The Truth About Cars » Mondeo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:10:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Mondeo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2015 Ford Edge Ecoboost Review with Video http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2015-ford-edge-ecoboost-review-video/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116857 The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and […]

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2015 Ford Edge Exterior Front-002

The large two-row crossover is a rare breed. With compact crossovers getting less compact and folks defecting to supersized three rows, Toyota and Honda chose to kill the Venza and Accord Crosstour while Ford pressed on with a redesign of the Edge. You can think of the Edge as a “tweener” crossover slotting between the Escape and the Explorer while at the same time being the spiritual successor (in modern form) to the Bronco and two-row Explorers of yesteryear. Although Ford says the Edge is a complete redesign, you could be forgiven for thinking this is more of a refresh, and that’s not a bad thing since the Edge was already one the most appealing options in this phone-booth-sized segment.

Exterior
Although the 2015 Edge looks more like a lightly massaged 2014 than an all-new model, it actually rides on a different platform with two all-new engines under the hood and shares surprisingly little with its predecessor in terms of parts. The last-generation Edge was designed around Ford’s “CD3″ parts bin which was co-designed with Mazda and from those building blocks came the last-generation Fusion, Mazda6, MKZ and even the CX-9. For 2015 Ford pulls from the new CD4 parts bin which serves as the basis for the current Fusion and will underpin the new Taurus and Flex among others. Although weight reduction is all the rage these days, the platform swap sheds less than 100 pounds from the Edge’s curb weight.

This change under the sheetmetal explains the Edge’s growth which is up four inches overall with a one-inch wheelbase stretch. The increase gives the Edge a sleeker and less boxy profile than before while offering more interior room. Meanwhile, Ford tacked on a new grille that strikes me as the merger of Hyundai and Ford’s styling cues. Since the Venza and Crosstour are leaving us this year (production has supposedly already stopped) this means the Edge’s direct competition comes in the form of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Nissan Murano and certain versions of the Kia Sorento which comes as either a two- or three-row crossover for 2016. If you want to expand the pool, the Grand Cherokee and Lexus RX are also plausible cross-shops, although the Jeep is far more off-road focused and the RX truly competes with the Edge’s ritzy brother: the Lincoln MKX.

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard

Interior
Having not sat inside an Edge in about a year, I had to hunt one down to figure out what changed. The short answer is: everything. The long answer is: the design is similar enough to the outgoing model that current Edge shoppers will feel right at home, but different enough to give them a reason to lease another. Ford merged the squarish style of the 2014 interior with design cues from the latest Focus and Fusion. Instead of continuing Ford’s button minimalism strategy, 2015 adds buttons to make the infotainment system and climate control easier to use.

Front-seat comfort is excellent, although you’ll find that the new Murano’s seats are a hair softer and the 2016 Sorento (in top end trims) offers a wider range of seat adjustments. Rear-seat comfort is excellent and I found the rear cabin more comfortable than the competition, especially the Jeep which has strangely stiff seat cushions. Seat comfort is, in general, a reason to upgrade from a compact crossover to this midsized category. Much of the increased comfort comes from increased legroom and headroom. For 2015, the Edge gains three inches of combined room vs the outgoing model. The way legroom is measured seems to be a matter of constant debate, highlighted by the similar legroom numbers you get in the Honda CR-V. However, in the real world, the Edge not only feels larger, but it’s larger in practical terms as well. In the Edge I was able to properly install a rear-facing child seat behind a 6’2″ passenger, something I could not do in the CR-V. In the way-back you’ll find 25 to 40 percent more cargo room than most compact crossovers, but less than the average 3-row crossover with the 3rd row folded.

2015 Ford Edge MyFord Touch

Infotainment
Ford’s touchscreen infotainment system is not long for this world. Starting in the 2016 calendar year, we will see the highly-anticipated SYNC3 system start to roll into Ford models. Until the software refresh hits however, the Edge will soldier on with the base 4.2-inch SYNC system or the optional 8-inch MyFord Touch (optional in SEL and standard in Titanium and Sport). Since LCD love is all the rage, SEL models can be equipped with Ford’s ubiquitous partial LCD instrument cluster (standard in Titanium and Sport) where twin 4.2-inch displays flank a large central speedometer. Base models get a 6-speaker unbranded audio system and shoppers can option up a 9-speaker premium option or a 12-speaker Sony audio system as our tester was equipped. The twin-LCD system is starting to look dated compared to the LCD clusters that are optional in high end trims of the Grand Cherokee and Sorento but on par with what’s in the Murano.

MyFord Touch is one of the most maligned infotainment systems on the market, but it is also one of the most fully featured. Even in 2015 there are still mainline brands that don’t offer voice command of your USB-connected music library. At this point Ford has addressed most of the major issues that plagues the MFT system launch, except for the speed. Interacting with the touchscreen requires patience as screen changes are considerably slower than the Kia, Chrysler, GM and Toyota alternatives.

Integrated telematics systems that email you vehicle health reports, allow you to call a concierge, request emergency assistance and know when your airbags have gone off are seeing a renaissance. This generation of Ford’s infotainment system includes SYNC Services which offers OnStar-like telematics without the integrated modem. On the downside, if you’ve forgotten your phone and you get in an accident, the car can’t dial for help.

2015 Ford Edge 2.0L Ecoboost Turbo Engine-001

Drivetrain
Last time we looked at the Edge, Ford made the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder a $995 option over the 3.5-liter V6. In an interesting reversal, the V6 is now a $425 optional engine and the 2.0-liter is standard. Despite the identical displacement, the 2.0-liter is almost a new engine. Ford increased the compression, fiddled with the fuel and oiling systems and tacked on a new twin-scroll turbocharger for improved efficiency and a broader torque curve. Power is up 5 horsepower and 5 lb-ft over last year to 245 and 275 respectively with a beefier power band. That’s 35 fewer ponies than the optional V6, but 25 lb-ft more. Also different from last year, you can finally get the small Ecoboost engine with all-wheel drive.

Making the Edge Sport sportier than before is another new engine: the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 from Ford’s F-150. Inserted sideways under the Edge’s hood, the turbo-six loses a little power but still trumps the outgoing 3.7-liter V6 by 10 ponies and 70 lb-ft (315 hp 350 lb-ft). More impressively, that torque comes to a boil 1,250 RPM sooner. In perhaps the most interesting twist, the Edge Sport doesn’t come with AWD standard. That’s right, all 350 lb-ft of twist are routed to the front wheels only by default. Torque steer? You betcha.

2015 Ford Edge Exterior-001
Drive
Torque steer isn’t just what classifies the 2.7-liter turbo. The 2.0-liter turbo has plenty of that particular demon under the hood as well. (Although I find the act of controlling torque steer amusing, I also willingly bought a new Chrysler LHS at age 18, so take that into consideration.) Put the pedal to the metal and the small turbo engine whirs to life with a hair of lag that’s very similar to BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo. After 7.5 seconds the Edge will hit 60 mph, followed by the 1/4 mile in 15.8 seconds. That’s almost half a second slower than the Murano and V6 Grand Cherokee but only a hair behind the Santa Fe Sport and Sorento with the 2.0-liter turbo. Shoppers should know that a dealer provided 3.5-liter V6 model was just 2/10ths faster to 60 and posted essentially identical 1/4 mile numbers while drinking more fuel. Why is it a $425 option? Because some folks just want six cylinders. (In case you were wondering, a brief test in an AWD Edge Sport (dealer provided) ran to 60 in a scant 5.8 seconds.)

Curb weight ranges from 3,912 pounds in the FWD 2.0-liter Ecoboost base model to a maximum of 4,236 pounds in the FWD Sport model. If you want AWD, it adds around 165 pounds, bringing the AWD Sport to a fairly hefty 4,400 pounds when fully equipped. Despite the weight, the Edge handles surprisingly well. You can thank a few things for that: the wide 64.8 inch track, standard 245-width rubber and a suspension design that’s related to Ford’s global portfolio including the current European Mondeo. Somewhat surprisingly, jumping from the base SE to the Titanium or Sport trims doesn’t buy you wider rubber but the aspect ratio falls from 245/60R18s in the SE to 245/55R19s in the Titanium and 245/50R20s in the Sport. While the aspect ratio and spring rates obviously play a role in lateral grip, the SE and Sport are closer together than you think. (As a late 2015 option Ford will offer an optional 265/40R21 wheel and tire package with summer rubber which we were not able to test.)

2015 Ford Edge Interior Dashboard-004

The hefty curb weight, moderately soft springs and 55-series tires combine to give the Edge a compliant highway ride that wafted over potholed and rough pavement without batting an eye. While not as soft as the new Murano, the Edge has a more pleasing balance because the Nissan often feels too soft on your favorite winding mountain road. Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport actually deserves its name because it feels the most nimble and athletic in the corners. The Hyundai weighs around 500 pounds less which certainly doesn’t hurt, but the suspension is also tuned on the firmer side of this segment. On the other side is the Grand Cherokee which, thanks to its off-road mission, weighs more, is higher off the ground and feels more ponderous. Meanwhile the Sorento straddles the middle of the segment thanks to a light curb weight and moderately firm springs. Steering feel is numb but accurate and I had no problems understanding what the front wheels were up to.

Priced between $28,100 for a FWD SE model and $48,100 for the AWD Sport trim, the Edge starts more expensive and scales higher than the Korean options. However, shoppers need to look beyond the low starting price with the Kia and Hyundai because base Santa Fe and Sorento models come with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that is considerably less powerful than the Edge’s base engine and the Koreans have fewer features standard as well. Equip the Hyundai and Kia with a 2.0-liter turbo engine so they compare more directly with the Edge and they ring in at $31,250 and $31,100 respectively, giving Ford the upper hand in MSRP. The value pricing continues against Nissan and Jeep with the Edge undercutting the Murano by around $1,000 across the line and the Jeep by $1,500-2,000 depending on the options.

Nissan’s Murano wins the award for being the best highway cruiser in the bunch. The Jeep is the off-road alternative and the Edge is the value leader. The Kia, however, is my top choice. The Sorento has a fresher look, it’s slightly bigger with a nicer interior and a 0-60 time that’s a bit faster as well. The Sorento handles surprisingly well in its latest generation and top-end trims are better equipped than the Edge. While the Sorento EX is more expensive than a base Edge, you do get more feature content in the Kia and by the time you compare top-end trims the Sorento is less expensive. The only trouble with the Sorento is that Kia attempts to compete with the Edge, Escape and Explorer with one vehicle. Get the base Sorento and it’s Escape priced with 2 rows and a weak 2.4-liter engine. The 2.0-liter turbo Sorento is a 2-row luxury-leaning crossover with optional Nappa leather and HID headlamps. Check the box for the V6 and you get a small third row for your mother-in-law as a smaller alternative to the Explorer. This means that V6 Edge competition gets whittled down to just the Nissan and the Jeep.

After a week with the 2.0-liter Ecoboost Edge I have come to a few conclusions. First up, skip the V6 as it really makes no sense. The fuel economy in the 2.0-liter turbo is better and the performance is nearly identical. Second, get AWD even if you live below the snow belt, unless you really love torque steer. Third, the front-wheel peel in a FWD 2.7-liter twin-turbo Edge Sport made me giggle. If you’re shopping for the best 2.0-liter turbo crossover in this segment, stop by your Kia dealer. However, if you want something this size that will put a smile on your face without braking the bank, the Edge Sport is the CUV you’re looking for. The Edge Sport AWD bridges the gap between the fire-breathing Grand Cherokee SRT and a mainstream crossover like the Sorento and Santa Fe Sport. Think of the Edge Sport as the gravel-road version of the Taurus SHO. I’ll take a red one.

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

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.65

0-60: 7.5

1/4 Mile: 15.80 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average Economy: 24.6 MPG

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Ford Modifies Mondeo, Will Sell Locally Built Edges In Effort To Double Chinese Market Share by 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/ford-modifies-mondeo-will-sell-locally-built-edges-in-effort-to-double-chinese-market-share-by-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/ford-modifies-mondeo-will-sell-locally-built-edges-in-effort-to-double-chinese-market-share-by-2015/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:41:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=503073 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 […]

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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.

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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” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/a-tale-of-two-wagons-part-the-first-2001-ford-mondeo-2-0-tdci-or-the-famed-manual-diesel-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/a-tale-of-two-wagons-part-the-first-2001-ford-mondeo-2-0-tdci-or-the-famed-manual-diesel-wagon/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496478 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 […]

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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.

Mondeo01

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.

Mondeo07

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.”

Mondeo06

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.

Mondeo11

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.

Mondeo09

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.

Mondeo10

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.

Mondeo08

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.

Mondeo09

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.

Mondeo02

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) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/review-2013-ford-fusion-hybrid-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/review-2013-ford-fusion-hybrid-video/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 07:08:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480224 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 […]

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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.

Exterior

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.

Interior

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.

Drivetrain

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 GasBuddy.com 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.

Drive

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

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NAIAS Preview: Ford Serves Up Some Global Fusion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/naias-preview-new-ford-fusion-global/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/naias-preview-new-ford-fusion-global/#comments Sun, 08 Jan 2012 18:50:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=424773 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 […]

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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 autoforum.cz, 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? (courtesy:autoforum.cz) Ford serves up some global Fusion... (courtesy: Autocar.co.uk)

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Ford’s New Fusion/Mondeo Is So Secret, Even Its Alloys Are Camouflaged http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/fords-new-fusionmondeo-is-so-secret-even-its-alloys-are-camouflaged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/fords-new-fusionmondeo-is-so-secret-even-its-alloys-are-camouflaged/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2011 21:43:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417712 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, […]

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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? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/piston-slap-hello-kitty-contouring-the-american-mondeos-future/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/piston-slap-hello-kitty-contouring-the-american-mondeos-future/#comments Mon, 10 Oct 2011 16:50:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413980     TTAC commentator sastexan writes: Sajeev, 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 […]

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TTAC commentator sastexan writes:

Sajeev,

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 sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . 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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/review-ford-mondeo-2-3-titanium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/05/review-ford-mondeo-2-3-titanium/#comments Wed, 05 May 2010 16:07:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=355367 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 […]

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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 icar.co.il


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