Ford: 2014 Mondeo Titanium EcoBoost hatchback review

Ford: 2014 Mondeo Titanium EcoBoost hatchback review

It was 2008: the start of the global financial crisis, petrol hit US$100 per barrel and General Motors reported a record US$38.7 billion loss but arch rival Ford provided me with my first Mondeo experience. Since then, the Mondeo seems to have changed about as much as the attitude of the major banks: not very much.

Ford Mondeo Titanium Ecoboost 2014 badgeFord Mondeo Titanium Ecoboost 2014 interiorFord Mondeo Titanium Ecoboost 2014 dashboardOK, that’s probably a little bit blunt: the exterior of the Mondeo has some new creases and angles and minor detail changes such as the lights, there are a few more toys and safety features, but the interior hasn’t really changed that much. Not that it was bad back in 2008, but now it looks like it needs a refresh, and certainly an update in terms of the user experience for the buttons and screens. The main colour screen is in the instrument cluster between the speedo and rev counter, and the radio gets a very 1980s red dot matrix screen. Hopefully Ford will sculpt a new fascia that a little more ergonomic and doesn’t feature so much hard, flat plastic.

This top-of-the-range Mondeo Titanium costs $53,340 for the petrol version (like our test car), or $55,340 for the diesel. We didn’t drive the diesel so can’t comment on its engine performance, but while the petrol engine’s fuel economy is given as 7.7l/100km the diesel’s is 5.6l/100km. There’s a monster 70-litre fuel tank so you’ll be a while between drinks and therefore it makes it a good option for the travelling salesperson. It does want 95 octane petrol, though, which will bump up your fuel price a bit.

Ford Mondeo Titanium Ecoboost 2014 rear quarterOther technologies that make long journeys slightly more pleasant when you’re in traffic are Adaptive Cruise Control which adjusts your speed to that of the car in front, a speed limiter to help you keep within the law, Forward Collision Warning in case you’re not paying attention, and Blind Spot Monitoring to help with lane changes and overtaking. You get automatic lights and wipers, too.

The Mondeo scores a 5-star ANCAP crash safety rating with its Electronic Stability Control (Dynamic Stability Control), Traction Control System, Anti-lock Braking System, seven airbags, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist. It even comes with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit just like a Hyundai.

While there are parking sensors front and back, in my opinion there’s a glaring omission on this Mondeo: a reversing camera. This is a car that’s about the same size as a BMW M5 and has a nose-forward stance that means that you can’t easily judge where the rear corners are when backing up. According to Ford, the next model will have one, but why include Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane Departure Warning (the second of which I just turn off because it’s next to useless), and omit the one thing that you will use almost every day?

There’s plenty of power going forward, though. With 176kW and 340Nm from the 2-litre turbo engine overtaking is quite easy, and you’ll be able to carry the speed through the corners because the Mondeo feels fairly well planted and the ride is comfortable. Turn-in is excellent and the steering is nicely balanced at open road speeds. There’s a 6-speed automatic gearbox which is much more satisfying than a CVT and the gearstick itself is a big, chunky thing with a surprisingly satisfying long throw.

The exterior styling is playing catch-up and Ford’s range as a whole seems to be lacking any kind of unifying design theme with a mishmash of front treatments between the Kuga (review here), EcoSport, Focus (review here), Fiesta (review here), Mondeo, and Falcon (review here). Given the purely facelift type of changes that have happened to the Mondeo, it’s as handsome as it always was.

You could consider a Skoda Superb (review here) if you want something a little less ubiquitous (once you’re driving a Mondeo you see them everywhere). The Skoda has more rear legroom and boot space. Not that the Mondeo is lacking in either, though, with 540 litres.

The Mondeo is an excellent car that’s overdue for a refresh. As a driver’s car it won’t disappoint. There are plenty of toys and it does what you need, including connecting to your phone via Bluetooth for hands-free calls or streaming audio.

Price: $55,340

Pros

  • Good cruising car with plenty of power and nice, neutral handling

Cons

  • No reversing camera
  • Dated interior

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