1992 - FORD MONDEO 1.8 GLX Ford's new " world car "...

...the Mondeo, has already received rave reviews from the world's motoring press and on my experience of two days with the car prior to it's launch, the Mondeo - which name approximates to "World" in many languages -, will, when it goes on sale in the U.K. next week, take the largest of all market sectors by storm.

To be built by plants in Britain, Germany and America, the Mondeo is giant makers Ford's first truly worldwide car, designed to appeal to all market places and, most importantly, to comply with, or exceed, safety requirements everywhere.

While perhaps not as blatantly radical in image as the Sierra was when launched in 1981, the sleek, curvaceous, Mondeo is a quantum leap on in motoring technology from it's predecessor, moves the whole game up several notches, successfully addresses all current safety and environmental concerns, probably offers the best ride and handling of any of it's competitors and is a cut above the herd in nearly all respects.

The 1.8 litre GLX Mondeo that I drove is around the middle of what will - by the end of the year - be a very extensive range and is sure to be a big seller among both fleet and private buyers.

Already available as 5 door hatch, 4 door saloon and estate models, more variants will appear later in 1993.

Currently 5 trim levels are available, base, LX, GLX, rapid Si's and luxurious Ghia's.

A cornucopia of curves, the sleek, stylish exterior boasts a low.3 cd and looks all the better for minimal adornments.

With all of the exterior panels galvanized longevity is assured and the car is now 50% stiffer than the Sierra with only a small weight increase, it feels much more solid, well designed and screwed together.

An extremely well trimmed cabin is also multiply curved, from the dash to the door pockets, there is barely astraight line in sight.

Changing to front drive has made tremendous improvements in cabin and load space, the huge hatch area augmented by the 60/40 split rear seats. The superb front seats are multi-adjustable, both with lumbar adjustment, the driver's seat having very precise electric height adjustment matched by a multi-position steering column topped by an airbag fitted thick rimmed wheel, an excellent driving environment. The curvy dash contains large, clear, instruments, much research has obviously gone into the positioning and comfort of minor controls, the lights being on a very ergonomic, Mercedes-like, rotary switch, among many other examples of the high design standards throughout the Mondeo.

Equipment standards are also very high, this mid-range model having power steering, electric front windows, mirrors, a drivers airbag, seatbelt pre-tensioners, a manual tilt and slide roof, central locking, an alarm and an excellent RDS stereo as standard with ABS and air conditioning as options.

Further up the range 4-wheel-drive, traction control and adaptive damping are fitted, along with ABS and remote locking, as standard.

One of the strong, silent types, the powerhouse for the car is the 1.8 litre, 16 valve, Zeta, engine introduced last year but now even more refined, remarkably quiet, freerevving without a trace of harshness and with a very solid 115 bhp for good acceleration and clean overtaking, a lazy 3000 rpm showing at motorway speeds.

Ford's new MTX 5 speedgearbox is standard, and, as ever for the blue oval cars, is smooth, light and pleasure to use, with a 4-speed autobox an option.

Quality of ride and handling is the Mondeo's strongest area, enormous research has been carried out to achieve the best possible combination of a smooth, comfortable ride and taut handling, research which has really borne fruit. The Mondeo is superbly stable, exciting or smooth at will, the multi-linked rear suspension minimising roll and the precise, wellweighted, power steering and firm, progressive brakes giving the car an agility and composure usually only found in luxury executive saloons from Europe.

Is the Mondeo really all that Ford and the world's motoring press have claimed for it? Yes, on the basis of 48 hours with the car, it most certainly is, exuding style and quality, a superb all rounder, one of the best Fords for a very long time with an immediate feeling of rightness about it. It's gonna be a biggy... 


First Published 1992 - Article © Graham Benge 2007

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