Monday, March 2, 2009
Let me reveal this right away that I have always loved the Holden vehicles. I always loved the way they looked and always kept ridiculing Ford for their proud and loud cars that would undoubtedly slip on the road as Holden takes the inside edge and scream, “Follow me till the coda”. I did not expect this. Actually, I did. But, I did not expect the change to be so drastic that I switch to the other side. This blue oval has won my heart – Ford’s Mondeo XR5 Turbo – the sporty Mondeo.
The muscular wheel arches over the 18 inch alloys, a decent body-kit and hatch-like body lines collectively make it an exceptionally good looking car. God, I feel like just walking around it again and again and praising its good looks. But, how good is this German engineered, Belgian made Mondeo?
Just as fantastic the shell is, so is its’ semi-sporty, semi-luxury interior. Where most of its competitors namely the Mazda 6 fail in interior quality, the Mondeo excels there too. The leather seats, the overall colour combination makes you feel to keep gaping at it for hours. This basically sets a bench mark in quality and style satisfying both the sporty and luxury conventions of a car under AUD 40 - 45,000. The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is a full-colour display occupying the dashboard along with the other setting buttons are very smartly placed and gives undoubtedly an impression that this car was designed by someone who highly regarded the convenience factor and not just their provisions. The space provided in the car is like space. Yes, I mean this. The leg room, the head room, the boot space which can further be increased by folding the rear seats really spoils you. It also comes with a decent Sony cd-mp3 player enabling iPod connectivity. The dual-climate control, variable heat seats, one-touch powered windows, parking sensors feels like a justification for its price, doesn’t it?
This car carries the engine from Volvo which is also used in the Focus XR5. 217hp is delivered by this 2.5 litre twin-cam, 20-valve and five-cylinder turbo engine. So, since the same engine occupies Mondeos’ bonnet, you must be thinking that the zeal is all lost. Not entirely. Even though the car is 238kgs’ bigger, the torque has been upped to 320nm@1500-4800rpm. Hit the “Ford Power” ignition button and the car lights itself to life. Now, the question is how does this drive? Is it all show and no go?
It is undoubtedly less responsive and quicker than the Focus XR5. Thanks to the availability of torque at such low revs, over-taking is far from being an ordeal. It reaches 100ks’ in 7.3 seconds and drives up to 240ks. The grip is superb and the presence of seven airbags, good and reliable ABS and ESP system and the 5-star Euro NCAP crash test results urges you to push the car to its limit as you are confident that nothing shall happen to you.
Many did complain of the rearward vision of the car. And, I must agree as well. The spoiler blockades the vision. Since, the clutch is light enough I don’t think anyone would complain of Fords’ harsh decision to provide this edition with 6-speed manual gear box only.
The Mondeo XR5 shall cost AUD 41,990. For two-five thousand more, you would not want to buy the pointless Mazda 6 Sports Luxury hatch. You will be narked to learn that the Mazda 6 has the same engine as the Sports Luxury hatch. I can’t help but think, then why should I buy the expensive one? The only difference is the body kit and some sporty interior.
Engine, suspension and seats are the major differences between the XR5 and a standard Mondeo. So, it is kinda hard to settle that if the XR5 behaves well so should the Mondeo. But, picture this, the XR5 with its low-profile tires, sporty suspension is better and comfier than its rivals – Mazda 6 Sports Luxury Hatch and Honda Accord. That is simply unbelievable but true. Let me simply put it out - even a standard Mondeo is sharper and smoother that its’ rival the Mazda 6, which was conditionally comfy. It is better than the Camry which was comfy but the moment you took a turn there was some inexcusable body roll experienced; very soft suspension.
The only trouble we had with the standard Mondeo was its performance figures. Yes, you can change the temperature, the song on your CD and call using your phone with voice commands. But, the price tags begin from AUD 29,990 to 37,990 (diesel). The Mazda 6 costs almost 2 grand less. Mondeo runs for 10.5ks’/litre and the Mazda runs for 11ks’ despite being 158hp and 208nm that is 12hp and 18nm lesser than the Mazda 6. But, then it is to be reminded, the standard Mondeo is a 2.3litre unlike Mazdas’ 2.5litre. The car is clearly slower than the Mazda and its engine performance is comparatively sad.
May be it is time we conceive the “cheap and kinda worthy” factor. In this case, we would suggest buying the Mazda. But, what if you want to portray yourself as being radical and a smart buyer?
In such case, we would recommend the Mondeo. Why? You get much more goods to play with for just an extra grand. It is better looking, it is more comfy, it is sharper and it is cool as Bond’s been driving this, hasn’t he?
Now for the harsh truth – despite the small price difference and slightly bad performance, we still think Mondeo rules this segment of cars. Two impressive models!!!
Copyright © Ajey Padival 2008 (Brisbane, Australia; +61-434360675; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Images clicked at Geneva Motor Show 2007