New Ford Ka to share Fiat 500 underpinnings

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Ford has the new Ka coming soon and some people just can’t wait to see it. The new Ka is set to be produced alongside the Fiat 500 and Panda (which is unavailable in NZ) in Poland and will also have a cameo in the new Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’.

Engine line-ups will include 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines and 1.6 litre diesel with the possibility of the turbo 1.4 from the 500 Abarth added at a latter date.

Interesting to see the wheels are carrying the Focus/Mondeo ‘XR’ styling theme. Ford Sport Ka anyone?

Ford Focus 1.6L Wagon 2008 Review

July 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


If you are a spy and want to get around unnoticed (yes spying is about NOT being seen, James) then the Ford Focus Wagon is for you. This car is stealthy. This car is so stealthy that when it first came to the Car and SUV offices, I couldn’t see it.

“The new Focus is here” announced Editor Cottingham. I looked out the window. “Where?” I asked. “Between the Civic and the MINI” came the reply.
At first all I could see was an empty space, but as I squinted toward the place where a car should be, a form suddenly materialised in front of my eyes like a tiger suddenly jumping out of the bush.
It is probably the unremarkable styling and the dark colour that helped to mask the car from view, as during my time with the Focus I completely walked past it in a car park; three times.
I wasn’t the only who had problems finding the car. Other people in the Car office also had trouble seeing it in the car park. “Where’s Ben? His car isn’t…oh there it is”

The Russians would have won the Cold War if they’d had this kind of technology.

The Focus seems a lot larger than its predecessor. It’s amazing to see the change in vehicle sizes over the last ten years.
All the small cars (Focus, Civic et al.) have become medium sized and the mid-size cars have become super-sized. Hell, the Mondeo I am driving feels as big as an early 90’s Falcon.

This increase in size is a good thing because it means you have a small-ish car, with minimal overhangs that is easy to drive, has good visibility and is easy to park. It can also fit a lot of stuff in when you go camping, shopping or when making a mad border-dash with the back chock-full of Bollinger and Eastern bloc women with funny names who may try to kill you.
However with a bigger car you need more power to pull it and if the stealth of the Focus ever failed, and Bond was found out, the two mice under the bonnet would have their work cut out for them in a high speed pursuit.

The lackluster 1.6 litre engine as tested is quite torpid and not suited to an automatic transmission. With this combination it is no surprise that the Focus is tardy. It would be a much better proposition with the Duratorq turbo-diesel and manual transmission. The diesel combo is a little more expensive but it’s not only more powerful, it uses less fuel.

Fuel consumption in the Focus is a bit thirsty for its size with a combined 8.4 L/100km. This could however stem from the fact that you need to drive it hard to get up to speed which is where the diesel would again be the better option.

The driving experience is fine if you take the engine out of the equation (again, a more powerful engine would be better) as the Focus handles well and has an excellent ride compromise between comfort and (semi) performance. Luckily the stealth factor is not present when driving and people can actually see you.

It has a huge amount of space in the back to put things (hindered only by the rear seats not folding compleately flat) and the glovebox is roomier than a supermodel’s lunchbox.

The Focus is a very good car for those who need to address practical issues like carting kids, shopping and pets around (boot blinds and dog partitions are available options).
The interior is decent with comfortable seats, good ergonomics and controls that are easy to use and understand. Despite feeling a little upright and flat, I really liked the seats in the Focus as they were comfortable and easy to get in and out of (am I getting old?) and had funky stripes.

The Focus is extremely practical and with the right engine could be a good choice for carrying stuff quite cheaply. You know that it wouldn’t get stolen (stealth factor), but then again you might lose it.

Although Bond would be as likely to drive the Focus as marry Moneypenny and start collecting stamps, it would be the perfect car for him to pick Pussy Galore up in without the missus knowing- ‘Oh James’ indeed!!

Click through to the next page to read the full specs for the Ford Focus 1.6L Wagon

Price: from $26,190 for the hatch and $27,890 for the wagon

What we like

  • Urban stealth
  • Practicality
  • Interior ergonomics and dash
  • Seats

What we don’t like

  • Lifeless engine
  • Interior door plastics cheap

Engine & Transmission


1.6L Wagon Automatic

Engine Type 1.6L Duratec Petrol with 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 4
Engine size (cc) 1596
Maximum power (DIN) 74 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum torque (DIN) 150 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Combined Fuel Economy: 7.7
CO2 Commissions 184
Euro Stage IV S

Tow Ratings


1.6L Wagon Automatic

Braked 800
Unbraked 600

Transmissions and Ratios


1.6L Wagon Automatic

1st gear ratio 2.82
2nd gear ratio 1.51
3rd gear ratio 1.00
4th gear ratio 0.74
5th gear ratio -
6th gear ratio -
Reverse ratio 2.65
Final drive ratio 4.20

Fuel Consumption Data


1.6L Wagon Automatic

Combined fuel economy (l/100km) 7.7
CO2 Commissions(g/km) 184
Euro IV compliance S
Fuel 91-98 RON (E10 Compatible)

Luggage capacity (litres)


1.6L Wagon Automatic

Rear seat upright 482
Rear seat folded 1525

Fuel Consumption Data


1.6L Wagon Automatic

Combined fuel economy (l/100km) 7.7
CO2 Commissions(g/km) 184
Euro IV compliance S
Fuel 91-98 RON (E10 Compatible)



1.6L Wagon Automatic

Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution S
Dynamic Stability Control (including Traction Assist & Emergency Brake Assist)7 S
4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear) S
Front (mm) ventilated 278 x 25
Rear (mm) solid 265 x 11
Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light) S



1.6L Wagon Automatic

Hydraulic power-assisted steering S
Minimum turning circle (m) (kerb to kerb)

Words Ben Dillon – Photos Darren Cottingham

New Ford Fiesta ECO special

July 25th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


There is big demand in the UK for ‘low emission vehicles’ as at the moment these types of vehicles enjoy generous tax benefits by being less polluting.

Ford has put it’s hand up with the new Fiesta ECOnetic, which claims ultra low emissions of carbon-dioxide.

View the press release below.

The Fiesta ECOnetic becomes the most fuel efficient new five-seater family car in the UK.  With CO2 emissions at under 100g/km, Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is zero rated both for road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and for the ‘showroom tax’ element of VED introduced for the first year of ownership in this year’s Budget.

Aerodynamic body styling, lowered suspension, low resistance tyres and low friction oil all help the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic achieve ultra low CO2 emissions.  Additionally a green shift indicator in the instrument cluster highlights the optimal point to change gear to maximise fuel economy.

Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said:  “Many drivers are prepared to be green – but still want comfort, performance and an affordable price.  ECOnetic answers that demand.

“Ford’s ECOnetic range, complete with new Fiesta, delivers style with a green conscience.”

Fiesta ECOnetic — what’s different?

* Aerodynamic  rear air deflectors
* Lowered suspension
* Optimised rolling resistance tyres (175/65R14) and low friction oil
* Green shift indicator light
* Modified engine calibration
* Transmission final drive ratio changed from 3.37 to 3.05

Ford G6 2008 Review

July 21st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Looking through an old family photo album with my beautiful girlfriend the other day, I noticed one feature that had remained constant throughout the passage of time reflected in the pictures. It wasn’t the bad hair (I haven’t had a hair cut since I was 12 anyway) or my uncle’s daggy fashion (very 1979), it was the automotive backdrop.

Of all the photos (especially holiday ones) we took when I was a kid, the family Falcon was the one constant that appeared in many. Sure it had changed colour and shape as new models came and went, but it was still the same straight six engine in a big roomy car that appealed to so many families.

From the late sixties till the rise of the MPV and SUV, nothing could combine the practicality and economy of the big Aussie six.

My Dad was never a parochial supporter of locally (Australian) made cars with Austins, Datsuns, and Volvos gracing our driveway over the years, but there was always a Falcon as a mainstay. In fact it the last Falcon in our family was only put to rest recently after more than 500,000km in favour of a more economical 4 cylinder car.

End of an icon?

The new FG Falcon is set to be the last of the straight-six Falcons, a heritage that stretches back to 1960 when local production began. The current story is that from 2010 Ford Australia will be using the North American ‘Cyclone’ V6 for the Falcon range due to the implementation Euro 4 emission regulations. If so, it will be the end of an era.

Ford is already making changes however, as the new Ford G6 is no Falcon. The G6 name replaces the Fairmont badge with the G6E (and G6E Turbo) taking over from the Fairmont Ghia tag and only the base XT and sporty XR series still using the Falcon name plate. The Futura tag has also been dropped.
Even more confusing is the fact that Pontiac in the US has a mid-size car (by American standards) badged ‘G6′ and a G8 which is a Holden Commodore with an ugly face.

While the previous BF Falcon looked as hard and angry as a lion poked with a stick, the FG has a softer, more European look to it. It does seem to have more in common – looks wise – with the new Mondeo and Focus than the BF Falcon.

It’s still looks suitably tough but has a more mellowed look to it, like a sleepy tiger. You can see elements (however small) from the Maserati Quattroporte and the BMW M5 in the high, contoured waist-line which helps to make the Ford look more elegant.

The new FG is a very nice car for daily duties around town and on the highway. It has a very comfortable ride which shows decent control except over speed humps where the front can scrape, although if you go a bit quicker, the front strangely doesn’t make contact with road.

Under acceleration the car squats and pitches like a rocket firing into the sky but braking and cornering is much tamer with less body movement.

The suspension is soft at town speeds but seems to firm up a little at higher speeds, though Falcons have always been a little prone to wallow.

The new G6 doesn’t seem to have as much legroom in the back compared to the previous model but it has ample headroom for all passengers. Ford claims an increase of 9mm in rear legroom, but agreement in the Car and SUV offices is that it feels smaller — perhaps this is because of the driving position required, and anyway, 9mm is only a large distance for an amoeba.

Adjustable pedals are a nice touch to create a better driving position but the electric/manual combination for seat adjustment seems a little strange. Overall the G6 has a good driving position despite being a little high.

The fit and finish of the interior plastics is better than the Holden Commodore with no gaps between surfaces and a strong feeling of solidity about the dash architecture.

The trip computer display is limited in that it only shows one reading at a time and the buttons to scroll through the menu are located inconveniently on the side of the instrument cluster.

The central screen, despite not being colour, is easy to use and has all relevant stereo and temperature info on the one screen. The centre binnacle is well-sized and can swallow quite a few CDs, while the iPod friendly stereo sounds decent enough.

At the back end the boot floor is shaped strangely being sunken around the spare tyre well. This probably offers good storage space for certain items, but a flat floor is more convenient for large loads.

The only real interior issue on our test car was the fabric on the seats looking and feeling like a velour tracksuit from 1991.

While in the past most people bought a Falcon or Commodore ‘cause Dad drove ‘em’, we now know that such reasoning is ill-advised given current petrol prices. It is still an emotional argument to buy a Falcon and Commodore as until big cars become much more economical their appeal will be limited. If you are looking at this option and hereditary disposition hasn’t swayed you one way or the other then it is difficult to go past the G6 for interior quality. Externally it comes down to taste, but I prefer the Falcon, sorry, G6. The question is in 30 years when you look back through your photo albums, which car do you want to see in the background?

Price from: $45,990 for the G6 and $39,990 for the XT Falcon.

What we like

  • Euro styling
  • Torquey engine
  • Smooth handling

What we don’t like

  • Strange boot space
  • Velour cloth seats


Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Engine size (cc) 3984 3984 3984
Compression ratio 10.3:1 10.3:1 8.8:1
Maximum power (DIN) 195kW @ 6000rpm 195kW @ 6000rpm 270kW @ 5250rpm41
Maximum torque (DIN) 391Nm @ 3250rpm 391Nm @ 3250rpm 533Nm @ 2000rpm – 4750rpm44
No. of valves 24 24 24
Bore x stroke (mm) 92.25 x 99.31mm 92.25 x 99.31mm 92.26 x 99.31mm
Fuel Management system Sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection Sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection Sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection
Engine management Powertrain control module incorporating electronic throttle control Powertrain control module incorporating electronic throttle control Powertrain control module incorporating electronic throttle control
Battery 54Ah 54Ah 54Ah

Engine – E-Gas

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Engine size (cc) 3984 3984 -
Compression ratio 10.3:1 10.3:1 -
Maximum power (DIN)45 156kW @ 4750rpm 156kW @ 4750rpm -
Maximum torque (DIN)46 371Nm @ 2750rpm 371Nm @ 2750rpm -
No. of valves 24 24 -
Bore x stroke 92.25 x 99.31mm 92.25 x 99.31mm -
Engine management Powertrain control module incorporating electronic throttle control Powertrain control module incorporating electronic throttle control -


Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Fuel tank capacity (L) (petrol) 68 68 68
Fuel tank capacity (L) (E-Gas) 93 93 -
Fuel consumption: ADR 81/01 (L/100km – rounded) – 6-speed automatic transmission 10.251 10.2 11.7
Fuel consumption: ADR 81/01 (L/100km – rounded) – 5-speed automatic transmission 10.5 - -
Fuel consumption: ADR 81/01 (L/100km – rounded) – 6-speed manual transmission - - -
Fuel consumption: ADR 81/01 (L/100km – rounded) – (E-Gas) 14.9 14.9 -
Recommended fuel (petrol) ULP or PULP E10 Compatible ULP or PULP E10 Compatible ULP or PULP E10 Compatible
Recommended fuel (E-Gas) LPG only LPG only -


Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Front Standard vented disc brakes with twin piston caliper Standard vented disc brakes with twin piston caliper Performance brakes
Rear Standard solid disc brake with single piston caliper Standard solid disc brake with single piston caliper Standard solid disc brake with single piston caliper
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) – Petrol 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) 4-Channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) – E-Gas 3-Channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) 3-Channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) -
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incorporates Traction Control System (TCS), Emergancy Brake Assist (EBA) and 4-channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) – Petrol Only Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incorporates Traction Control System (TCS), Emergancy Brake Assist (EBA) and 4-channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) – Petrol Only Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) incorporates Traction Control System (TCS), Emergancy Brake Assist (EBA) and 4-channel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) – Petrol Only

Maximum Towing Capacity (Subject to State & Territory regulations)

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Manual - - -
Automatic 2300kg 2300kg 2300kg

Exterior Dimensions (mm)

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Overall length 4967 4967 4967
Overall width 1868 1868 1868
Overall height 1433 1433 1433
Wheelbase 2838 2838 2838
Front track 1583 1583 1583
Rear track 1598 1598 1598
Front overhang 950 950 950
Rear overhang 1179 1179 1179

Interior Dimensions (mm)

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Front headroom 1012 1012 1012
Front legroom 1073 1073 1073
Front shoulder room 1523 1523 1523
Front hip room 1486 1486 1486
Rear headroom 989 989 989
Rear legroom 989 989 989
Rear shoulder room 1518 1518 1518

Luggage Capacity (L)

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
Petrol 535 535 535
E-Gas 408 408 408

Engine and Transmission

Feature G6 G6E G6E Turbo
6-Speed manual transmission - - -
5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift S - -
ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift O S -
6-Speed manual transmission - - -
ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift - - S
BOSS 290 5.4L DOHC 4V V8 - - -
6-Speed manual transmission - - -
ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift - - -
E-Gas 4.0L DOHC DI-VCT I6 (Dedicated LPG)1 O O -
4-Speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sports Shift S S -

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

Ford introduces the Fiesta Zetec S

July 16th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Fast Ford fans are set to celebrate the return of a sporty favourite – the exciting yet accessible Fiesta Zetec S.

Ford’s stylish new small car will offer a sports model from its UK launch this autumn, giving driving enthusiasts a new benchmark for affordable driving fun.  It will also continue the “Zetec S” name, first introduced to the Fiesta in 1999.

Fiesta Zetec S adds a distinctive sporting flavour to the stylish sweeps and curves of all-new Fiesta.

On the outside are five-spoke, 16in alloy wheels, projector headlamps, front fog lamps, a deeper front bumper, side mouldings and a rear spoiler.

Inside, a leather steering wheel and bolstered sports seats continue that sports feel to appeal to driving enthusiasts, while the standard equipment list also addresses comfort and safety, with side airbags and air conditioning.

These sports interior details add to the ‘cockpit’ driving feel, created by a 30mm lower seating position than the previous-generation Fiesta, while Zetec S adds its own twist to the stylish Fiesta interior, with high contrast trim colours and designs inspired by snowboards.

Fiesta Zetec S lives up to its sporty credentials with an all-new, 120hp Duratec Ti-VCT engine, powerful enough to reach 100 km/h in 9.9sec and a top speed of 200 km/h.  Lowered, tuned sports suspension helps new Fiesta Zetec S make the most of this power and maintain excellent dynamic response.

The responsive new Duratec Ti-VCT engine uses twin independent variable cam timing to provide the optimal balance of performance and fuel economy, so despite its feisty character and 20 extra horsepower, the new Duratec Ti-VCT is still uses less fuel and generates less CO2 than the 100PS, 1.6-litre engine from the previous Fiesta.  It returns a combined fuel economy of 5.9 L/100km and CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

Fiesta Zetec S will also be available with a 1.6-litre 90hp Duratorq TDCi, providing a more relaxed driving character and even greater efficiency.  The exceptionally flexible engine sips fuel at 4.2 L/100km, generating just 110g/km CO2.

The all-new Fiesta range will be launched in the UK in a few months time, with New Zeland sales yet to be confirmed.

New Ford Focus RS set to stun

July 7th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The legendary Ford RS performance car brand is returning in the shape of the exciting new Ford Focus RS, which will be previewed at the 2008 London International Motor Show.

The new Focus RS will go on sale in early 2009 and is being created by a small team of dedicated engineers, under the direction of Jost Capito, Ford of Europe’s Vehicle Line Director for Performance Vehicles.

For performance road car enthusiasts, the new model will mark a welcome return for the Ford RS badge.  This will be the second Focus model to carry the RS mantle and promises another exciting chapter in an exciting 40-year story that began in Germany in the late 1960s and gained momentum across Europe with the launch of the 1970 Escort RS1600.

Front and rear quarter panels have been revised to incorporate wider wheel arches and a wider track, complemented by revised, deeper side rocker mouldings.  In another visual reminder of the car’s performance potential, triangular, RS-badged vents sit behind the front wheel arches.  Two classic-style bonnet louvres are both a styling hint at the power beneath and a practical requirement, maintaining correct system temperatures.

Inside, this theme continues with a unique and appropriately performance-oriented interior, dominated by bespoke, sculpted Recaro high-performance sports seats, specially designed and trimmed for excellent support, even when driving enthusiastically.  Each is colour-matched to the exterior, with ebony leather accents and ‘RS’ and ‘Recaro’ logos stitched into each backrest.

The driver is reminded this is a special Focus at every touch, with a gear lever finished with a six speed gear shift graphic in RS blue, a sporty, three-spoke steering wheel, finished with ‘Ford’ and ‘RS’ logos and even aluminium foot pedals. The performance driving environment is completed by three additional gauges from the Focus ST, including turbo pressure, sitting atop the centre console and angled toward the driver’s eyeline.

At the heart of the all-new Focus RS is a specially developed, turbocharged version of the Duratec 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine.  Significantly revised for high performance, this powerplant is targeting an impressive power output of 300PS and over 410Nm of torque, contributing to an excellent power-to-weight ratio.

Such significant increases are not simply the result of altering engine management or boost pressure: starting with the Duratec 2.5-litre block, Ford RS engineers developed unique camshafts, a revised cylinder head and gasket and revised intake and exhaust manifold system for the car.

Throughout Focus RS’ development, Capito and his team have been keeping a sharp focus on creating a car that delivers excellent performance and traction.

Various innovations, developed as a result of customer feedback from previous performance Fords, have allowed engineers to keep the new Focus RS as front-wheel drive, with a limited-slip differential, while still achieving demanding targets for traction, handling and steering.

The new Ford Focus RS is equipped with an innovative front suspension system known as a ‘RevoKnuckle’, which is designed to reduce unwanted steering disturbance and torque steer, the impact of torque on steering in front-wheel driven vehicles.  Torque steer occurs during hard acceleration, cornering or driving on uneven surfaces, when torque on the driven wheels exceeds grips levels.  It is characterised by sudden turning force on the steering wheel and can be exacerbated by vehicles with wide tyres and limited-slip differentials.

In Focus RS, the RevoKnuckle works in conjunction with a Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing limited-slip differential.  Ford Team RS engineers have worked closely with Ford’s Advanced Research Centre in Aachen, Germany to develop the RevoKnuckle technology specifically for the high performance Focus RS.  It allows the simplicity of a traditional McPherson strut arrangement, but with geometry settings that minimize steering disturbances and torque steer, principally a reduction in steering offset.

Brakes also have been uprated, with 336mm ventilated front discs and 300mm rear discs generating vice-like stopping power on road or track.  Large calipers peek out from behind unique 19-inch wheels, wrapped in 235/35 low profile Continental tyres.

A special version of Ford’s ESP system has also been developed for Focus RS, designed to allow a very sporty driving style before activating.  Intensive work to refine the natural handling abilities of the car has allowed the ESP system to carry a full de-activation option for enthusiast drivers and especially for track use.

Hot Ford Fiesta ST500 for the U.K only

June 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


A special edition Ford Fiesta ST packed with extra equipment is set to be released in the U.K. Priced from £15,000 (NZD$39,000)and called ST 500, it will be limited to just 500 and will be distinguished by unique styling touches and extras.

The Fiesta ST is renowned for its punchy 2.0-litre 150PS engine, sports-tuned steering, lowered and stiffened sports suspension and short-shift, close ratio gearbox which creates its exciting ride. The sporting heritage of the best Ford cars is carried on to this special edition with unique ‘U’-shaped stripes; designed to echo the livery of the classic Escort RS2000, and matching side livery.

The Fiesta ST500′s features include 17in 11-spoke black alloys, red brake callipers and carbon fibre pattern interior trim. The interior also features a Sony audio system and ebony leather heated seats.

Ford Mondeo Sedan 2.3 2008 Review

March 1st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Ford Mondeo sedan 2008 fq

Has it really been 15 years? It’s a question I’ve asked a few times in the past several months, though not always with the number 15. It’s because I joined Facebook and suddenly a world of tenuous renewed friendships has opened up. Without Facebook I would never bother finding people from the first Grammar school I suffered. But now I have almost a morbid fascination with it. What are these people doing? How are they getting on in life? Has something unusual happened to them (lots of marriages, lots of kids, they’ve come out of the closet, etc). In fact, if they’re not on Facebook, have they died in a freak mountaineering accident? In which case I won’t be able to add them as friends until Seancebook is launched.

It becomes painfully obvious that in 15 years, though you may have shared a bond closer than two protons in the nucleus of an atom while in your mid teens, you can grow so far apart from someone in terms of career, ideals, experience, weight and amount of hair. And some of us have dispersed to far flung regions (like me), while others have only managed to extend the apron strings just down the road.

In 15 years, a lot can happen. Like four generations of Mondeos. In the same way that I struggle to remember the surnames of the quiet kids in my fifth-form class photo (which I put on Facebook, if you’re interested), I struggle to remember all four Mondeo models. It could be that they are the ubiquitous quiet achiever, not making a fuss or a bold statement, but just getting the job done while trying not to get bullied. After all, Mondeo is close to mundane¦except the model with which Radisich won the British Touring Car Championship in 1994.

But that’s all history. We have a new model, codenamed a very catchy CD345, and it’s an enormous leap forward in the styling department, especially from the first 1993 model. It’s like the tubby, freckled, ginger, fat kid was given a Total Gym for Christmas and a makeover by Trinny and Susannah. Suddenly the Mondeo has become visually interesting in an understated and sleek way.

Built on the EUCD platform developed with Volvo it adopts Ford’s ‘kinetic’ design language first shown on the Iosis concept at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Inside it ticks pretty much all the boxes you’d need for a value-priced family/business car for both safety and features. Roomy on the inside (seemingly much more so than the previous model), it also manages a large boot without cramping back seat passengers.

The steering wheel is accented in aluminium-style highlights that contain two keypads. The left one controls the audio functions — volume, tuning, etc — while the right one changes the display on the trip computer. Below these are buttons for the phone integration on the left and cruise control on the right. Behind the steering wheel sits a pair of chrome-faced dials that flank an orange LCD displaying the trip computer.

The orange LCD theme is carried across to the stereo readout, and it is surrounded by an aluminium-look fascia. There’s nothing complicated about its operation — all controls are easily accessible and intuitive to operate.

On a twisting road the Mondeo is reassuring. The only downside is the lethargic gearbox. To power out of a corner you need to be on the loud pedal well before the apex. Its handling talents can easily be taken for granted because it doesn’t make a fuss about anything, soaking up bumps in its stride.

Having driven the manual two-litre station wagon (also reviewed here by Phil), I personally would go with that. It was far more frugal (8.2l/100km as opposed to 10.8l/100km [quoted is 9.3l/100km]), the extra 300cc and 11kW makes very little difference to the performance and I prefer a manual gearbox. However, if you are a road warrior (or don’t like manuals), the six-speed automatic ‘box with sequential shift will suit you down to the ground, despite its slowness to respond under hard driving.

Does the Mondeo have the goods to see off the generation-II Mazda6? To be honest, you’re probably going to pick between them based on either which one you like the look of, or which dealer gives you the best deal. But if you want a more powerful version your only option is the Ford with the Mondeo XR5 due here perhaps April. Mazda definitely won’t be bringing in an MPS version.

It’s too much of a quiet achiever to be truly endearing, which is perfect for its role as a mid-sized, mid-priced sedan that is often bought by dispassionate companies looking for a fleet car. The Mondeo isn’t so much like an old friend, but more like a functional tool that will get the job done.

Price: from $37,990

What we like

  • Competent tourer
  • Lots of space
  • Styling
  • Great handling
  • Rightly appeared on the Car of the Year shortlist in NZ, and as won many honours in other countries

What we don’t like

  • Seat backs are hard
  • Engine/gearbox combination is unresponsive
  • Glovebox difficult to access by driver

Words and photos Darren Cottingham


  • 2.3L Duratec Petrol with 6 speed auto
  • 4 cylinders in line
  • DOHC
  • 16 valves
  • Intake variable cam timing
  • Alloy cylinder head and block
  • Electronic multipoint fuel injection
  • Dual-mass flywheel
  • 2261 cc
  • 118 kW @ 6000rpm
  • 208 Nm @ 4500rpm
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 9.3 L/100km
  • Combined CO2 Emissions: 223 g/km
  • Euro IV emissions level


5-Star Euro NCAP Safety Rating
Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
Dynamic Stability Control (including Traction Assist and Emergency Brake Assist)
Front airbags (x2)
Front row side airbags (x2)
Driver’s knee airbag
1st and 2nd row side curtain airbags
Side impact door beams (front and rear)
4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear)
Remote power central / double locking
Locks — Anti-burst, high-security, shielded with child-locks on rear doors
Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light)
Follow-me-home lighting
Front seatbelt pre-tensioners
Seatbelt reminder system – driver’s and front passenger’s seat
Height adjustable mounts on front seatbelts
Decoupling safety pedals
Advanced collapsible steering column
Immobiliser – Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS)
Perimeter Alarm
‘ISOFIX’ child seat attachments (rear outboard seats only)


Power front & rear windows
Leather steering wheel with cruise control
Manual air-conditioning with pollen filter
Single CD player
MP3 / ipod® AUX input in glove box
Steering wheel audio toggle switches
Instruments — Speedometer, odometer, tripmeter, tachometer, fuel gauge, water temperature gauge
Trip computer including average fuel consumption, average speed,
outside air temperature, trip reset, distance to empty (fuel)
Warning indicators for low fuel, oil pressure, direction indicators,
driver’s and front passenger’s seat belts, main beam, foglamps, ignition/alternator,
brake system/handbrake on, airbags, 0 degrees and 4 degrees Celcius frost warning,
maximum engine speed, message indicator, audible warning for ‘lights on’, key in ignition, door ajar.
Illuminated heater controls — 4-speed fan, temperature and direction control,
two dedicated side window demists and rear compartment floor ducts
Control stalks — Column-mounted for indicators, main beam, dip and flash, wash/wipe functions
Silver metallic-finish instrument cluster rings
Steering column — Reach and rake adjustable
Illuminated glove box
Centre console with hinged armrest
2 moulded cup holders in centre console
Centre armrest in rear
Driver’s footrest
Clock — Digital in instrument cluster and audio display
Mirror — Dipping rear-view, manual
Driver & passenger sunvisors with vanity mirrors
Driver manual lumbar adjust
Manual 2-way driver height adjust
Height adjustable front head restraints
Height adjustible rear head restraints (3)
60/40 split rear seats
Illuminated entry & theatre dimming
Infinity cloth trim
Courtesy lights — Front light (header mounted) & rear light
Luggage compartment light (Sedan and Hatch only)
Front & rear ashtrays
Front and rear doors — Release levers in satin chrome,
door pulls with satin chrome inserts, door stowage bins
Front & 2nd row 12V power socket


Capless refueling
16″ Steel wheels
Full size spare wheel
Halogen, polycarbonate stone impact resistant headlights, side lights,
rear fog lights, reversing lights, high-mounted rear brake light
Headlight levelling — Manual
Orange fender side indicators
Body colour, power and heated mirrors
Heated rear window
Tinted Glass
Wipers — Front, 2-speed with variable interval intermittent wipe with drip wipe


Overall length 4844
Overall height 1500
Overall width (without mirrors) 1886
Overall width (with mirrors) 2078
Wheelbase 2850
Front track 1589
Rear track 1605
Ground clearance (minimum) 103


Front headroom 996
Front legroom (maximum) 1126
Front shoulder room 1448
Rear headroom 976
Rear legroom (nominal 95% driver position) 950
Rear shoulder room 1433


Kerb weight (kg) 1477
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 70
Luggage capacity (litres) 493
Tow ratings
Braked 1400
Unbraked 700


1st gear ratio 4.148
2nd gear ratio 2.370
3rd gear ratio 1.556
4th gear ratio 1.155
5th gear ratio 0.859
6th gear ratio 0.686
Reverse ratio 3.394
Final drive ratio 3.750


Combined fuel economy (L/100km) 9.3
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km) 223
Euro IV emissions level


Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
Dynamic Stability Control (including Traction Assist & Emergency Brake Assist)
4 wheel disc brakes (ventilated front / solid rear)
Front (mm) ventilated 300 x 28
Rear (mm) solid 302 x 11
Emergency brake light (Hazard warning light)


Hydraulic power-assisted steering
Minimum turning circle (m) (kerb to kerb) 11.45


Front — Independent with MacPherson struts, lower control arms
with hydro-bushing, isolated subframe, anti-roll bar
Rear — Independent Control Blade multi-link system, isolated subframe, anti-roll bar


6.5 x 16″ steel with 7-spoke wheelcovers and 215/55 R 16 tyres
Full size spare wheel


20″ Alloy Wheels
18″ Alloy Wheels
Carpet mats
Carry Bars
Body kit
Scuff Plates
Cargo Nets