The Truth About Cars » Mondeo The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:46:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mondeo Ford Modifies Mondeo, Will Sell Locally Built Edges In Effort To Double Chinese Market Share by 2015 Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:41:29 +0000

Click here to view the embedded video.

As part of it’s effort to double its market share in China by 2015, Ford today introduced to Chinese consumers a version of the midsized Mondeo sedan that the company says has been revised specifically for that market. Ford currently has about a 3% market share in china. The Chinese Mondeo starts at 179,800 yuan ($29,400) and the company said that it expects to sell between 70,000 and 110,000 units annually in a segment led by Volkswagen and General Motors (and those companies’ Chinese partners). The Mondeo has never sold more than 70,000 since it went on sale in China in 2008.

After doubling production capacity in China and increasing the number of models it sells, Ford has seen a 50% increase in the number of vehicles they sell in China for the first seven months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

Concerning the Chinese Mondeo, a Ford spokesman told Bloomberg, “We do see ourselves with this vehicle as being a volume player that appeals to a range of different people. There are unique requirements that a customer has that perhaps U.S. customers or European customers haven’t, so it’s our job to make sure that from an appearance, craftsmanship perspective, that all of those things are able to be taken into account.”

To decide on what changes the Mondeo would need to appeal to Chinese consumers, Ford says that it did three years of market research involving over 700 potential customers. Some of the changes that research prompted are LED headlights and giving rear passengers control over the audio system as well as front seat positions. Chinese consumers also apparently like round taillights as those have replaced the more C-shaped rear lamps on the Mondeo in other markets.

In addition to the news from Ford out of China, Reuters says that sources in the company revealed that the Edge crossover will be brought to China, starting in 2015, after the CUV is redesigned. Ford had previously announced that the Edge would be sold in Europe. While Ford’s North American operations will supply the Edge to Europe, the Chinese versions will be locally produced.


The new Edge will be built on Ford’s new CD4.2 architecture that will also be the platform for redesigned versions of the S-Max and Galaxy, neither of which will be offered in the U.S. Earlier this week, Ford released photos and information on a new S-Max concept to be shown at the Frankfurt auto show next month.

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A Tale Of Two Wagons, Part The First: 2001 Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCI, or “The Famed Manual Diesel Wagon” Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:00:11 +0000 Mondeo05

Perception is a funny thing. It especially shows up when you’re sitting on the fence between two cultures, seeing the world through the eyes of both at once. As a European with close relation to US car culture, I know something about that, and I’ll show it to you with two wagons. Each of them is extravagant and fabled on one continent, and totally boring on the other. And each of them is based on a car I owned and used as a daily driver for several years. So I know them quite well, and I know they rule, in their own different ways.

I will start with the one I have never considered anything very special – until I started reading American car blogs, and recognized the perceived awesomeness of “The Manual, Diesel Wagon”. It is called 2001 Ford Mondeo MkIII, it is powered by 2.0 TDCI diesel engine, and it has a long-roofed body and a five-speed stick-shift transmission. And I will not deny that it is a marvelous car. But its uniqueness is sort of diminished by the fact that in Czech Republic, where I live, it is basically everywhere. If we don’t count Skodas and city buses, it’s one of the most common modes of transportation here. the most common modes of transportation here. Want to see a proof? This picture was taken in front of my house, and it isn’t staged – I just parked in the first free space I found. The fact that there are THREE MORE dark-colored Mondeo wagons (and I’m willing to bet quite some money they are all manual diesels) is just a pure coincidence.


And it’s not that my neighborhood is full of car enthusiasts, savoring the enjoyable experience of rowing their own gears in a diesel powered wagon. No, their owners are probably just average guys who bought them because it’s the prudent thing to do. Because here, the Average Pepa (that’s Czech for Joe) loves diesels, because they’re cheap to feed (although often not very cheap to keep running). He loves wagons, because he feels he needs to move around unbelievable amounts of crap (or, most of the times, air) and he is scared of automatic transmissions, because of their alleged expensive repairs.


The last reason is quite funny – when I bought my own used diesel, automatic, liftback Ford Mondeo four years ago, I asked the guys at the Ford dealership whether it is a good buy. They replied they would be afraid of the diesel engine (which I needed, because of huge planned mileage), and that they would never choose an automatic transmission, because of it’s high repair costs. When I asked about a price of a complete transmission overhaul, I was given a price of 35,000 CZK (roughly two thousand bucks). So I asked about the price for a clutch replacement. And I was given a quote of 15,000 CZK. Plus 20,000 CZK for the double-mass flywheel, which has to be replaced with the clutch. I stared blankly, with a huge question mark over my head, but I thought “maybe the Ford transmissions are fragile and they go out often”. So I asked how many they have rebuilt.

The guy said “None, we just had one with malfunctioning electronics, it shifted a bit funny, but never actually gave out.”


But the other reasons – great mileage and cavernous boots – are for real. During my time with this Mondeo, which is 12 years old and totally clapped out, I drove it in just a moderately efficient way, keeping “American” highway speeds of about 70mph. The average fuel consumption was 5.1 litres per 100km, which translates to 46 mpg. Which included some city driving. On the highway alone, I got 4.8 l/100km, or 49 mpg. And when I had my own Mondeo, with significantly less efficient automatic transmission, it got around 40 mpg in normal driving style with moderately heavy foot, and 30 mpg when I was in a hurry (which meant stuff like constant 100+ mph drives on highway).

And the trunk? Just take a look at the picture with 17” tires in it. Unless you are taking family of five on vacation, it’s nigh on impossible to fill it with stuff. Add comfortable seating for four adults, and you have a wonderful package.


But — there must be some but, doesn’t it? In this case, it’s running costs. As often happens in the real world, it costs money to save money. In this case, it’s all the clever stuff that makes modern common-rail diesels run so smoothly and make so much power. Turbochargers, fuel injectors, high-pressure fuel pumps and other smaller items that tend to give up, and cost an exorbitant amount of money are the reasons why most experts only recommend modern diesel cars for annual mileages of 20 thousand miles and up. With European fuel prices, of course – in US, this number would multiply.


But I am still talking money and fuel economy and practicality. What about the European sophistication, the driving experience, the fun of manual transmission? The diesel manual wagon should be the Holy Grail of enthusiasts, so these things surely matter, don’t they? Ahem, nope. I wasn’t talking about driving dynamics, driving fun and other things usually associated with European Diesel Manual Wagons™ by US enthusiasts, because these are exactly NOT the reasons why people buy diesel wagons in Europe.

That’s not to say that all these fabled attributes don’t exist. The fact is that the Mondeo really does drive pretty well. With the suspension tuned on twisty, rutted English roads, it is a prime example of how a European car — or any car — should drive. The way its suspension works can be best described by a comparison to old Jaguars. It has the same combination of comfortable ride and precise handling. Its suspension is able to iron out bumps and potholes, without being too floaty in corners or feeling unstable or road undulations. It’s the kind of ability that cannot be explained or achieved through numbers – it’s product of countless hours and miles spent trying and testing on B-roads. And there’s the delightful way in which the Mondeo allows itself to be steered by throttle, transitioning from understeer to neutrality or even ever-so-slight oversteer depending on the position of your left foot.


And then there are the controls. It’s easy to find a proper seating position, the steering wheel is even able to relay some information about the front wheels’ grip, the seat is supportive and comfortable at the same time. Even the pedals are well-placed for heel-and-toe shifts, and shifter feels precise (I should probably say something about a rifle bolt here. I have never fired a rifle, but I imagine it works like a good manual shifter…). But there is one thing that is ruining the experience.

Yes, you’ve probably guessed it. It’s the engine. While the common-rail engines represented a quantum leap in refinement, compared to their older counterparts, the important part is always that they sound refined for a diesel. And even a pretty refined diesel still usually sounds like something that belongs to a farm, not highway. In steady driving, this is not a problem – the engine is quiet enough for its sound to be drowned by road and wind noise. But in spirited driving, the diesel rattle makes revving the engine rather unpleasant.


And it doesn’t end with the sound. The power delivery is anything but linear, with tremendous torque low-down and quick fade in the top end. This means you need to shift more often when you drive “enthusiastically”, and it’s harder and less enjoyable to do so with proper precision. In fact, turbodiesel engines feel much more at home teamed up with automatic transmission. Not only does the slushbox take away the need to constantly keep the engine in narrow powerband, but the torque converter is able to smooth out the power peak, making for much smoother and more pleasant experience. With automatic, it feels almost like large gas engine, only with ugly sound.


Here, I should probably remind you that the car I tested was 12 years old, and used an engine which went out of production four years ago. But even though diesel engines have made great leaps forward in recent years, both in terms of power and refinement, everything I said about the Mondeo is still true for today’s cars. Of course, there are extremely refined diesels nowadays, and a few of them are even quite fun to drive fast – BMW engines spring to mind here, as well as a few others – but even the best of them are still noticeably less refined than anything that burns gasoline.

Which is not to say that this car is a bad choice for the enthusiast. It’s really pleasant to drive, and fun enough for you to take the long and winding road from work. And with the frugal diesel engine, it can save you lots of money if you have to drive 20,000 or 30,000 miles, or even more, in a country where a LITER of fuel costs almost two bucks. But for every one of those many miles, you will be reminded that you were to cheap to buy a proper engine.


And, if you are into driving and cars, and you can even remotely afford not buying a diesel, you should buy something else. Actually, a used car I recommend most often to other people is this generation of Mondeo, but with 1.8 or 2.0 petrol engine – which offers a best compromise of fuel economy (still over 30mpg in mixed driving), driving enjoyment and reliability. But the enthusiasts’ choice in the Mondeo range was the ST220 – powered by, wait for it, a 3.0 V6 engine. This may sound boring in US, but ten years ago in Europe, it represented a real powerhouse with its 220 horsepower.

Which makes it quite funny for European to watch people from the other side of the pond lust after the slow, rattly, disgustingly rational cars we have here, while scoffing at the plethora of overpowered V6s and V8s which they can afford to run, while we have to make do with the oil-burners! In Part Two we’ll talk about an American wagon in Europe…

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Review: 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid (Video) Mon, 11 Mar 2013 07:08:00 +0000

Want a fuel-sipping, tree-hugging sedan with stunning good looks? Ford thinks they have the answer in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Can jamming a gasoline/electric drivetrain behind Ford’s sexy grille continue the love affair the press has had with Ford’s world-car? More importantly, can this Ford hybrid live up to its EPA numbers? Let’s find out.

Click here to view the embedded video.


The new Fusion is as striking as the old one was bland. Up front we have an Aston-Martin inspired grille, angry headlamps and a tastefully reserved quantity of chrome. Out back we have a less daring rear end that some of my friends thought looked “unfinished”  as if Ford just cut the sausage to the desired length. The stubby tail makes parallel parking a bit easier since it’s easy to know where your Fusion ends but I suspect rear-end repairs will be more costly than sedans with a more traditional bumper protrusion. The aggressive looks from the Optima and Fusion are refreshing in a segment full of humdrum slab sides and unrestrained chrome bling. I find the new Accord elegant in a 1990s Lexus sort of way, but the large green house screams family sedan. Toyota seems to have mated an edgy nose with refrigerator flat door panels to create a Camry that’s far from ugly but also far from sexy. Meanwhile VW’s Passat TDI strikes a very conservative pose with a large horizontal grille and segment-standard slab sides.


The new Fusion’s cabin has a level of refinement normally associated with European brands, and that makes sense since our Fusion is their Mondeo. The fit and finish in our tester was excellent with perfect seams and substantial feeling controls. While the new tiller doesn’t get soft split-grain leather like the new Accord, Ford’s new button arrangements are easier to use, easier to reach and feel better built than the wheel in the C-MAX and Escape. Like other Fusion models, most Hybrids sitting on the lot will look as if they were carved out of a single piece of black plastic. Selecting the tan cloth or the [seemingly] rare tan leather interior helps the interior feel warmer but there’s no way to avoid the large expanse of black that is the dashboard, carpet and large portion of the doors. If you love tan, keep in mind the Titanium comes only in black.

Front seat comfort is excellent although a step behind the Honda Accord which has the most comfortable seats in the segment. The Camry’s thrones are more “American-sized” but they aren’t as bolstered as those in the Fusion. Since seat preferences are as unique as people, spend some time behind the wheel before you buy. Unlike some of the competition, Ford’s tilt/telescoping steering wheel provides a large range of motion making it easy to accommodate drivers of different heights. Hybrid Fusions get standard10-way powered seats with an optional three-position memory system (standard on Titanium). As you would expect, the passenger doesn’t get the same kind of seat-love with your choice of manual or 4-way power adjusting.

Rear seats are as low to the ground as any in this segment, and far less bolstered than those in the front. Thanks to the sexy side-profile getting in and out of the rear seat required ducking more than in the competition and it cuts down on head room. If you find yourself needing to carry passengers in the rear that are over 6’1”, get the Camry, Passat or wait for the Accord. As always, I recommend you take your whole family with you shopping, stuff them all in the car and see how comfortable everyone is. Want to know more about the seating and cargo room? Check out the video review.

In an effort to increase useable cargo capacity (and improve mileage) Ford shifted from nickel based batteries to trendy and energy dense lithium-ion cells. The battery now sits on the floor of the trunk behind the rear seats and thanks to its reduced size, the rear seats are able to fold, something not possible with last year’s model. The folding rear seats are a novelty in this phone-booth sized segment with the Optima and Sonata ditching theirs entirely and the Camry offering a letter-box sized ski pass-through behind the passenger seat preventing long items from being inserted. When it comes to final capacity the Fusion lands in the middle with 12-cubes of cargo room compared to the Camry’s 13.1 and the Korean’s 9.9. If you click on the gallery at the bottom of this review you’ll see that the Fusion’s trunk is shaped so that it is possible to put roller bags on top of the battery making the trunk a bit more useful than the slightly larger Camry’s cargo hold.

Infotainment & Gadgets

All SE models start with a basic radio featuring six speakers, USB/iDevice control, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth phone integration and SYNC voice commands. If you don’t want your Fusion to be possessed by Ford’s touchscreen daemons, this is your only choice but at least it is an easy one to live with. Even the base SE model comes with power windows and door locks, a perimeter alarm, power driver’s seat, auto headlamps, body-colored mirrors and the keyless entry keypad that’s been a Ford hallmark for ages.

Most shoppers will need to get used to Ford’s temperamental touchscreen.  If you want to check pretty much any option box on the Fusion, MFT either needs to be selected first or it is included in the bundle. Want dual-zone climate control, a backup cam, blind spot monitoring, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a 120V outlet, cross traffic alert, etc? Better like MFT as well.

The $895 MFT option (standard on Titanium) consists of an 8-inch LCD in the dash, twin 4.2-inch LCDs in the gauge cluster, improved voice commands which now include climate control and touch-sensitive buttons for your HVAC system. Also bundled with the system is a backup camera and a 110V outlet in the center console. Thankfully, the latest version of Ford’s software seems to have resolved the frequent software crashes that plagues the system when it launched but the responsiveness issues persist. Perhaps worse for Ford than the slow graphics is that the competition has caught up and now offers similar levels of voice control and media device integration. MFT may still be one of the best looking systems on the market and it does bring a partial LCD dash to the party, but with viable options from the competition it has lost some of its shine.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Ford’s touch controls, they did prove more dependable than Cadillac’s new touch button setup and we noticed none of the fine scratched I have noticed on the Accord and Camry’s infotainment controls. If you want the best in factory entertainment, you should know the 12-speaker Sony branded audio system is only available in the more expensive Titanium.

The SE and Titanium trims can both be had with an impressive list of options from an automated-parking system to adaptive cruise control and an innovative lane departure prevention system. Unlike most of the LDP systems up to this point, the Ford system doesn’t apply the brakes to one side of the car to get you back on track – it simply turns the steering wheel. The system is both slightly creepy and very effective. With the ability to apply more force to keep you in the lane than competing systems, the steering input feels more like a hand on the wheel than a gentle suggestion. If safety is your shtick, it’s worth noting that the Fusion and Accord scored well in the new IIHS small-overlap test while the top-selling Camry tied with the Prius V for the worst of the group according to the IIHS.


Under the hood you’ll find Ford’s completely redesigned hybrid system with a downsized 2.0L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine good for 141HP and 129lb-ft of twist. This is down slightly from the old 155HP 2.5L engine but Ford makes up for that with the hefty 118HP motor/generator inside their all-new HF34 hybrid transaxle. The combined system is good for 188HP and a TTAC estimated 200-220lb-ft of torque.

Rather than offering different hybrid systems for different vehicles like Toyota does, Ford uses the same system across their line up from the C-MAX to the Lincoln MKZ. While the heart of the system may be the new engine, the soul is the new 1.4kWh battery which is not only smaller and more energy dense than the old nickel pack, it can charge and discharge more rapidly as well. This improved battery “bandwidth” coupled to the stronger motors in their in-house hybrid transaxle allow the new Fusion Hybrid to motor down the highway on electrons alone up to 62MPH. It’s also the reason Ford claims the Fusion gets 47MPG City, 47MPG Highway and 47MPG on the combined cycle.

Oh that fuel economy

Fuel economy is a tricky business because your driving style, topography and curb weight are huge factors. I would caution readers to never compare our numbers with other publications because the driving conditions and styles are different. Still, nobody seems to be getting the vaulted 47MPGs in the latest Ford hybrid vehicles, TTAC included. Over a week and 568 miles our Fusion averaged 41MPG in mixed driving and my mountain commute, about 5/10ths lower than the C-MAX Hybrid I had two months earlier. Despite the fact that both the C-MAX and the Fusion Hybrid weight about the same (3,600lbs), the C-MAX was never able to get more than 45MPG no matter what I did.

The Fusion on the other hand managed 49MPG on a 36 mile level drive in moderate traffic and 46MPG on a level highway at 68MPH. While I wouldn’t say the Fusion meets expectations when it comes to fuel economy, it is better than the Kia’s 35.6MPG on the same course and a hair better than the Camry’s 40.5MPG. While I’m disappointed Ford’s new hybrid system hasn’t lived up to its advertising, the Fusion Hybrid is still the most efficient mid-sized sedan and it beats Ford’s 1.6L Ecoboost model by 12.5MPG in my tests.

I’ve included the Passat TDI here because I know a large segment of our readers would complain if it was missing. Still, I have trouble believing that many gasoline/electric hybrid shoppers would seriously cross shop the TDI. Should they? That depends. When we last had the Passat TDI we averaged 37MPG in mixed driving, 44 on the highway and around 29 in the city. If you commute in traffic, most of the hybrid options would deliver better mileage. Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of diesel in America, out here on the left-coast the cheapest diesel around according to was $4.09, a $0.25 premium over regular unleaded. This translated into $400 more in fuel costs per year over the MPGs we averaged in the Fusion Hybrid.


Despite having a decidedly American-sized 112.2-inch wheelbase, it’s obvious Ford’s European division took the lead when it came to the chassis. The result is a ride that is incredibly composed, tight in the corners and as communicative as anything with electric power steering. The surprises continue when you shift your right foot over to find linear brake feel, absolutely no Taurus-like brake fade and short stopping distances. Of course this is the hybrid model so there is still a transition point where the car adds friction braking in addition to the regenerative braking as you stop so things aren’t as smooth as with the “regular” Fusion. However, Ford’s new HF35 hybrid transaxle is quite simply the smoothest hybrid system this side of the Lexus LS 600hL easily besting the Camry and Lexus ES 300h in terms of hybrid system polish.

The Fusion provides, hands down, the best driving experience in this segment. Our tester ran to 60 in 7.31 seconds, only a hair behind the Camry, 1 second faster than the Optima and 2 seconds ahead of the Passat TDI, but it’s not straight line performance that I’m talking about. Thanks to wide 225-width rubber the Fusion is the first hybrid sedan I can describe as “fun” on mountain roads. I wouldn’t call it a corner carver, but it doesn’t immediately head for the bushes like an out of control land-yacht either. Sadly my theory for why the Fusion fails to live up to its 47MPG highway ratings is inexorably linked to its fun quotient. The larger your contact patch with the road, the more resistance you get and the lower your fuel economy will be. Still, looks sell (just ask Victoria’s  Secret) and the Fusion’s combination of dashing good looks, excellent (but well below claimed) fuel economy and the best hybrid driving dynamics the Fusion is quite simply the best fuel-sipping mid-sized sedan for 2013.

Hit it

  • Best pre-collision system in the segment, if you can afford it.
  • Sportiest hybrid sedan on the market.
  • Aston Martin’s mini-me.

Quit it

  • Rear seats are cramped for adult passengers.
  • Fuel economy doesn’t live up to the lofty claims unless you’re driving 55 on a flat highway.
  • MyFord Touch now has some serious competition.

Ford provided the vehicle, one tank of gas and insurance for this review

0-30: 3.15 Seconds

0-60: 7.31 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.86 Seconds @ 90.4 MPH

Average Fuel Economy:41MPG over 568 Miles

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Side 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Hybrid Logo, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Rear 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Exterior, Tail lamps, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Gauge Cluster, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Infotainment, MyFord Touch 2013, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Center Console, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Steering Wheel, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Steering Wheel, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Driver's Side, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Memory Buttons, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Dashboard and Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Front Cabin, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Rear Seats, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Rear Console, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Engine, 2.0L Atkinson Cycle Ford Hybrid HF35, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Engine, 2.0L Atkinson Cycle Ford Hybrid HF35, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Trunk, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Rear Seats Folded, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Interior, Trunk, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid Fuel Economy Display, 49MPG, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Hit it or Quit It? Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 110
NAIAS Preview: Ford Serves Up Some Global Fusion Sun, 08 Jan 2012 18:50:23 +0000

Ever since the ill-fated Contour experiment, Ford has maintained a strict separation in its global midsized offerings: Fusion for the Americas and Mondeo for Europe (let’s ignore, for the moment, Australia’s Falcon as the doomed atavism it is). But under the global “One Ford” strategy, a fusion (ahem) of The Blue Oval’s midsized offerings was inevitable, and Ford has signaled for some time that the Fusion and Mondeo are on the verge of becoming one. And here, courtesy of the, is the first leaked image of Ford’s unified, world-wide midsized contender: though the Fusion and Mondeo names will continue to be used in their respective markets, this car will carry both badges. But are we looking at a revolution in the oft-troubled “world car” game, or a repeat of the Contour’s compromises? Only time will tell…

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail newmondeo1 Hungry for some global fusion? ( Ford serves up some global Fusion... (courtesy: ]]> 43
Ford’s New Fusion/Mondeo Is So Secret, Even Its Alloys Are Camouflaged Thu, 10 Nov 2011 21:43:15 +0000

This mule of Ford’s new global midsized car may be well-camouflaged, but it’s not hard to imagine something not unlike the new EVOS concept lurking underneath all that bulk. Think narrow, slit-like headights, a version of the Hyundai-esque hexagonal grille that we’ve seen on the updated Taurus SHO, a high beltline and a fastback-ish C-pillar, and you’re probably getting close. Which leaves the final mystery: what in the foxtrot will those alloys look like? Try not to lose too much sleep over that one…

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Piston Slap: Hello Kitty! Contouring the American Mondeo’s future? Mon, 10 Oct 2011 16:50:42 +0000  


TTAC commentator sastexan writes:


You proved yourself smart by changing over to the older rod shift transmission linkage on your Cougar SVT. My shift cables are broken again – although this time probably due to the 1st mechanic’s ineptitude and unwillingness to finish the job he started and align it correctly. The end that attaches to the shifter is worn out so the shifter keeps popping off the cable end – which was interesting to reconnect while I was driving in stop and go traffic on the (in)famous Washington Beltway. Unfortunately, the plastic insert on the Contour cables is not replaceable – the only way to fix it is to replace the entire cable set – which is a giant PITA. Oh well.

I also talked to Terry Haines, the transmission guy – if you haven’t heard of him before, he’s a former Ford engineer who has his own shop now, mostly working on MTX75 transmissions. He rebuilt my transmission at 100k, upgraded the shift forks, put in a quaife, replaced two syncros that were going bad. He walked me through the procedure to replace the shift cables (more than I can handle) and we also discussed why the Duratec V6s are puking rods – he unequivocally believes that it is due to the powdered metal connecting rods Ford started using around ’97 – he said that some spec must have changed because earlier Duratec have no con rod issues. In his teardown of motors, he said all the ones that have thrown rods had nothing to do with oil starvation – it all had to do with the con rods stretching out of spec and causing spun bearings then snapping the con rods. He also said SVT engines are more susceptible, due to higher compression and typically harder lives. And he said that the 3L upgrades everyone is doing has the same con rods and is just as at risk – Ford just ignored the problem in the Duratec.
Since you have plans for your Cougar, thought you would be interested in this line of thinking.

Sajeev answers:

Thanks for the heads up on Mr. Haines’ theory: it’s a direct contradiction to what I heard about bits of catalyst from the “pre-cats” in the exhaust getting sucked up, from a bad design of catalytic converter/exhaust manifold.

Either way, that’s just faaan-frickin-tastic.

I have yet to “buy back” my Cougar from Luke, the central Texas Ford Contour genius and all around cool cat. Even if he did put a Hello Kitty tailpipe on it, which implies I now have “Girl power” combined with the same connecting rod worries that decommissioned this Cougar in the first place?

It’s all good, because this Cougar will never be a daily driver. It’s a sleeper with quite a well sorted chassis that even Clarkson rather enjoyed. More to the point, the 3.0L Duratec swap fixes the only problem both myself and Clarkson felt: a lack of balls on this kitty. Try 250-ish horses, put down through that solid rod-shift transaxle and a Quaife diff.

I visited the Cougar last year, drove it around the block just to feel the catnip. SHO-nuff, this Cougar will hunt. There’s reasonable low end, with a smooth (and torque-steer light) powerband that screams all the way to 7000rpm like any other Contour SVT. Except with something approaching 12:1 compression, which sounds absolutely thrilling with every run to redline: I could really put the hurt on unsuspecting racers in this ride. Me likey everything about this plan…except the Hello Kitty Tailpipe.

Back to your points: old cars are such a pain in the ass! Granted the numerous cases of Duratec V6 failures are unfair to the thousands of people in Dearborn that made the rather awesome American Mondeo—and the rest of us who enjoyed them—there’s still the matter of driving a complicated car well past its “expiration date.” In general, bad stuff happens. Some dude won’t rebuild your tranny right, and the cables get fubar’d. And there you are on the beltway fixing your ride, hoping for the best.

It. Never. Ends. So when are you sidelining it and getting a more trustworthy daily driver?

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

The Contour/Cougar/Mondeo is proof of two things. First, some cars win our hearts and minds…even if they didn’t do their job, ahem, as well as planned. Second, they will get better with age, if they aren’t driven as primary transportation.

Send your queries to . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Review: Ford Mondeo 2.3 Titanium Wed, 05 May 2010 16:07:44 +0000

You can spell favorite both ways – the American way, with a single ‘o’ – and the British way, with a ‘u’ following suit. The Ford Fusion and Ford Mondeo are not unlike this fascinating grammatical phenomenon: they both come from the same manufacturer, and they both answer the equally strong demand for misize cars on both sides of the ocean – but they both differ in execution. Right?

Ford’s last attempt to tempt American customers with a European-derived midsize sedan failed miserably. It was called the Contour (Mondeo in Europe), and it literally fell between the chairs – it wasn’t a proper midsize car by American standards, nor was it a proper compact which residents on the western side of the Atlantic could relate to. The Contour was gone after a few years of dawdling sales, never to return again.

But here we have the newest Ford Mondeo. Introduced in 2007 – and first driven by Agent 007 himself in Casino Royale, no less – it aimed at replacing the humdrum sedan which came before it with a bit more zest, and a lot more size.

While zest can be subjective, there’s definitely no arguing about the sheer size of the Mondeo. It’s no longer a compact-and-a-half – in fact, it trumps the Fusion in every exterior dimension, save for length – in which it’s exactly equal to the domestic sedan. At 112-and-something inches, its wheelbase brushes on the Mercedes E Class’s and its 74 inches of sheer width glance downwards on the S Class itself. Maybe these impressive figures shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as the Mondeo shares its underpinnings with the Volvo S80.

Even with a quick glance from the outside, almost every inch of these impressive sheet-paper specs is apparent. The Mondeo looks massive, solid, and respectable – you can insert your own row of adjectives here. When it was introduced, Ford went to great lengths to emphasize the new “Kinetic Design Language” that was introduced along with it – see, you’re supposed to imagine the Mondeo moving, even when it’s stuck in harsh London traffic.

The thing is, kinetic design aside, this Euro-sedan ain’t pretty. The front is a good effort, what with its gently-chromed mesh grill (on the top of the line Titanium tester) and two swooping profile lines (say kinetic!) going all the way from the hood to the trunk. On their way over back there, however, something goes terribly wrong. The trunk is flat, looks glued-on and simply doesn’t harmonize with the rest of the car; if you stare long enough at the rear lights you’ll be able to see a kid’s sketch of a car with a huge side windshield. Kinetic windshield, so to speak. As if the complete lack of harmony between front and rear styling wasn’t enough, Ford has chosen to hide the twin exhausts under the cavernous body (why?), making up for that sin with a small diffuser with bullet holes in it.

As far as first impressions go, you’re better off starting with the interior, which manages to make up for the exterior’s disappointments. The build quality is good, and everything seems to be firmly secured in place – the doors are almost too heavy. More importantly, the cabin is a nice place to be – save for the slightly gloomy interior colors. Leather covers the seat bolsters as well as other critical areas and the softer kind of plastic is used generously throughout – and what’s not soft is generally good quality, unless you go touchin’ in hidden areas. The center console comes complete with a brushed aluminum finish which looks and feels good.

Most controls are simple and intuitive, with a logical layout and no excess of buttons. Due to the sheer width of the car, some of the controls – like the climate control panel – can be hard to reach if you’re of smaller proportions. The same goes for the gear lever which is a bit of a stretch for lazier arms. The touchscreen audio system you see in the photos is an aftermarket installation offered as an option by the dealer – the standard car comes with an original Sony stereo. Both are good sounding and easy to use.

There’s ample space in the cabin, too, thanks to the exterior dimensions. Shoulder room is especially impressive – both in the front and back. Four adults will feel comfortable in the Mondeo – both in terms of space and seat comfort. The front seats are, however, too wide for my size and don’t provide enough side bolstering. You can put the trunk on the ‘disappointing’ list as well. At 17.4 cubic feet, it isn’t exactly small – but it’s smaller than what you’d expect – especially while compared to the exterior – and not particularly easy to load due to a slightly raised floor.

My tester was equipped with a four cylinder 2.3 liter gas engine pumping out about 160 horsepower and a six-speed Durashift automatic. If the numbers add up to something familiar, it’s only because they should – the engine is courtesy of Mazda, having served its duty in the previous-generation Mazda3 and Mazda6. This is a large engine by European standards, judging by the Mondeo’s automatic gas-powered competitors which utilize 2.0 and smaller units – but then again, you have to remember this is the rarest Mondeo powertrain in diesel-loving Europe.

160 horsepower don’t sound like overwhelming power in a midsize sedan, and with a weight figure of more than 1.5 tons, it really isn’t. The Mondeo does the standard sprint to 60 in 10.5 seconds, but that’s only telling half the story, because despite the lack of power the engine and transmission combination works quite well, if a bit lacking in the sound department – provided you’re not hurrying anywhere, of course. Shifts are usually smooth, save for downshifts to first gear with manual control, and the engine donates whatever power it has to give in a fairly civilized manner.

The good news is that this engine is history, with the newly-facelifted Mondeo receiving a new 2.0 EcoBoost engine with 203 horsepower, without any cosmetic changes to the exterior. It will also receive Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift gearbox. Which is just as well, as this Mondeo with a fresh 120 miles on the odometer, exhibited a not-too-impressive fuel consumption figure of just below 19 mpg during combined (if a little aggressive) driving.

It takes only a couple of minutes to realize that the Mondeo’s suspension is tuned to the softer side, and only a few seconds more to appreciate this. Ride quality is excellent with even rough roads failing to break the Mondeo out of its serenity, and yet the car never feels oversprung or floaty. Noticeable winds noises from the A pillar, which start at 70 mph, will be your primary cause for concern during a freeway cruise.

The previous Mondeo’s trump card was its balanced handling, so there was reasonable cause for worry that the many inches and pounds the new Mondeo gathered over the years will affect its athletic capabilities. The answer is twofold: yes, the new Mondeo feels heavier and a bit more disconnected than the previous generation, but it’s still a lot of fun to drive on twisting roads – almost more so than a car of its weight and caliber should.

The Mondeo grips the tarmac quite well and there’s even reasonable feel from the hydraulically-assisted steering. It resists understeer well, but driver provocations will quickly send the hyperactive electronic nanny berserk. The Achilles heels of the Mondeo’s dynamic abilities, like in some genuine American Fords, are the brakes. They border on average in strength, and the pedal feels too mushy and imprecise.

The name Mondeo is derived from the Latin word mundos, meaning world. The third generation Mondeo can finally carry this title in total peace of mind. The Ford Mondeo offers a complete package with a roomy interior, good cabin, excellent dynamic abilities and perhaps most importantly – that solid ‘big car’ feel, without the big car price.

It’s one car which could have been equally enjoyed by people on both sides of the pond, but instead Ford is waiting for the next-generation Mondeo to launch as a global car, like it recently did with the Focus. Judging by the quality of the effort on this sedan, I’d say they have a good chance of making it work.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

This review brought to you by

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