2005 Ford Mondeo
|The Good: |
– Manageable size
– Pleasing looks
– Excellent handling
|The Bad: |
– Basic automatic gearbox
– Weak base engines
– Might be mistaken for a taxi
Since the new generation Ford Mondeo was launched for 2003, thousands of vehicles have been sold in more than 60 markets around the world. The Mondeo set new standards for its segment in terms of handling for a front-wheel-drive family sedan. Its acclaimed vehicle dynamics were critically acclaimed all over Europe. Built at Ford’s Genk (Belgium) Assembly Plant, the Mondeo continues to remain unchanged for the 2005 model year.
The Ford Mondeo’s reliability is tested every day by fleet buyers such as taxi services and rental car agencies. Quality was achieved with the help of this revolutionary new integrated engineering tool set and processes, known inside Ford as C3P. It combines a comprehensive range of computer-based tools used to create a vehicle within a global internet-enabled environment – including computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) – and a vast product information management (PIM) system that is accessible simultaneously by Ford engineers anywhere in the world. The New-Edge design theme gives the Mondeo a distinctive look among midsize competitors.
The new Ford Mondeo clearly establishes a new benchmark in its segment with an unparalleled portfolio of safety technologies, a body structure optimised for strength and crashworthiness, thoughtful driver aids to help avoid accidents and an array of security features to protect the vehicle and its contents from theft. Key elements which are standard equipment across the Mondeo range include adaptive dual-stage front air bags for the front-seat occupants, collapsible pedal structure, deploying front head restraints and high-strength steels utilised extensively. Side-impact protection of the doors is enhanced with ultra-high-strength steel reinforcements inside the doors.
All Mondeos feature standard disc brakes on all four wheels. Anti-lock braking is standard equipment on all new Mondeos. The Mondeo also offers a new optional feature called Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) to help Mondeo drivers in ‘panic stop’ situations. The system is designed to interpret the braking behaviour of the driver and initiate full braking effect faster to shorten stopping distances. The new Mondeo is also available with a new advanced interactive vehicle dynamics system – featuring electronic stability control.
While high-performance halogen headlights are standard equipment on all new Mondeos, customers now have the option of choosing high-intensity xenon headlights for ultimate lighting performance. Twin halogen reversing lights are standard, and all Mondeos are fitted with a fast-reacting LED high-mounted stop light.
The new Ford Mondeo is equipped with the latest generation of Ford’s advanced Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) and a key-operated bonnet lock for enhanced security.
Available in Trend, Ghia and Ambiente trim levels, there will be a choice of two engines for 2005, in sedan and wagon bodies. A new sporty ST220 model with a separate engine will also be available.
The 151 hp 2.0-litre 16-valve Ford Duratec HE 4-cylinder petrol engine is lightweight and compact, and smooth enough to be unobtrusive in everyday driving, and has lower-than-average torque at 190 Nm. While the small engine is good for fuel economy, it is barely adequate to move the large Mondeo with any considerable zest, especially when equipped with the 4-speed automatic gearbox. Ford’s 5-speed manual transmission features revised gear ratios and a novel cable-shift mechanism for higher efficiency and greater shifting precision, and is ultimately more fun to drive.
The 168 hp 2.5L V6 engine found in European countries are will be offered in the Middle East for 2005. Although a V6, it is no match for Japanese competitors like the Accord V6, Camry Grande and Altima 3.5 SE. Inevitably, the heavier V6 burdens the nose and thus deteriorates handling slightly.
To match more conservative V6 rivals, one has to go for the sport-tuned ST220 model, which will make its Middle East debut for 2005. European Ford decided to use the American 220 hp 3.0-litre Duratec V6, making the ST220 the most powerful Mondeo. The only weakness of the 3.0L Duratec is low-rpm torque. The engine has been tuned for power rather than torque, which is rated at 280 Nm, lower than all the Japanese midsizers.
The new Mondeo feels very refined, even approaching German car levels. The engines are quite smooth and braking performance is good. In terms of handling and ride, the rigid chassis and tuned suspensions delivers tight control in bends and absorbs bumps well, although its size inevitably makes it less tossable on corners. The Mondeo is very composed at high speeds. It rides firm, but overall ride quality is actually decent, partly thanks to the rigid body. It steers with wonderful precision and feedback, adequate weighting and little kickback. Its cornering limit is higher than the Accord, Camry and Altima, matching the handling of the Mazda 6, with which it shares a chassis. The ST220 is involving to drive, with a beautiful exhaust note, crisp gearchange, communicative steering, sharp turn-in and great chassis balance. Compared with the standard Mondeo, it has heavier steering and a slightly stiffer ride.
Large and comfortable aside, the interior shines in visual build quality. Dashboard is made of soft-touch plastic approaching luxury-car quality. In other words, it feels more prestigious than other cars. There’s also some niche details, such as the chromed rims surrounding gauges and the four spokes of steering wheel in silver colour. Space inside is good, but the larger Japanese rivals have more room. However, the Mondeo is also much cheaper than the Japanese.
The Mondeo is a good runner in the midsize car segment. Pity its image is somewhat downgraded thanks to all the Mondeo taxis running around, and also its low resale value thanks to its non-Japanese roots. As a new car buy, the price is unbeatable.
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