Mundus auto, a world car
[img_assist|nid=134|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=128|height=170] By Dr Clive Fraser Ford Mondeo Zetec TDCi
By Dr Clive Fraser
Ford Mondeo Zetec TDCi
In last month's column, we compared two cars made in France which are both powered by Peugeot's DW10 2-litre diesel engine.
Just across the border in Belgium, Ford builds the Mondeo at their factory in Ghent and they also use the same French engine.
With so many cars sharing the same drive-train it might be hard to choose which one to buy.
And the story becomes more incestuous, as the Mondeo rides on a platform shared with Volvo and in not too long they'll be using the DW10 engine as well.
The Mondeo was Ford's attempt to build a car for the whole world and they spent six billion dollars developing it in readiness for its launch in 1993.
At the time, it was the most expensive project in their history because everything was new for this model.
Doctors who trained before graduate entry courses will remember that "mundus" is the Latin word for world.
When the Mondeo was released, there was criticism that it was too big for Europe and too small for the US and critics at the time questioned which ‘world' it was made for.
It did however become a darling of the rental car industry and anyone on a fly-drive holiday has probably rented a Mondeo at least once in his life.
After four generations, the reputation of the Mondeo has blossomed such that in 2007 Top Gear announced that the Mondeo was its Car of the Year (shared with the Subaru Outback).
What makes it so good?
Well, for starters it's cheaper than many of its competitors.
In Australia it is possible to pick up a diesel Mondeo for $36,990 drive-away and that's about 10% less than the Peugeot 407.
At the same time the Mondeo is also relatively expensive when compared to a Ford G6 Limited which was recently selling for the same price including leather and Fairmont Ghia trim.
So this is the Mondeo's problem. Customers see the Ford Falcon alongside and think that, as it is bigger and more powerful, it must be better value.
Look more closely and the Mondeo is just as roomy, more economical and way more refined.
The build quality is also so much better than local production so the value is really only seen histologically rather than macroscopically.
All Mondeo models have voice recognition which is a very expensive proposition in Mercs and hasn't filtered through to the rest of motoring just yet.
It didn't seem to work very well when I tested it and I'd normally be happy just to push the buttons anyway to change radio stations.
I did feel a great deal of pressure on my road test and this wasn't as expected coming from the salesman.
It was from a colleague who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cars and who'd actually introduced me to my partner, bless his soul.
He had given me 100 reasons why the Mondeo was the best value European/Belgian car on the market and he convinced me that I'd be experiencing some sort of frontal lobe issue if I didn't buy one immediately.
His advice over the years has been very credible and every one of my articles is dispensed with a healthy dose of colonoscopy prep from him and he was the only doctor in Australia to identify correctly the printing error in the specs of last month's column.
But I'm still recovering from previous doses of Ford phobia developed after dealing with their so-called after-sales service.
And I'm loath to remind my colleague of his disappointment in my partner's decision to buy a Ford Telstar instead of a Mazda 626 that he said was much better made.
He is totally forgiven though because I can recall all the hours he spent trying to pull the gearbox out of his future wife's Ford Escort in the backyard of their hospital house in an obvious gesture of his commitment to her.
I'm pleased to see that with weekly psycho-therapy that he's been able to put his bad Ford experiences behind him, but I'm going to need at least 50 more sessions so I didn't buy the Mondeo after all.
Doctor Clive Fraser
Ford Mondeo Zetec TDCi
Against: VW, Audi, BMW and Merc diesel engines are better.
This car would suit: Belgian IMGs.
- 2.0 litre 16 valve 4 cylinder turbo-diesel
- 103 kW power @ 4,000 rpm
- 320 Nm torque @ 1,750 rpm
- 6 speed automatic
- 7.3 l/100 km (combined)
- $38,990 + ORC
Published: 01 Mar 2010