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Wednesday 14th February 2007


FORD SHOWS OFF NEW MONDEO

But can it rescue Ford from the financial brink?

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Ford has released the first images of its all-new Mondeo ahead of its world debut at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show -- and it could be the cash-strapped company's make-or-break product.

Design

The Mondeo uses Ford's 'kinetic design', with chamfered corners and a deep offset between the top of the bonnet and the front wings and a shoulder line along the side of the car to a high point at the rear. An undercut line runs from the front wing wheel lips through the side of the car. Inside, Ford's used 'piano black', soft-touch materials and ambient lighting.

Models and options

Standard equipment across the range includes Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), capless refuelling with fuel inhibitor to prevent misfuelling, Thatcham Cat. 1 alarm, air conditioning, 'follow-me-home' lights, trip computer and an MP3 connector socket.

There are three bodystyles: a four-door, a five-door hatch and the estate, all available from launch. For each body style, four series are available: the Edge, which "provides a high level of standard equipment essential for business and family needs"; Zetec, and the range-topping Ghia and Titanium X models. The Ghia model offers "luxury with use of chrome and wood ornamentation inside", while Titanium "will appeal to those customers favouring a more contemporary, technology flavour", said Ford.

Technology

Standard technology includes keyless entry and keyless start with a start button (yawn), new Ford "Convers+" Human Machine Interface (HMI) instrument display, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert, Interactive Vehicle Dynamics Control with Hill Launch Assist, and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

The company's Easyfuel system guards against either petrol or diesel misfuelling at the filling pump as the fuel filler neck aperture has been specifically designed around the different sizes of fuel nozzles. Ford said it had engineered its system only to allow the nozzle that matches the corresponding fuel type of the car to enter the filler neck.

Driving quality

The Mondeo aims to offer superior driving dynamics as a core attribute, combining a refined ride with minimal noise, vibration and harshness, reckoned Ford.

Major modifications include:

  • Wider track
  • Optimised front suspension design
  • New rear suspension design
  • Isolated rear subframe
  • Optimised steering system
  • Suspension

Underpinnings include the tried and trusted MacPherson front suspension with isolated subframes for lower NVH, control arm hydro bushings, S-shaped springs and dual path strut mounts.

At the rear, Ford's updated the multi-link rear suspension and isolated subframe mounting system and uses the S-MAX Control Blade design with four links to control each wheel precisely.

As a result of its efforts, Foprd reckoned the system delivers lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness -- with noise in particular down by 3dB -- 50% down.

Powertrains

Petrol and diesel engines available include:

  • 1.8-litre Duratorq TDCi 99bhp or 123bhp diesel with five-speed manual transmission. The 123bhp version can also be specified with a six-speed manual transmission.
  • 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi 138bhp diesel with six-speed manual transmission.
  • 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi 128bhp diesel with a new Durashift six-speed automatic transmission
  • 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT 108bhp or 123bhp petrol engines with five-speed manual transmission.
  • 2.0-litre Duratec HE 143bhp petrol engine with Durashift five-speed manual transmission.
  • A new 2.3-litre Duratec HE 159bhp four-cylinder petrol engine with Durashift six-speed automatic transmission.

Range topping, performance-orientated 2.5 litre Duratec five-cylinder 217bhp petrol engine with Durashift six-speed manual transmission.

Ford claimed the Mondeo has appeared every year in the nation's top 10 favourite cars. A total of over four million Mondeos have been built since launch in 1993. More than 1.5 million of those were sold in the UK.

"The exciting new Mondeo is very important to us", said Ford's UK boss Roelant de Waard. "It's probably the most elegant car we've ever launched, and it's certainly the most technologically-advanced. Like the S-MAX, Car of the Year 2007, the new Mondeo will attract many new customers to our showrooms as well as delighting our loyal UK customer base," he said.

The Mondeo may not be the most exciting car in the world but, compared to its counterparts, it's been good to drive and offers a flexible range of options.

More importantly, it also provides Ford with a significant proportion of its bread and butter income, which will be required if the financially ailing Blue Oval is to survive. If you don't want to see Ford go under, hope the Mondeo takes off...

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