2015 at Ford will be all about mapping the brand’s post-Australian future. While the American-sourced Mustang takes care of performance, next year Ford will finally get serious about the European-built Mondeo range that returned to Australia in 2007.
The fourth generation of the Mondeo has launched in Europe and arrives imminently here. There have been two years of delays, but in the intervening period, the car has been sold—and refined—in the United States as the Fusion. So, in theory, Ford should be importing quite a solid product.
And that’s important, because once production of the Falcon range grinds to a halt in 2016, all of our misty eyes will fall squarely on the Mondeo hatchback and station wagon. While they’re not as capacious as the Falcon is, successive Mondeos have grown with each generation, and Ford is banking on the fact that these Spanish-made cars have what it takes to replace the Falcon, both in our hearts and minds.
So the new model will be around for a couple of years before having to pick up the Falcon’s slack.
In the mean time, Ford is pitching the Mondeo squarely against the Toyota Camry on all fronts. Modern EcoBoost engines mean the Ford comes out more efficient; there’s more standard equipment on the Ford, too; and, it’s safer.
Three trims will be available in hatch and wagon body styles—the base Ambiente, mid-range Trend, and flagship Titanium badges all carry over from the current car.
The Ambiente kicks things off with a standard 149kW EcoBoost two-litre turbo petrol; the efficiency star of the range, a 132kW diesel returning 5.1L / 100km, is optional on all models. Trend and Titanium cars are equipped out of the box with a hefty 177kW version of the petrol. Manual transmissions are scrapped in favour of a single six-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission across the range.
The diesel takes the fight straight to the Camry Hybrid, which is rated at 5.2L / 100km. The EcoBoost petrols will be the sweeter performers, though, with Ford proving their deftness in blending efficiency with punch in recent years, particularly with their three-cylinder EcoBoosts, although the awesome one-litre turbo available in Europe won’t come here in the first instance.
Standard equipment is generous, with all Mondeos including satellite navigation displayed on an eight-inch Sync touchscreen, promising much better voice command integration. All cars get the increasingly ubiquitous electric park brake and hill launch assist. More interestingly, everybody gets paddle shifters. On the safety front, inflatable rear seatbelts are seriously innovative—and standard—as is a remote speed limiting system for young drivers, and telephone emergency assistance.
A suite of advanced safety technology, including active cruise, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking, is optional on the lower cars, but impressively standard on the Titanium range-topper.
The Mondeo is at the forefront of Ford’s hard push towards a global alignment of their products. Thankfully, it’s one of the more engaging mid-size cars; while the loss of the Falcon will still be a hard pill to swallow, the future of practical Fords doesn’t look completely dark.