By Samuel Ee
A year after its looks were refreshed and its engine reworked, the Ford Mondeo gets a further tweak for 2012. This time, the exterior styling is left untouched except for a small badge on the boot that says "Titanium" to denote its current sport-luxury trim level, as well as another that simply says "240".
The latter refers to the power available from the latest update of this mid-sized sedan. The Mondeo's 2.0-litre turbocharged engine driving the front wheels now has an output of 240 hp, up 37 horses. More significantly, maximum torque has risen 40 Newton-metres to 340 Nm.
Ford has retained the basic EcoBoost engine block but the Mondeo gets a new engine head with new fuel injectors, a stronger crankshaft and low-friction cylinder liners.
The power is not only higher but the power delivery has also changed. The Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission has been reprogrammed for faster gear shifts to cope with the output hike. The action is smoother and further reduces torque losses to enhance fuel economy - albeit marginally - from 7.8 litre/100 km to 7.7 l/100 km under the combined cycle.
With the remapped "box", the acceleration of the Mondeo EcoBoost 2.0A is more linear with less turbo lag experienced.
Floor the accelerator from a standing start and the Mondeo revs more sweetly and more urgently than before. Considering its engine size and kerb weight of 1,564 kg, the Mondeo feels pretty confident.
The zero to 100 kmh sprint is now 7.5 seconds - down from 7.9 seconds previously - while the top speed has risen to 246 kmh from 232 kmh before.
Also improved is the Mondeo's throttle response, with the four-door Ford feeling lighter off its feet. The dual-clutch transmission is a joy to shift manually, with the tall gear lever ergonomically positioned for quick changes. Incidentally, the Powershift uses the more intuitive forward nudge for downshifts and the opposite direction for upshifts.
But torque steer is evident if you have a heavy right foot, and there's a slight struggle with the front wheels under hard acceleration.
The steering also has a high amount of power assistance which can make it feel a little choppy at lower speeds. Thankfully though, it smoothens out when going faster, especially in a sharp high speed corner, and this is where the Mondeo is in its element, with a chassis that is an excellent compromise between handling and ride comfort.
Like all Fords, it has a pleasantly pliant suspension and together with its spacious interior, makes the Mondeo a good choice for a family sedan.
|Ford Mondeo 2.0A EcoBoost Titanium
|Price: $185,888 (with COE)
Engine: 1,999cc turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch transmission
Max Power: 240 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque: 340 Nm @ 3,500 rpm
0-100kmh: 7.5 secs
Top speed: 246 kmh
Fuel consumption: 7.7 l/100 km (combined)
CO2 emission: 186 g/km (combined)
Distributor: Regent Motors
Tel: 6376 2233
The cabin may not be to everyone's taste though, with instrumentation and controls that are less slick than the German competition.
But at its price point, it would be hard to fault this competent performer.
This article was first published in The Business Times.