(Well, for the most part).
What seems like an age ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Australasian launch of the all-new Ford Mondeo and was suitably impressed. With its new design inside and out, coupled with tech and safety advancements, what’s not to like? Anyway, recently, Ford NZ offered me the ST wagon for a local review, which in turn gave me the chance to re-acquaint myself with its advancements and in turn allowed for some family summer excursions – a ‘two birds, one stone’ kind of thing.
Being a child of yesteryear means that I have more of an affinity with a station wagon (over those newfangled SUV’s). They make sense to me. A sedan with a long luggage space, car like poise with room to boot. I’m a city dweller that (on the whole) refrains from taking his vocally critical wife (and tablet engrossed child), on extreme off-road situations. I have little need for ladder height ground clearances or moon conquering terrain drive modes. But, just like having a spare room in the house for guests (or storage), having some extra space is often handy, hence my penchant towards estates/station wagons.
The new Ford Mondeo has all my room requirements covered – and then some. There is more than ample head and legroom for both driver and 4 passengers, then there’s the luggage space – 730L with the seats up and 1605L with seats down, that’s 6,400 cups or enough recommended water intake for over 2 years!
However, despite this commodious interior, it still holds its ‘car like’ footprint. 1.85m wide, 4.86m long x 1.5m tall meaning that it doesn’t lord over its road traveling peers, nor is it an effort to park at malls or stores.
The open mouth grille styling is very upmarket and dominates the nose, especially as it’s framed by halogen projector headlights and LED running lights. Strong shoulder lines and a cosmetic waist feature on its profile (it’s hard to make a station wagon’s profile attractive) and a large tailgate with LED lights make up the rear.
The model I had been given held a 2L Duratorq 16valve common rail turbo diesel powertrain and it’s as sweet as the proverbial nut. 132kW and 400Nm are the stats but the reality is, the engine/6speed gearbox combo, offers quite a giving and powerful ride (and a reported 5.3L/100k efficiency).
As I discovered at the launch, Ford has thrown a lot of energy and resource at the Mondeo’s safety. Airbags throughout, same with sensors, ABS, Integrated park brake/accelerator release, Electronic stability, Traction Control, and my favorite, rear inflatable seatbelts. No, they’re not flotation devices, but in the unlikely event of a crash (quote taken from the airline industry) the seatbelt turns into another airbag and softens the impact and damage that comes from a regular belt. The bigger buckle is a bit more cumbersome than a regular belt and required further attention from my son, but well worth the ‘struggle’.
It’s been a while since I’ve (we’ve) been to the beaches around Titirangi, so I chose Cornwallis beach and reserve as our destination du jour, but rather than going direct, I utilised ‘Scenic drive’ as our route and I’m glad we did. Scenic drive offers sharp turns and tight, involving tarmac. Even at lowish speeds, it’s a route that is custom made for sports cars, so perfect for a family wagon right? The Mondeo felt nimble and responsive, in fact, enough so that I almost forget I was in an estate – thankfully the wife as there to remind me.
Unloading the wagon upon arrival took longer than expected (my wife packs for EVERY eventuality) and the Modeo waited patiently as we basked in the sun and took to the tepid salt water.
With a full day of R&R behind us, we repacked the wagon and headed for home. We kept to the less windy roads on the return trip and engaged the cruise control on the highway, a great way to end the day.
On the whole, the new(ish) Ford Mondeo wagon is a simple and straightforward vehicle, and that’s a good thing. It’s not a ferocious, all-terrain conquering super-vehicle, and to be honest nor does it claim to be. What it is, is a great car to drive that’s easy on the eye. It’s spacious and protective and even though the rear seatbelts are a wee bit fiddly, in my opinion, the Mondeo is certainly easy to click with.