Mondeo. A nameplate that, in some eyes, is as sexy as a crocheted turtleneck, not nearly as widely accepted in Australia through its numerous generations as it was and is in Europe. In the US, it’s called Fusion, mainly because the arrival of the fourth-generation MD version, unveiled in 2012, amalgamated two mid-sized Ford models from different parts of the world.
In Australia, its MC third-gen predecessor kicked along, under the radar and out of the sales charts, until 2015, well after Ford had announced the axing of its still-produced large rear-driven home-spun Falcon. It’s so surprise that the front-driven, imported, mid-sized MD Mondeo that effectively replaced received a fairly tepid reception during Falcon’s swan song era?
Thing is, the Spanish-built MD Mondeo, surviving six years though to 2021, is quite good. Not sexy, sure, but it does what quality global mainstream-badged mid-sized family cars do: addressing needs, comfort and safety to a very accomplished level. And this makes for a quite compelling and shrewd used-car bargain.
For a start, ‘mid-sized’ is deceptive: it’s longer in wheelbase, wider in some cabin measures and larger in bootspace than Falcon. It’s also a hatchback, rather than sedan, for added load convenience. Unlike the questionable ‘Commodore’ branding Holden chose with its rival ZB model line, it’s perhaps wise that the Blue Oval didn’t rebadge MD as a Falcon in a market still stinging from the closure of local manufacturing…
It had the credentials on paper. In either five-door liftback or wagon form, Mondeo is very roomy, with heaps of leg space through both seating rows, the former bringing 557L of luggage space, the latter as much as 1605L. But the new MD range also brought the sort of wide-ranging active safety buyers have become accustomed to (in some variants), with impressive refinement, long open road legs and a powertrain suite that proved amply capable of filling Falcon’s vacant shoes.
Absent from Mondeo DNA was much in the way of sportiness or driver engagement, but nor was it tasked with fulfilling either.
The engine line-up is a trio of 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. Two petrol engines could be had, with base Ambiente offering 149kW/345Nm while mid-spec Trend and ultimate Titanium versions fitting higher 177kW power with identical peak torque, both units backed by a six-speed torque convertor auto. A sole diesel, just 132kW but with a lusty 400Nm, is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
At launch, the MD Mondeo started at around $33k for the Ambiente hatch and topped out at a touch under $50k for the Titanium oiler wagon. Diesel power was marketed as the premium options and wanted for an extra $3k-ish more than equivalent petrol versions. Stands to reason. Not only does the oiler save at the bowser – 6.5L/100km claimed against the petrol twins’ 8.5L – it ups towing capacity from 1200kg braked to 1600kg.
Equipment varies between ample (Ambiente) to plush (Titanium), with MD launching with Ford’s Sync2 infotainment architecture before adopting Sync3 for MY17, when the mid-life touch-up also brought detail changes such new colours and new inch-larger wheels across the board.
The MD Mondeo is a five-star ANCAP prospect, but safety conscious buyers should steer clear of the slim-picking Ambiente stuff and at least stump up for a Trend, which fits autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping. The Titanium gets the full safety fit-out, including adaptive cruise and blind spot monitoring.
The last Mondeo would enjoy three years sat outside Falcon’s shadow, its final nip and tuck update surfacing as the ‘MY18.25’ in 2018 before the nameplate left showrooms for good in 2019. Worth noting is that the late-gen versions were offered with five-year warranties.
What’s MD Mondeo like as a used proposition? Read on to find out…