The Road Ahead : December 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 68 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2012/JAN 2013 OVER RECENT YEARS, the mid-size market has grown and the quality on offer has improved significantly. But when introduced in 2007, the MA Mondeo was something of a shining beacon on the hill. And a mid-size car had been missing from the local Ford range since the previous generation Mondeo was put to the sword in 2000. Built in Belgium, the new Mondeo's Euro pedigree was apparent in a number of areas, including design and styling, safety, and dynamic development. Buyers could choose from the entry-level petrol LX sedan, the TDCi 2.0-litre turbo-diesel hatchback and sedan, the higher-spec petrol Zetec sedan or hatch, or the sporty XR5 hatchback. Petrol models are 2.3-litre four-cylinder or a 2.5-litre turbo five- cylinder in XR5 (the same as XR5 Focus, but minus a few kilowatts). Seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and a smooth-working, six-speed auto are standard on all versions except XR5, which is manual only. The MB series, starting mid-2009, saw the sedan dropped and wagon variants debut, plus the addition of Titanium models with advanced features like voice-command. Diesel versions get Ford's six-speed Powershift DSG-type gearbox (from May 2010). Performance from 2.3-litre models is adequate, though around-town fuel consumption can be high. The diesel stands out for its combination of smooth, effortless performance, and decent fuel economy. Well-tuned suspension, progressive brakes and crisp steering make the Mondeo an entertaining drive. And it feels right at home on our less-than- pristine Aussie roads. For performance and dynamics, XR5 is the most driver- focussed model, but never quite lives up to the smaller Focus that also wears XR5 badges. Mondeo's interior and boot space almost rival big-brother Falcon. No major issues have come to our attention. However, pre-purchase checks should include a check of brake pad and rotor condition. Also, a careful check of operation of DSG type gearboxes and, where fitted, advanced features such as the voice-command system, would be prudent. Avoid cars that have had scheduled servicing neglected. UNDER THE PUMP Mondeo will use between 6.8 litres and 14.1 litres of petrol or 5.4 litres and 10.0 litres of diesel every 100 km, depending on model and driving conditions. XR5 requires premium unleaded fuel. PRICE RANGE From $13,500 to $30,300, depending on year and model. NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). REVIEW JOHN EWING MOTORING USED CAR REVIEW COMPETITIORS MAZDA 6, 2007-2010 Excellent and deservedly popular. Sedan, hatch and wagon body styles. 2.3-litre petrol engine, replaced by higher-output and smoother 2.5-litre early 2008 along with other model upgrades. Turbo-diesel option, manual only, no sedan. Responsive handling. Higher fuel consumption than class average. ford mondeo, 2007-2010 A well-sorted chassis and spacey interior and boot make this mid-size offering well worth a look. TOYOTA CAMRY, 2007-2010 Ever-popular and practical, family- spacious mid-size sedan. No wagon. Four-cylinder, 2.4-litre petrol only, five- speed auto or manual. Hybrid model from early 2010. Stability control on all from mid-2007. Toyota reliability. SUBARU LIBERTY, 2007-2010 One of the mid-size scrum's better offerings. Good ride, all-wheel-drive grip, well-finished. Sedan and wagon versions. Plenty of models, 2.5-litre boxer petrol engine popular. 3.0-litre or 3.6-litre boxer six also available.