THE FORD MONDEO RETURNS

Published on September 29th, 2015

I can safely say that back when I was a kid, most of my money came from all the duit rayas and with it, I went buying car magazines if not junk food (yeah, I was a chubby kid back then) and my elder brother bought comics from DC and Marvel.

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Sometimes from Dark Horse. Then, I make more money buying comics (learnt the trade from him though) at first print editions and selling them at a marked-up prices to those who failed to catch up with my comic-buying dominance among my circle of friends. Even my parents were puzzled where did I get the money from.

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Anyhow my love for cars grew with issues of these car magazines back then, mainly oogling at the pictures. Oh, and porn came in later but it’s pretty hard to get those glossy filth back then unless you discover it underneath someone’s stash under the bed, not gonna name any but it involves a couple of my close relatives too.

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Fast forward many moons later, which was around the 90’s I got to know about the touring car series through these magazines. Fell madly in love with the Alfa Romeo 155 amongst the contenders in the series such as the Renault Laguna, the Peugeot 405, the Volvo 850R, the Vauxhall Vectra, the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series even the Nissan Almera. And then there was this Rapid Fit logo on the Ford Mondeo that was always catching up with my favourite Alfas.

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They won the series in 2000 with Alain Menu and Matt Neal driving the Prodrive-prepared Mondeo. Now the Ford Mondeo or Fusion in the States, are making waves and tyre marks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2013.

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Now that Ford Malaysia had brought in the Mondeo from its third generation, it didn’t put in enough excitement amongst the car buyer in Malaysia where the favourable sedans were the Camrys and Accords until the fourth generation Mondeo came in with improved looks and feel.

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The Ecoboost technology in the MK3 Mondeo gained the underdog street credit among the uncles who owned the Mondeo. Surprisingly, most of the Mondeo owners that I know of bought the car because of that racing reputation back in BTCC days.

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And also because they want to be different from the masses but the one that got my attention again over the years is this fourth generation Mondeo.

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Well, actually the Fusion got me interested when it was a hybrid in 2010 in America but that is a different story altogether.

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Taking the design cues from the European Ford Evos Concept unveiled in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mondeo enhances the Kinetic design to the next level across the fleet. Kinetic Design makes use of interesting surfacing, the design language displays the theme of ‘energy in motion’ to all Ford cars.

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A common feature of Kinetic Design is the large, lower trapezoidal grille; while many of the vehicles’ headlights have a ‘stretched back’ look to them. With this explained, you can now stop calling it the Aston Martin’s grill already.

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The Ford Mondeo only comes in the Sedan without the lift gate version for us here and the one with the lift gate option would certainly be a cooler option.

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Ford Malaysia is probably still testing the waters with it as they did not bring in the wagon guise as well unlike Mazda is doing with their Mazda6 that shares the same platform with the Mondeo. Overall the Ford Mondeo looks a bit like the old one especially the rear end of it.

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The new cabin is well presented, for starters, doing away with many of the naff buttons and oddball shapes found on models such as the Fiesta, Ecosport and Kuga. Instead, you get a clean and simple design dominated by an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Sync2 infotainment.

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The conservative design incorporates some excellent storage solutions ; the hidden area behind the fascia, for one and the general lack of clutter is most welcome.

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Some of the Fiesta and Focus owners are not impress with the clean dashboard but I guess it works for Mondeo’s target market group. So if you are happy with the Nokia handphone on the dashboard, stick to the Fiesta, Ecosport and Focus or the Kuga.

No funky designs here, just plain simplicity for us fast uncles. There is also big door pockets, plus good cup-holders ahead of the electric park brake.

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The lane keeping aid is pretty cool too. By monitoring road markings, this system detects if you appear to unintentionally move out of your lane. If you do, your steering wheel will vibrate to warn you. If lane departure continues it will also direct you back into your lane by applying steering torque, unless your indicator is on.

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We’ve tried this at a safe speed and location but with hands barely touching the the steering wheel and at a sweeping corner and surprisingly it did keep the car in lane but don’t expect the car to drive for you just yet. Although it has all the new tech in it but this is no KITT2000.

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Other than that, the comfy seating position seems to be just right for most Malaysians with adequate head and knee room in the cabin.

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Where the Mondeo really shines is cabin space. The rear seats are like the world (Mondeo came from the word Mundus in Latin meaning World by the way) it’s vast and the front seats are heated in the flagship car. And we wish Ford Malaysia to bring the ones with the inflatable seatbelts as they are actually really comfortable and, because they increase the belt’s surface area, they protect the neck and chest better to boot.

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The Ecoboost engine on this one has the slightly detuned 2 litre engine Ecoboost from the Focus ST that pushes 240 horses with 345 Nm of torque. Although with these figures, the engine is pretty smooth, refined and deliver their power in a linear fashion, though it is not as fast as you can go like in the ST due to the kerb weight factor.

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Ford engineers have struck an impressive balance between ride and handling in the Mondeo, which responds crisply to driver inputs while absorbing bumps with a minimum of fuss. It feels quieter than some competitors on a variety of surfaces surrounding the city, though it’s hard to place a definitive verdict on road noise without a back-to-back test.

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Driving with the cruise control is something that you need to adapt with when Ford has its adaptive cruise control in the Mondeo. Standard cruise control is great on the open road. But, even here, you can find traffic. So instead of having to turn the system on and off, the all-new Mondeo adapts. Sensors scan the traffic ahead, updating vehicle positions 20 times a second.

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If traffic slows, so does your speed. When the traffic clears, it returns to your pre-set speed. So if you need to be in BTCC mode, make sure to switch it off or else you can’t get much drafting when the system will distant you off the front car.

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Ford has delivered a car with good equipment levels, hugely spacious interiors and sublime comfort, tempered by a slightly less engaging driving experience and a less diverse powertrain line-up than some may wish for. Nevertheless, the Passat, Mazda6 even the Sonata will have to deal with this new one from Ford as it has become quite the favourite in the local scene today.

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Maybe lowering the suspension on 18-inchers, no wait, i’ll swap it with a 19-inch wheels with a lower profile tyres will definitely improve much on the looks as well as the handling if I were to buy me one of this.

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That is after I get that Alfa Romeo first.

Words: Jeo

Photo: Haznajims

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