• Falcon Forums road tests the new 2015 MD Mondeo Titanium Wagon

    Cars are many things to many people. A means to an end for some, objects of passion for others. They can be logical in being fit for purpose or emotional in being a statement or extension of one's self. As they say, "one is either a car person or one is not"

    I consider myself a car person, a trait that was inherited from my father, but largely influenced by my earliest awareness of the family Ford Falcon which came at the age of 5 or 6. The family wagon became more than just a mode of transport but a meaning to me.
    It helped obviously that it was dads pride and joy but from my seat behind dad, that was my place in the world. I aligned with my father, I saw the road pretty much as he saw it.
    Our 1970 XY wagon, it never let us down and it made me feel safe. When I was in that car, I felt everything was right in the world, it's the car that started my Ford journey.

    The MD Mondeo is rated as a 5 star ANCAP performer and comes with features and technology that includes the standard fitment of inflatable rear seatbelts in all variants, previously only available in the Mercedes S class.

    Ford’s Emergency Assist that dials 000 automatically in a bad accident when connected to your phone and it even has a programmable MyKey that allows you to limit the car’s parameters.

    In fact the listings for safety aids is impressive and includes
    Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection
    Lane Keeping Aid
    Driver Impairment Monitor
    Blind sport alert
    Forward Collision warning
    Active city stop

    You still get ABS/ DSC and the airbag count is high. Front, rear, side, curtain, knee , the totality here really is a quantum leap above where we have been with falcon and it's in the main something consumers look for now above most other features.

    Shifting attention towards what is called Ford DNA I was curious to know if this newcomer was really a Ford as I know them to be. There is a degree of consistency to engineering of product around the globe that wears the blue oval out front.

    46 years on from our XY falcon, it all comes to an end. Local production of Fords will stop in October 2016 and with it comes the end of the Falcon name plate after 56 years.

    Large, medium, small, consumers have turned their attention to right sizing and features.

    Ford say, no everyone says, the new Mondeo isn't a direct replacement and it's not but from my perspective it ticks most of the boxes that suggest it shouldn't be dismissed by those looking to replace their Falcons in the coming years.

    Enter our 2015 MD Mondeo Titanium Diesel wagon road trip review. We have a purpose here and its not to provide you with an assessment of which in class product is best. We have no experience in like class cars but we do specialise in Falcons and Mondeo is our best alternative for now. We have set about to see if what is written on paper translates in the real world , to see how this car made us feel from the perspective in making the move to evolution.




    2015 Mondeo Titanium Wagon in Deep Impact Blue




    The interior is a nice place to be.

    Initial impressions

    On paper the MD Titanium wagon looks very impressive. So many features and technologies that it was somewhat of a sensory overload. Offered in three states of trim, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium, pricing starts at around $36500 and stretches to around $54500 drive a way for the wagon you see here. The later represents a lot of car for the money any way you approach it.

    First impressions start with exquisite external appearance. Our car, finished in Deep Impact Blue, looked sensational to my eyes and to many other sets of eyes we encountered on our 1550km journey. In fact for the five days we had the car, we received more positive comments than I have had with any of my own performance cars over a similar period. Many people felt compelled to say how good looking this wagon was.

    Turning our attention to the interior, our very first impressions centred on the centre console and in particular the 8 inch sync 2 screen. It simply wasn't as reactive as what I am used to in my FG2. A firmer touch was required and the screen itself was particularly bad for leaving finger prints. Perhaps a combination of its location and angle in the dash and perhaps a result of requiring more pressure in the touch to activate, we all noticed the appearance of the screen suffered from finger marks. Feedback provided by Ford representatives indicated the firmness of the touch was deliberate to avoid false activation and that owners are provided with a screen cleaning cloth similar to that used on glasses.

    Directly below the screen is the HVAC controls. It was easy to use, the buttons not cluttered and logically laid out.
    The presentation of the transmission tunnel was excellent. The finishings high class and executed very well. The storage bin, where auxiliary inputs are housed, has a two stage release that took some getting used to. The first button releases the top portion where there is a storage tray, so to get both lids to lift you must active the release mechanism in a particular way. When investigated we found this leaver split 40/60 favouring the passenger side of the car. That is either on purpose thinking it will be the front passenger doing most of the accessing or perhaps some issue with left hand drive markets. Not a big issue but a quirk you would quickly acclimatise to.

    The very next pleasing feature of note as we left Ford was the fact the indicators and the wiper control were located as Australians expect them to be. Indicators on the right side, wipers on the left.





    This is what 712 litres looks like. Fold the both the rear seats down and it grows to 1585

    On the road.

    Falcon has been the target of many a reviewer for not having a comfortable seating position and not being able to adjust enough things to create an enjoyable user experience. Not so in the Mondeo. Both front seats are very impressive for comfort and support combined with a steering wheel adjustability, I found it easy to set a position that was agreeable to me.
    Instrumentation was excellent and clear to read. There was a quality feel to the switch gear in the steering wheel that actives the customisable screens for the main display.

    This transmission was impressive. There is no other way to describe it. The shift quality, impeccable and I can't recall it being caught out once. I give this the highest marks because it stood out for being smooth and refined in keeping with the image of the Titanium. I believe that is what this sort of consumer wants. You do have a sports mode and you do have steering wheel mounted paddles. The later might just be a touch on the small side and tight for placement but to be honest, left to its own devices the transmission did everything asked and expected of it.

    Once out on the Hume and on our way to NSW, it was time to sample some of the cars technologies. For me this was the first time I have encountered many of these systems so I was very keen to learn if they stood out in execution as well as they appeared to on the spec sheet.

    Blind spot monitoring.

    This is a technology I have been a supporter of from a theoretical stand point.
    Even with mirrors set correctly, when circumstance align, it is possible to have a car in your blind spot as most of us have encountered. I have to say however that at no time while I was behind the wheel did I encounter the indicator light being on and not being able to see part of the obstruction in the mirror itself. In part I think that is due to the excellent size and usability of the external mirrors and in part that we didn't encounter the merge situation where a car can come at you on angle from two lanes away.
    From what I observed it is indeed another aid that has the potential to avoid an accident and an option I would want on my next car.

    Lane departure warning.

    This to me was a completely unexpected surprise.

    You can set the severity of the warning in settings. I found it originally set to the lowest and initially I couldn't detect what was meant to happen. Once I found the setting and set it to max, the electric power steering will shake the wheel simulating driving over ripples strips when you cross the line.
    In the instrument display is a picture of a car. When the system is active one green line appears down each side. When you cross the line, the indication goes red on the side you have crossed and the wheel shakes. The system detects when you have the indicator on and which side you intend to cross, disabling the line in the screen and avoids the steering wheel feedback. Very clever.

    There were occasions where I saw this system switched off for what appeared to be no reason.
    I first noticed this on a narrow road and wondered if this was caused by there being no line markings. On doing further research this is indeed what was happening. No line markings means the system can't see the road distinction in terms of side.

    The other possibility is that Tim discovered the little switch in the end of the indicator stalk is a quick enable/disable feature.
    With ones hands in what I would call a natural position, it was easiest for me to stick my ring finger straight out to the stalk. When I did this I found my finger was activating the very top of stalk where this switch is located. I suspect I might have been turning this feature off via this method accidentally. It is an awareness situation more than anything.

    Radar cruise control.

    Brilliant in a word.
    However we did have some issues with it.
    You can customise the distance to the car or object in front but we did seem to pick up the presence of obstructions when we felt there were none.

    It was at this point we discovered the Mondeo, didn't have a digital speedo. The importance of it here was magnified by two issues.
    We couldn't set the speed by 1kph increments. Instead it wanted to round up or down to the closest 5kph. We found this strange so Tim went to the trouble of downloading an owner's manual. According to the manual we should have been able to single press for 1kph increments and hold for continual incremental increases or decreases, which is what we are used to in our Falcons. The cruise does tell you what it's set to but with no digital read out of road speed you are guessing the smaller increments when you active the system then without the finer adjustment it was considerably frustrating.

    The next issue is that when travelling on a duel carriage way you are aware you are catching the people in front of you, but then you get conned such is the smoothness of this activation. The car sees the impediment and slows. It might only be by a couple of kph but you actually don't notice it. It's easy to think they have sped up and relativity is being achieved with what you are asking and not dictated by what they are doing which is the reality.

    It was at this time I noticed how urgent the cruise is when you pull the front out of the way of the car in front. Once free of that vehicle there was always a nice bit of response to take you back to your set speed.

    The last issue was when we were being overtaken and the car doing so came back in within our set distance . It slowed us down when normally we wouldn't have slowed.

    Again some tuning of the distances for activation is required and ultimately this will be a personal comfort issue with how close you want to get to the object in front. I don't usually like getting too close to the car in front so I felt I was probably adding to these circumstances with the settings I was using.

    The verdict, yes, this works and works well. Once you get used to it and know what to expect and look for, its just the next step forward in what is a very important feature in cars today.


    Slow speed city crash prevention.

    We never tested this. We just didn't come across a situation where we were game to try it. I have no doubt it would have worked very well.

    Start stop technology.

    It worked well. I expected to not like this and I still have reservations about what part of the car will fail with so much activation as is typical in built up areas, but the smoothness of the system was impressive.
    Brake modulation can defeat it but it's not a technique I would recommend. There is a button there to disable it, use that.
    When you are about to pull out into four lanes of traffic, you can't escape that feeling of trepidation as the engine cuts out. It's just not natural but in our car there was very little lag in the system. Personally I would turn this off an leave it off but we did encounter one situation where it probably would have saved a reasonable amount of fuel.
    The other thing it does is cut power to all systems when the engine stops. The HVAC stops for example, so if it was a hot day there goes the aircon, or if caught in rain there goes the demist. Our phones were charging at times and it stopped that process too.
    One would need to do some research on how standard this set of circumstance are for such a feature but on this front, I would opt out of start stop if I had a choice.

    Self parking
    Was not tested on this trip. I have seen it work while at ford so I know it does, it's just without the time to learn the proper activation, I wasn't risking damage to a test car.

    Voice activation.
    I think we suffered a bit by not knowing what phrases it accepts and while it does bring up prompts, there is no substitute for having that awareness yourself, certainly less frustrating.
    That said, Andrew was able to enter our NSW destination via voice control eventually and when a group of us got lost on a pizza run, the sat nav saved us. We did encounter one map glitch but I think that is pretty common and nothing a quality system won't work around which ours did.

    We tried to use voice for the HVAC and it worked very well at picking up, the number for the temperature set point. It appears as though it's just the temperature it accepts and it sets it overall and not in a zone for example.

    Potentially spending time learning the voice side could be beneficial to avoid having to touch the screen and that is not a bad thing.

    Adaptive suspension.
    I am fan of this type of suspension. Disappointed we never got it in falcon.

    Does it work?
    Yes. Three settings in the Mondeo Titanium, sport, normal and comfort. I spent a fair bit of time getting used to these as it was imperative to understand car feel for later in the review for pushing the handling envelope.
    Such systems normally also tune other aspects of the cars features. For example working with the electric power steering it's able to provide a sharper, weightier feel in sports mode, some even change engine and transmission mapping.

    On day one I settled for sports because feedback from the rear passenger suggested that while absorbent, the ride quality was just too soft on the control side when comfort was selected. Something I found when I sat back there and asked for the modes to be cycled.
    When you have a steering wheel in hand a car always feels different to that of a passenger but to me, either way, the comfort setting didn't possess enough body control resulting in a wallowing sensation.
    On really rough roads yes sport was perhaps too stiff for some tastes. I think in the right conditions, a rear end that isn't driven and without weight over it might skate mid corner if the right surface was encountered.

    That left me with normal for the performance challenge I was to set it on the trip back to Melbourne.

    At this point it should be noted that these comments no longer apply to the cars you buy today as they have had a software change to the comfort setting. I believe it's been firmed up due to feedback conveyed to me by Ford.

    In our car it was clear to us there was a very noticeable difference between sports and comfort and while that adds to the sensation that the system offers a wide choice of adaptability to circumstances, for some people the usability was compromised. For the purposes of our car as it didn't contain the software change that was the case. I can't comment on how the new settings would feel in use and what the user might expect in terms of the spread of changes over the three options.

    What systems like this do is allow the user to alter how the car makes him/her feel on a different type of surface. You get sporty when you feel sporting and you get more comfort when the road hasn't been maintained and its normally embedded into the cars greater systems. Transmission and engine mapping as well as steering feel can be customised to the setting selected.




    Impressed with the motivation up front.

    Let's talk about performance.

    132 kws and 400nm are the numbers of note coming from the 2.0 litre donk up front.
    Interior noise is very good which when diesels are involved means noise suppression has been a strong suit. Measured against another diesel wagon that lists at nearly 30k more the Mondeo, the MD was more than comparable. I believe the MD represents about a 3db improvement over MC.
    It's performance from the perspective of overtaking was as you would expect. Responsive and reassuring, especially when matched to the cruise control. When so invoked there was a real sense of urgency which to me at least left me feeling puzzled when the car was at a standstill and being asked to move with some vigour. It's very possible this is acceptable by class standards but from our perspective and coming from our falcons I think it's very likely we need to see just a little bit more urgency injected in the bottom end of this engines performance. It's a little hard to explain this one but it boils down to me feeling the engine offers so much in other aspects of its performance that I had greater expectations off the mark. When we did finally come to a stop I then felt it didn't quiet deliver to those expectation it had imposed on me during rolling performance. Just a bit more low down torque please Ford and it really isn't much. Maybe some transmission mapping is the issue here and to be fair we left the car to do its own thing. Sports mode might have revealed I was more at fault here than it was.

    We can't talk about the engine without mentioning the other part of the equation, economy.
    The numbers read like this.
    Distance travelled was 1550kms.
    Total fuel consumed was 103.43 litres giving us 6.65 l/100 at the bowser verses a trip reading of 6.2 from the computer.
    This is comprised of a first fill result of 805kms using 58.92 litres @ 7.32 and a second fill recording of 745 kms @ 44.08 litres @ 5.92

    The discrepancy between fills is due to the heavy use of fuel at location where as the return trip avoided this but involved more performance testing than the trip north.
    While not huge factors here it must be noted that at no time was the car driven for economy. Cruise, Aircon on, roof open with three adults and accompanying luggage, these numbers represent what is realistic, this is what you will get with no effort at all
    Our car had 7417.2kms when we picked it up.

    When you combine performance, economy, refinement in NVH, this is a win for the Mondeo. We would not have been able to get this from a Falcon doing the same test under the same conditions.



    Here is a feature that caught our eye. Reduces the amount of blind spot provided by the A pillar




    Interior design is very good.


    RWD v FWD.

    My mind was pretty much made up on this subject before I stepped behind the wheel. Ford have told us FWD has come a long way and that we need to move on. I am going to say the same thing. I saw enough, experienced enough at Fords proving ground to come to this conclusion.
    I don't know what professional reviewers do but when you get behind the wheel of a car and you have no real experience with it, you don't truly have an idea of what it will do till it's too late. Most modern cars have a very high tolerance to stupidity right up till they let go.

    I am no hero with someone else's equipment so you need to take what comes next with that in mind as road type and respect for someone else's property, not to mention the safety of ourselves, are foremost in our minds.

    Never at any point on these types of roads are you left thinking I wish this was RWD. In fact at no time was my mind occupied with which set of wheels were providing momentum.

    It just does what you ask without any obvious character flaws.
    This is why these cars are so wildly accepted. People that have them simply don't find an issue with them.

    It is impossible for electric power steering to replicate the ultimate sensation of road to tyre communication. Our car was fitted with excellent Goodyear F1s so grip was never going to be a problem and with the suspension set to normal never at any stage did the car sense the need to intervene and I pushed it to a level I considered to be above that of the average person. This sort of test isn't something people would do. The car might not be travelling at illegal speeds but for the corners and the lines taken its well above what you would normally drive to. The steering feel while doing this? Well let's say I suspect the average person would say, "I turned the wheel and the car did what I told it to, what is the problem". I am not convinced many people would pick it as electric to be honest.

    Time spent at Ford and talking to suspension people helped me here because it's a bit of an interest area for me personally. I had a reasonable idea of what to expect. My time at Ford changed my perception on FWD in context. Dismissing Mondeo as a Falcon substitute based purely on what wheels are driven is a mistake. Please don't do it.
    Please go drive one for yourself. I will be very surprised if you can find a problem or even if you think twice about this aspect when driving.

    To really find fault with this sort of car, on a public road, you are going to be doing something silly or you are guessing what you think might happen travelling at 8/ 10s while driving at 6/10s. That is a special talent that will only come with years of driving experience.

    I feel it's important to talk like this because without it you have no context for what is really being discussed.

    Braking was also really good. Feel and response inspired confidence. Mild repeating induced no degradation which means outside of true performance application you shouldn't see an issue in this area either.

    General living

    Luggage flexibility is how you would expect it to be these days. A 40/60 split rear seat provides options and our car was fitted with ample tie downs and luggage containment accessories. The powered rear tailgate is a nice touch which is going to attract the ladies out there for sure.

    Keyless go, the proximity key, being able to touch the handle to lock and unlock the car, really nice features as well, something I think all falcon owners would embrace. I know I did.

    Quality wise I didn't find too much wrong.
    On the return trip a rattle developed somewhere in the left front of the car.
    The tailgate didn't have a consistent opening gap right around and both sides the side skirts under the passenger door seemed to have too much movement in them.

    On raising these points with Ford I was informed that this car was a very early build and that the quality of customer cars is now much higher, which is saying something because I could not fault too much as it was.

    While noise suppression in this car is generally excellent, the sunroof did introduce more noise than one would ideally like but we found the blind position did influence it to a degree. I really like the full length roof although the back portion is fixed while the traditional front offers both tilt and slide.
    People will be happy to note that even the roof closes when the car is locked.

    The stereo was un falcon like. That translated is more than satisfactory. Good punch, clarity and it was tested. We even got a question about the stereo from a passerby. "cool car mate, what's the stereo like"?
    I found Sync 2 connected and paired to my phone quicker that what occurs in FG2.

    The trend today is to have firm seats, especially in luxury cars that have tended towards sports. The front chairs were very supportive but there is a noticeable firmness to the cushion over say a falcon seat but yet we arrived after long stints on the road in comfort.
    I wouldn't say things like leather and plastics are a quantum leap over what we are used to but it is better. The switch gear feels real nice and the layout is pleasant. Door trims and even the drink holders are a step up on what we are used to and the main instruments have a resolution in the display that shames even the new Mustang.

    The efficiency of the HVAC on the cold side was fierce. This was good for me, because I actually like having cold air but my trip companions didn't like it at my temperature and worse we didn't seem to have the ability to close off individual vents which we can do in our Falcons. This was a particular issue for the rear seat passengers. You can change air direction but you can't shut it off at the vent or we couldn't at least.

    The rear seat is fitted with airbags which is a first for our products.
    Everyone other than myself had issue with them as in they felt weird and to a degree uncomfortable. It wasn't just the road trippers who found this but everyone who sat back there. People also commented that they weren't the easiest to engage and disengage, something I found myself I have to admit but something you would get used to with familiarity.




    A 220 and a 12 volt option provided for the rear seat. Very nice and greatly appreciated.



    Rears seat folded down provides very nice flexibility. A 40/60 split is what we are used to with our Falcons.


    Conclusion
    I have approached this review from a particular forum driven perspective.
    It's not a direct comparison with any other similar product on the market, it's not even a comparison between Mondeos and which offers the best value.
    On that front I suspect the Titanium isn't the model most would go for. It is nearly always the middle model that offers the best of two worlds but for me, yes the Titanium is the model I would opt for. I am impressed that Ford offers so much technology for the price. Many of these features sees one requiring substantially more coin than the RRP of this car from other makers.

    Is it the best in the class, how does it compare to a Mazda 6 for example, I can't answer that because we never set out to answer that question. The professionals can answer that for you. What I have set out to do is to tell you what the new generation Ford product is like and if it's something Falcon owners should be considering.

    The perspective I have to share right now is that after 1500kms over 5 days, this traditional Falcon owner gives this car his unreserved approval.

    Sitting in the back seat of the Mondeo took me back to a time in my life where I was impressionable and valued reliability and safety above all else. Most of us become Falcon owners for a reason and for me I have shared this with you today.

    This car felt solid, it felt safe, it had features and quality. This fundamental still rules today, the ford DNA I knew as a child has evolved into more detailed aspects of car control as an adult. The off centre steering feel and feedback to the balance between comfort and control, effortless engine performance and reasonable economy with everything in between. None of these I could outright fault in this review.

    Leg, head, shoulder room mean the internal packaging of Mondeo is where a large to medium car needs to be in 2015.
    It comes with a plethora of safety systems, convenience options, wrapped in good looks. Too many people said the same thing regrading appearance to ignore its acceptance on this front. It's a great looking car.
    I was proud to be seen driving it to be honest, it made me feel good to hear people approve. It made me feel good to drive it and on that point it conclude with this.

    The most cherished memories I have of childhood involves dads 1970 XY wagon. The road trips as a family, being out on the road was just the best life. The joy of driving came much later, a taste for performance later still but never have I left the house of comfort, reliability and safety behind. I think consumers today are in the same situation. Cars need to serve a purpose, fulfil a role in your life and ideally make you feel something in ownership.

    I liked the way the Mondeo made me feel. I have always liked the way the Ford products have made me feel. There are times this experience reminded me of what started my ford journey. Back then the wagon represented a choice of life style where the family could escape for that weekend away. Today the Ford wagon is back and then some.
    The MD Mondeo is a car that has the potential to start the Ford journey for many, to join the family and enjoy the drive experience in a similar role that Falcon achieved in a different time for many of us.

    Good Points
    • Fantastic Colour
    • Supportive front seats
    • Interior Features
    o Sound system quality
    o Climate control in both heat and cool
    o Heated seats
    o Easy to read instrumentation
    o Easy to adjust the power seats
    • Good vision from driver’s seat
    • Lane alert
    • Fits 3 large bags, laptop and backpacks in the boot
    • Glass roof is nice for ambient light
    • Quiet on the road. Very minimal road and wind noise

    Bad Points
    • No digital speedo
    • Fingerprints on touch screen
    • Cruise control not going up in 1klm increments
    • Rear seatbelts are strange with the airbag and are heavy on shoulder


    Take 2

    Tim says
    "Overall it was a very nice car to drive and ride it. You could tell the differences between the suspension settings. The ride was good, brakes were nice and worked well. USB audio was easy. DAB audio was nice and clean. Navigation was easy to use.
    It has great looks for a ‘family wagon’ Very aggressive looking front end. The wagon shape flows very well and looks very smart on the road.
    The diesel engine was smooth and quiet. It could do with some extra poke down low, however from the 60-70klm speed upwards it was not lacking at all. At no stage did I find myself wanting more power to overtake or to cruise along on the highways etc"

    This review would not have been possible without the assistance of Ford Australia.
    Contributing data and analysis provided by Tim and Andrew.
    Thank you to these people.





    Its clear to see why this car received so much attention
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Falcon Forums road tests the new 2015 MD Mondeo Titanium Wagon started by HSE2 View original post
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