Cars

Published on July 5th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair

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Ford Mondeo: Attainable Exclusivity

The D-segment is my least favourite class of car in Malaysia. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great offerings from the usual suspects, but they all lack a certain desirability. The fact that the most popular ones sold here are high-volume also tends to dampen the exclusivity that ought to come with owning a car manufacturer’s most expensive sedan offering.

That being said, most D-segment buyers in Malaysia typically go for the car that properly reflects their own personality. It’s no surprise then that the most-popular personality in this segment tends to be the prudent, practical, by-the-books Toyota and Honda men/women.  There are plenty of other D-segment offerings from Mazda, Nissan, Volkswagen and the Korean cousins  that cover the 7 shades of  ‘reasonable’ and  ’careful’ personality types that make up about 90% of the market share.

So where do the remaining 10% go for something a little more thrilling?

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Right here of course.

The all-new Ford Mondeo is exciting, it’s worthy of want. You wouldn’t imagine this being the sort of car that would end up as a poster in a kid’s bedroom, but then again, maybe it deserves that honour. Just look at it. That styling wouldn’t be amiss on a car twice the Mondeo’s price, but let’s not get into pricing just yet.

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There’s a more aggression in Ford’s new design language than there ever has been, and it’s very evident here that the Mondeo isn’t keen on looking like your average family car and goes for something you would expect to see on a more luxurious continental compact executive. There are plenty of well-placed character lines that really bring out the masculinity of the new design. That being said, one would have expected the Mondeo to be equipped with slightly larger rims to make it look more like a concept car come to life.

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For all the flash of the exterior, it’s actually very well composed on the inside. Besides the eye-grabbing semi-floating centre stack, most of the trim and cabin construction is pretty subdued. Instead, Ford let the tech do most of the talking here.  Right away, the driver will notice that there aren’t any dials on the information cluster. That’s because it’s entirely digital.

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And it’s quite a polished layout as well. Both the digital speedo and tachometers are buttery smooth and pleasant to the eye. From this digital information cluster, the driver can access basic phone and entertainment playback controls through the steering-mounted buttons. This makes it easier to see all the relevant information at a single glance. Sure, many other cars have got little information displays in this same area, but the difference is that this one looks, feels and operates much more organically.

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The Sony branded media unit blends pretty well into the centre cluster but is just a tad too busy to properly nail the minimalist look. Still, it’s a laudable effort as the cabin does end up being a rather nice looking. Importantly, the interface setup and sound quality are pretty spectacular. One thing that is missing here is a navigation system, which is perhaps the only real disappointment of the Mondeo.

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As you can probably deduce from that EcoBoost badge, the Mondeo comes with a fun little turbocharged engine. The one in here is a 2-litre with direct fuel injection and Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing which produces 240PS and 345Nm of torque. To put the potency of that technology into perspective, consider this – a typical 2-litre engine produces maybe a little over 150PS and 190NM of torque.

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Let me just take this opportunity to say that the Mondeo is exciting to drive. Very exciting to drive. Even without using the paddle shifters, its 6-speed automatic still makes you feel very connected to the drive. And if you asked it to, it will give you all the drama you need.  Push it hard and you get wheel spin and torque steer. Dive into a corner and there’s nothing but complete control. Take it night driving and it reveals the car’s very accurate and sensitive steering-linked headlights which respond to every little twitch. This makes the driver really pay attention to where the car is headed and creates an engaging driving experience that I have yet to encounter in other sedans below the price point (which I will refrain from mentioning until the very end).

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It may be too common a car to compete with the German offerings in terms of exclusivity, but the Mondeo does drive just as well, if not better than some of the entry-level premium German sedans. And even with this power, it still hits a combined fuel economy rating of 8.0 litres/100 kilometres, which is great, considering the car’s kerb weight of over 1500kg.

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And even though it drives like a dream, it is still very much safety-centric.  It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that this car has the potential to be the safest car on the road, but that’s really up to the owner of the vehicle. You see, the Mondeo has Ford’s MyKey system, which allows parents or fleet owners limit the top speed and the maximum volume of the media player. And since there is a correlation between aggressive driving and loud music, there’s definitely an added layer of safety here. Even with the settings on default, the car still warns you to drive safely the moment you hit highway speeds. Drive without a seatbelt on and you get your music muted as punishment. It’s very concerned about your safety. And we’re barely scratching the surface here.

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There are 7 airbags all around, 1 of which is dedicated to protecting the driver’s knees in the event of a frontal collision. There’s also the usual host of electronic braking, stability and traction assists and even hill launch and lane keeping assists. The last of these vibrates the steering and presents a small visual warning on the info cluster whenever the driver moves out of his lane without signalling.

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Perhaps the most in-your-face feature is the collision prevention system, represented with a few red LEDs that light up the smaller the gap between you and the vehicle ahead is. When it detects the car ahead slowing down faster than you are, the LEDs flash red and a beeping alarm goes off. If you’re still too slow to hit the pedal, under the right conditions, the Mondeo takes the wheel (or should I say pedal) and applies the brakes for you. It may not always bring the car to a complete stop, but the objective is to minimise the impact.

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This technology finds its way into the car’s adaptive cruise control as well, which works with the lane keeping assist to create a semi-autonomous driving mode. Leaving it in this mode, the Mondeo very easily keeps a safe gap between it and the car ahead while also alerting the driver when he drifts off course.

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All this safety still manages to add to the fun rather than detract from it. As mentioned earlier, the powertrain and chassis deliver a very exciting driving experience. By having a competent and integrated safety system, Ford have created a car that will supervise the amount of fun you have so you don’t end up hurting anyone.

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So what is the price of this beautiful package reserved for just the 10% of accountants and lawyers that just happen to be irresponsible thrill-seekers? RM202,000. That’s a difficult price to swallow, mostly because the average Japanese equivalent comes in at RM30,000 less. But if you really think about it, this car has no Japanese equivalent. Maybe no equivalent at all, anywhere. It’s the excitement of a sportier 3-Series with the overall approachability of a mass-market D-segment. And for that alone, the slightly higher price point is totally justified. The Ford Mondeo comes thoroughly recommended. And if you’re on the fence, a test drive is just a phone call away.

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Ford Mondeo

Engine 2.0 EcoBoost
Displacement  1,999cc
Transmission 
6-Speed Selectshift Auto
Max Power 240PS @ 5300 RPM
Max Torque
345Nm @ 2300-4900 RPM
Selling Price RM203,771


About the Author

Written work on dsf.my. @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.



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