Under the skin of the new Ford Mondeo
The new Ford Mondeo is “the most technologically advanced Ford vehicle ever introduced in Europe”, according to bosses.
Ford's crucial new family car comes with a range of new technology, equipment and powertrains, including a high-power diesel engine that leads a range of efficient motors.
The Mondeo – the latest product of the 'One Ford' policy of producing global models – is on sale in Europe as a four-door saloon, five-door hatchback or estate. In the UK, however, the only saloon variant will be the new hybrid, more of which below.
Ford first showcased the latest Mondeo at the Detroit motor show in 2012, although it is badged as the Fusion in American markets. The model was then shown to European customers at the Paris motor show. At that point it was due to be launched in early 2013, but the date has been pushed back more than once.
Engines and the new hybrid
At launch, the Mondeo is offered with a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine in two states of tune - either 148bhp or 178bhp - and it is available with either a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch Powershift automatic. The engine – a single variable geometry turbocharged unit – has a revised engine block, new cylinder head and fuel injection designs and a NOX exhaust trap.
From mid 2015, these two diesels will be available with the option of Ford's all-wheel-drive system, which switches between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive when it senses a loss of traction. The system continually measures how the car’s wheels are rotating every 16 milliseconds, and can adjust power delivery to individual wheels in 100 milliseconds.
Two Econetic Technology models are available, powered by a 1.6-litre diesel with 113bhp and a 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp, both married to a six-speed manual transmission. The manufacturer expects the lower-powered car's CO2 emissions to be as low as 94g/km.
Petrol engines at launch include the 1.5-litre EcoBoost, which produces 158bhp and emits 134g/km of CO2, and the 2.0-litre EcoBoost, which is available with 237bhp. A lower-powered variant of this engine, producing 200bhp, is unlikely to come to Britain.
The Mondeo Hybrid is the first Ford hybrid to be manufactured in Europe. It is made on the same production line as the petrol- and diesel-engined Mondeos at Ford’s facility in Valencia, Spain.
The Mondeo Hybrid uses batteries, control software and continuously variable transmission technology developed in-house by Ford. It is equipped with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, two electric motors – one drives the wheels and the other provides regenerative charging – and a 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Ford puts the Mondeo Hybrid's CO2 emissions at 99g/km.
The entire model range features active grille shutter, stop-start, electric power-assisted steering and smart regenerative charging to further enhance fuel efficiency.
In mid 2015 the engine choice will be augmented by a range-topping 2.0-litre TDCi diesel that produces 207bhp and 332lb ft from 2000rpm. Ford hasn't revealed specific emissions or fuel economy figures for the new unit, but says that CO2 is "significantly reduced" compared to the outgoing 197bhp 2.2-litre TDCi engine, which produces 159g/km.
The engine uses electronically controlled, twin-sequential turbocharging. A small, low-inertia turbine is used to respond quickly to initial boost demand, and a larger high-inertia turbo is able to sustain greater boost pressure for peak performance.
The variable geometry turbochargers are supported by both charged air-cooling and water air-cooling for a more efficient feed of air into the engine, an active thermal management system that improves warm-up times by supplying cooling to specific components on-demand to reach peak efficiency faster and a variable oil pump that increases pressure on demand.
Another addition to the engine range in the middle of 2015 will be the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol. Compared to its use in the Fiesta and Focus, the engine has been tweaked to deliver optimised performance. The unit will produce 123bhp and emit 119g/km of CO2. A 1.5 TDCi Econetic will also join the line-up at the same time during 2015.
Technology and equipment
This is the first Mondeo to receive electric power-assisted steering. The steering weight adapts to match the Comfort, Normal and Sport chassis settings of the continuous control damping system. Ford has engineered a bigger gap between the characteristics of each chassis setting.
The Mondeo has a digital-analogue instrument cluster and a wrap-around centre console design, as well as a soft-touch instrument panel and flock-lined central front storage area and glovebox. It will also be available with optional kit such as a power-adjustable, memory-equipped steering column; power tailgate; heated steering wheel and heated and cooled multi-contour seats with a massage function.
Ford's Sync2 connectivity system with advanced voice control and an 8.0in colour touchscreen will enable drivers to operate phone, entertainment, climate and navigation systems using simple spoken instructions. MyKey will allow Mondeo owners to configure the safety system, inhibit incoming phone calls, restrict the top speed and reduce the maximum volume of the audio system.
The Mondeo is the first Ford in Europe to get new adaptive LED headlamps. The lighting system can adjust the headlight beam angle and intensity according to vehicle speed, ambient light conditions, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation.
The new Mondeo offers a new pedestrian detection technology that could help reduce the severity of accidents at speeds of up to 50mph. Pedestrian detection is part of the pre-collision assist safety package and uses a windscreen-mounted camera and radar located in the bumper to identify pedestrian shapes, cross-referencing them against a database of roadside objects.
The pre-collision assist package also includes active braking, which can autonomously apply braking to help mitigate rear-end collisions, right up to the vehicle’s maximum speed. Other technology includes distance indication, which informs the driver of the gap to the vehicle ahead, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aid and traffic sign recognition.
The Mondeo is the first car in its segment to feature seat belts that, in the event of an accident, rapidly expand in 40 milliseconds like an airbag to disperse crash forces across a body area five times greater than that achieved by a conventional seatbelt.
Premium Vignale sub-brand
The Vignale was previewed in concept form at the Geneva motor show in 2014 and mixes a more upmarket appearance inside and out with a much-enhanced dealership experience for the buyer, including a dedicated contact and a number of exclusive concierge-style services.
Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe’s sales boss, said Vignale cars will be aimed at “time-poor, independent thinkers who want to be made to feel special."
Vignale will sit at the top of the Ford range above Titanium X, for the “10-15% of potential buyers who want an even higher specification”.
The Vignale concept has a new chrome-finish grille, a redesigned front bumper featuring substantial brightwork and LED foglights, unique 20in alloys, chrome door handles and mirror caps and ‘Vignale’ badging. The car loses the 'Mondeo' badge.
Inside, the concept gets quilted leather seats, a pattern repeated on the door trims. Leather is also used on the instrument panel, centre console, door tops and steering wheel. There’s a slim, Vignale-badged storage drawer in the boot, too, and in-car wi-fi.
Selected Ford dealerships will have separate Vignale lounges and a personalised dealer, and owners’ cars will be car washed and vacuumed for free for the lifetime of the vehicle. A similar format could be rolled out for owners of ST-branded Fords.
The Vignale cars and dealerships will be available from later in 2015.
Ride, handling and comfort
The Mondeo will be the first model to use the new integral link rear suspension configuration, which is said to be similar to the systems employed by Audi and BMW. It retains MacPherson struts at the front.
The new rear suspension design delivers the compliance required for greater comfort, while retaining lateral stiffness for enhanced steering and handling. It also allows the wheel to move rearwards on impact with bumps. Ford claims this delivers improved impact absorption for a smoother ride and reduced noise levels.
The all-new platform and body structure combination delivers 10% more torsional stiffness than the outgoing model. Active systems including torque vectoring control, continuous control damping and torque steer compensation enhance the ride and handling.
Ford says it has reduced road noise in both front and rear of the new Mondeo, with the new rear suspension contributing to the improvement along with additional sound-deadening material and a reduction in the number of holes in the body shell.
Wind noise is reduced via an optimised window pillar and door mirror shape, enhanced door and window seals, and improved interior noise absorption. The thickness of the rear window glass is increased by 0.4mm compared to the outgoing Mondeo, helping reduce passing traffic noise for rear seat passengers.
More seals have been added between the bonnet and front wings, and the engine bay sound insulation changed from fibreglass to foam, saving 1.5kg while contributing to a reduction of between 1.5 and 2 decibels for powertrain noise transmitted to the cabin.
Platform and construction
The new 4.8m-long Mondeo is roughly similar in footprint to the outgoing model. It is slightly lower, but sits on the same 2850mm wheelbase, a reflection of the significantly modified, but carry-over, platform.
The Mondeo's body structure features 61% high-strength steel. The A-pillars, B-pillars and roof rails were created front high-strength steel using a process called hydro-forming. Hydro-forming uses high-pressure hydraulic fluid to press metal into more complex shapes than is possible using traditional stamping methods, giving better strength-to-weight-ratios and bending stiffness.
The Mondeo’s hydro-formed roof rails are assembled from fewer sections and laser welded, which does away with joints that can act as weak-spots while saving 2.5kg on each side. The B‑pillar design reduces side impact intrusion by 64mm while saving 6kg.
A new magnesium inner tailgate structure for the four- and five-door models weighs approximately half as much as a traditional steel equivalent.
Front bumper components are made from discarded plastic water bottles. Recycled plastic is used to produce a material called Xenoy that accounts for 38% of the car's front energy absorber, which is the component that sits behind the front bumper and is designed to help mitigate severity of collisions with pedestrians.
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