When we first reviewed the Ford Mondeo in February 2010, our man Danny enjoyed the drive and gave his overall thumbs up but commented that the package would be closer to prefect if it had an Ecoboost or a TDCI engine, as the 2.3 litre Duratec HE engine’s 159hp and 208Nm was a little underwhelming.
It looks like Danny’s wishes has come true as we hear SDAC is preparing for the launch of an updated Mondeo later this year. We jumped at the opportunity of trying out one of the new facelifted Ford Mondeos currently available in Singapore in Titanium spec with a 2.0 litre Ecoboost engine and a 6-speed Powershift transmission. Our current Mondeo is of Trend spec, with a normally aspirated 2.3 litre engine and 6-speed slushbox automatic.
Look after the jump for our findings after a short drive.
Other than the new front end which features a new grille, LED daytime running lights, bumper design (similiar to the facelifted Focus), and various other changes, the headlamps have also been updated to new feature projector lenses with HID which gives it a more upmarket look compared to the current Mondeo’s reflector lense.
The tail lamp’s shape has been changed very lightly – if you look at the photo above, the right hand side of the tail lamp was not an arrow-point shape as per what you see now – refer to this photo for the pre-facelift shape. There are now LED light bars integrated into the tail lamps so it will stand out more at night.
Get in the car and the biggest change will be staring straight at you in the face – the change from the Trend trim level to the Titanium trim level gives us this color LCD multi-info display in between the two instrument gauges, a significant upgrade from the instrumentation panel that does not feature this LCD screen.
Other than displaying a settings menu which you navigate using the four-way arrow buttons on the steering wheel, the multi-info display also takes on the duty of the fuel gauge, headlamp and door indicators. You can also configure it to show fuel consumption in real time, average fuel consumption, distance to empty, etc. You can also configure the display’s color theme – there are two. This blue theme that you see here looks nice and adds color to the cabin during the day. You can also select a black theme if you want the display to blend in better with the rest of the interior.
There’s also a Ford ECO mode menu which scores you on how economical your driving pattern is. You can be scored based on speed and anticipation – the latter probably takes into account how often you change between braking and accelerating, which you can minimize if you cleverly predict the traffic patterns around you.
The Titanium spec also adds keyless entry and start to the Mondeo’s equipment level, also an upgrade over the current Malaysian Mondeo’s spec level.
The most significant change is of course the powertrain, which now features a 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine mated to a wet clutch 6-speed Powershift transmission. This is the exact same combination found in the Volvo XC60 2.0T and the upcoming CKD Volvo S60 2.0T. The EcoBoost engine makes 203 PS and 300Nm of torque. This is the lower tune of the two EcoBoost engines available on the Mondeo – there’s also a 240 PS version on the Titanium X Sport trim. I suppose this hints at the possibility of remapping the EcoBoost for more power if you’re interested in aftermarket tuning.
As Volkswagen’s DSG is the benchmark for twin clutch transmissions, a comparison of course has to be done – the 6-speed Powershift doesn’t shift as quickly or as seamlessly as DSG under hard driving but I felt that it did a little better than DSG at low speed high precision maneuvers, such as inching your way through a traffic jam or when precisely maneuvering your car into a parking spot. The creep behaviour of the Powershift transmission also felt more natural and similiar to a slushbox automatic. The wet shift Powershift is miles ahead in refinement compared to the dry clutch Powershift found in smaller Fords.
Being a modern turbocharged engine, the engine was very torquey from the get go and turbo lag was quite minimal. The combo actually feels much better to drive with a light to medium throttle and minimal downshifting as it is quite a desirable trait to have the car pulling away strongly despite low engine RPM (which also translates to low engine noise). The combo allows you to drive this way most of the time and if you do so you’re more likely to save fuel as well. In fact, you may feel a little underwhelmed with the sensation of revving the engine to the redline as the engine already gives you so much punch in the mid-rev punch that it doesn’t get very much better nearer to the redline.
The airbag count remains as 7 as per the current Malaysian spec Mondeo, but ESP stability control has now been thrown into the mix, which is a very welcome addition. I did feel a little torque steer when flooring the pedal on a slightly uneven road. Other changes I could notice – seats are now leather, there are air conditioning vents for the rear passengers integrated into the B-pillars, and there are now proper tail pipes instead of the odd-looking tips hanging down below the rear bumper on the current generation Mondeo.
As an overall, the facelifted Mondeo with EcoBoost and Powershift feels like much more complete package compared to the current Mondeo. Although there’s no word on exactly when SDAC will launch the car here, the price could be revised upwards into the RM18x,xxx range, up from the current RM178,888 price tag (you can currently get a pre-reg unit with integrated GPS at a cheaper price currently), which isn’t too bad for a high spec CBU Belgium car that offers us exactly the same stuff the Europeans are enjoying.
Look after the jump for more pix of the Singaporean car.
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