wide array of technologies to come in today’s vehicles, but we’re still calling Ford’s latter system that also gently steers back the car into its lane a welcome trait.
Under the long hood of the fourth-gen Mondeo (actually called Mk V after the first gen facelift was treated to the Mk II moniker) sits the 2-liter EcoBoost four cylinder engine – as the model has followed the downsize trend and no six-cylinder bangers will be offered either in Europe or the Americas. We’re not talking either about the most powerful iteration, but instead about one that might be fitting to a wider array of clients. The two liter engine develops 203 hp and 300 Nm, mated to a regular six-speed automatic transmission that has a Sport mode and steering wheel paddles. This choice is also one that won’t be found with its competitors – the Insignia for example jumps from 140 hp to 250 hp in terms of gasoline offerings and the Passat wil either treat you to a 1.8 TSI with 180 hp and the seven-speed DSG or the 2.0 TSI with 220 hp and the six-speed DSG. Among the closest competitors would be the niched Mazda6 sedan – which has the 2.5 SKYACTIV-G engine sporting 192 hp and a six-speed automatic gearbox. Or you might be interested in the recently introduced Renault Talisman with its TCe 200 EDC version churning out 200 hp and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. As such, the Mondeo nails the 0-100 km/h sprint in 8.7 seconds and will top out at 232 km/h. Both competitors best it with the Japanese posting a 7.8 seconds time to 100 km/h and getting up to a slower maximum speed of 223 km/h. The Talisman meanwhile is being assisted by the dual-clutch gearbox to reach 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and will go up to 237 km/h.
Pro: exterior design, new type of dashboard with cleaner lines and less cluttered button setup. The liftback is a great choice if you have a family and the engine/ gearbox combo will be a wise choice if you go for long rides on a regular basis. NVH levels are great as well.
Against: the interior seems less spacious compared to its predecessor, and the handling characteristics have been toned down to suit the global strategy of the platform.
Tested Version – Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 EcoBoost AT – 29,800 EUR
Engine: 2.0L four cylinder, petrol, start/stop (1997 cc)
Power: 203 HP (149 kW)
Torque: 300 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Dimensions: length – 4,867 mm, width – 1,911mm, height – 1,482 mm, wheelbase – 2,850 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 62.5L
Trunk Capacity: 458/ 525 liters
0 – 100 km/h: 8,7 s
Top Speed: 232 km/h
Fuel consumption: urban – 10,2L/100 km, highway – 5,6L/100 km, average – 7,3L/100 km
Rating: 4 / 5