The Ford Mondeo Titanium is packed with spec.

The Ford Mondeo Titanium is packed with spec.

The fourth and latest generation Ford Mondeo (Fusion) can guide drivers hands-free out of parking spaces at the start of their journey and deflate the seat-base bolsters to allow them easy exit at the end.  Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we slip inside the Mondeo to see what else it offers.

Seating

Mondeo's powered, heated and cooled front seats also incorporate a massaging function. Its nano-valve technology uses memory-shape metal wires the width of a human hair to control airflow in and out of the 11 individual seat cushions.

A team including two medical doctors helped develop the seats using techniques including pressure mapping, ultra-sonic posture monitoring for viewing occupant spine movement when seated, and electromyography that measures the small electrical impulses created by muscle movement.

The front seats also feature a thinner seat back, giving more legroom for back seat occupants. Two adults can sit comfortably in the back, three at a pinch. Rear seats integrated with inflatable seatbelts are available although ours didn't have them. Ford states that, in the event of an accident, the belt expands to disperse crash forces across a body area five times greater than that achieved by a conventional seatbelt.

Once seated with the engine switched on, drivers are greeted with the reconfigurable instrument cluster display incorporating an analogue central speedometer and ancillary screens either side. A wrap-around centre console has a symmetrical design that is accessible to both the driver and the front seat passenger. Chrome surrounds and accents also wrap around the air-vents and soft touch controls. Storage-wise, Mondeo has plenty of cubby holes with two cup holders in the front and rear.

Infotainment

The centre console carries Ford's latest SYNC 3 voice control connectivity system with an eight-inch touchscreen. SYNC 3 enables drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones, giving commands such as  "I'm hungry" or "I need a coffee" to locate nearby cafés and restaurants, or  "I need petrol" for local fuel stations.

Located beneath the touchscreen is the HVAC control panel. Noteworthy here is an air-quality sensor that automatically switches on air recirculation when pollution is detected, and a humidity sensor that enables pre-emptive measures against flash-fogging of window interiors.

Advanced driver assistance systems

On the ADAS front, Mondeo crams in technologies like Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. The car will apply automatic braking to mitigate or avoid a collision with a vehicle ahead. Its Active City Stop operates at speeds of up to 25 mph. At higher speeds, the Pre-Collision Assist uses radar and camera technology enabling it to scan ahead and automatically apply up to full braking force thereby helping the driver mitigate or avoid a rear-end collision.

Radar technology further enables the new Distance Indication feature and Adaptive Cruise Control technology. As the name suggests, Distance Indication provides a visual interface to show the driver the time gap to the vehicle ahead. 

In addition, the forward-facing camera supports Lane Keeping Aid, which applies steering torque to guide the car back into lane if it detects unintended drifting towards the lane marking.

The Mondeo is equipped with Active Park Assist featuring Perpendicular Parking, which enables drivers to detect suitably-sized parallel parking spaces and reverse hands-free into spaces parallel to the road and side-to-side with other cars. This parking feature is supported by both Park-Out Assist, which helps drivers to exit parallel parking spaces; and Side Parking Aid, which delivers an on-screen visual representation and audible warning of obstacles to the sides of the vehicles, as well as to the front and rear.

Material matters

Hydro-formed high strength steel is used to produce the A-pillars, B-pillars, and roof rails. A magnesium inner tailgate structure for the four- and five-door models provides a 40 percent weight-saving compared to a traditional steel equivalent.

  • The car's body structure consists of 61 percent high strength steel. Bake-hardened steel is used in the roof structure to reduce weight by a further 0.5 kg. Further structural developments include:
  • An anti-roll bar uniquely designed to limit transmission travel in a frontal impact, minimising steering rack movement.
  • Sill rocker panels made of martensitic boron steel for improved side impact protection.
  • Bumper crash cans optimised for energy absorption and harmonised with chassis rail characteristics.
  • A flanged front cowl design that allows for flex under impact to increase energy absorption.
  • An integrated rear underbody wheel-arch-to-rail connector that increases torsional stiffness by up to 25 percent compared with a traditional design.

On the road

So we took the Mondeo hybrid saloon out for a spin last week. A late arrival to the party, it marks the automaker's first electric-petrol to reach Europe. The 1.4kW lithium-ion battery pack stored in the boot – and taking up a large portion of it - is assembled in Ford's facility in Rawsonville, Michigan, US. In addition to batteries, this facility produces fuel pumps, carbon canisters, air induction systems, ignition coils and transmission oil pumps.

The hybrid's 'smartgauge' located right of the instrument cluster continually feeds back details on ways to improve your fuel economy. We managed an average of 52mpg covering town and country, compared to the blue oval's claim of 67.3mpg. That's not bad, all things considered, and it would have been higher had we spent more time quietly cruising about town.  

Mondeo's new suspension design provides a quiet and comfortable ride. Indeed, it is packed with soundproofing materials to give it a more refined feel. Ford states that integral link rear suspension contributes to road noise reductions of around three decibels in the rear and two decibels in the front, supported by additional sound deadening material within the underbody shields, wheel arch liners and front and rear doors to block tyre noise. The number of holes within the car's body shell have also been reduced to minimise noise transfer.

Wind noise is decreased through optimised window pillar and door mirror shape, enhanced door and window seals, and improved interior noise absorption. A wind noise level of 21.1 sone – a metric for loudness – is an 8 percent improvement over the previous generation Mondeo. The thickness of the rear window glass is increased by 0.4 millimetres, 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, contributing to a reduction of about two decibels for powertrain noise transmitted to the cabin.

On balance, the Mondeo felt comfortable, relaxed with few shortcomings. Its interior is well packaged and spacious with some useful infotainment and connectivity features.