The medium sedan market is in recession. All the manufacturers are trying to bring a fresh attitude in order to convince a client that would buy an SUV, compact van or crossover rather than the classic sedan. The first example of such design refreshment was the Peugeot 407 that made a serious departure from the previous model. To follow this path is now Ford with the all-new Mondeo, which is intended as a design revolution. Following the styling lines of the 2005 Iosis concept, the new Mondeo will be the best example of Ford’s new “kinetic design” philosophy. Sales are expected to start in early 2007.
The current Mondeo was produced starting with the year 2000. Its owners could only be proud by the excellent riding capabilities, nothing of that car being able to produce emotions. Ford understood that in the 21st Century, when comfort and performance are common for most of the vehicles, the difference is made by the design.
The new Mondeo is not going to be an evolution, but a revolution. The first clues for the new model styling were given by the Iosis concept, displayed at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Iosis had a very temperamental design, reminding of an American muscle car. Not even a single detail is shared with the old model. Similarities are easier to find if compared with a Jaguar or Aston Martin (both property of Ford Motor Company).
The original Ford Iosis project was started at the Köln () and Dunton (UK) Ford design studios. The development was finalized between the spring and fall of 2005 at the Modarte, Turin () design studio, by not less than 54 experts.
The production Mondeo will not keep the sophisticated carbon-fiber wing doors featured on the concept, as they are too expensive for production. However, the general proportions, and most of the styling elements will be preserved. The trapezoidal spoiler air intake is most likely to remain unchanged as it is already featured on the new Ford S-Max. Sizes will grow considerably in comparison with the previous Mondeo; therefore, comfort is expected to improve as well.
Rumors are that the new Ford medium model will also be available in some completely new body styles, all sharing the same platform. Probable are a Mondeo fastback, sedan, station wagon and cabriolet. Also probable is a coupe (two-door or four-door), as a replacement for the Cougar, discontinued in 2001. For future development are considered the D-Max (small MPV with 5 seats) and the E-Max (big MPV with 7 seats) using the same technical basis.
Initially it was rumored that the new Mondeo would use the Mazda 6 platform, but it turned out to be based instead on an elongated Ford Focus platform. This new technical basis will also be used for several Volvos, for the new Land Rover Freelander and even for the new Jaguar X-Type.
Ford official sketch
The new platform will allow for the use of Volvo’s five-cylinder engine, already featured on the Focus ST and S-Max. Therefore, it is very likely that the next Mondeo ST will feature the turbo variant of the five-cylinder engine with up to 300 bhp. Other than that, the rest of the engine range will offer no surprises. The petrol engines will include the new 1.8-liter SCi engine with direct petrol injection and 130 bhp, the-2 liter (145 bhp) and 3-liter V6 with 204 bhp.
Diesel available power units will most likely include the 2-liter (136 bhp) developed together with PSA and the 2.2-liter offering 155 bhp. Another novelty for the Mondeo will be the new electro-hydraulic steering system, first used on the C-MAX that sharpens the steering response, but also helps to save fuel.
The new Mondeo will be produced, as the previous model was at Gent, in .
It is intended to be officially presented this fall at the Paris Motor Show, and will be available for purchase in early 2007.The new vehicle is most likely to cost more than the car it replaces.
The original Ford Mondeo was intended as a world car and it had to replace the Ford Sierra in Europe, the Ford Telstar in a large portion of Asia and other markets, while the Contour and Mercury Mystique (the US Mondeo brothers) replaced the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz in North America. Unlike the Sierra, the first generation Mondeo was front-wheel drive. Started in 1986, the development of the car cost Ford US$6 billion. It was one of the most expensive new car programs ever. The first Mondeo was produced between 1993 and 1996 and was significant as its design and marketing were shared between Ford in Dearborn, and Ford of Europe.
In Europe, the Mondeo was instantly declared a class leader, and was elected Car of the Year in 1994. Europeans considered Mondeo a large car, but in other markets such as the and , it had not fared well, as there were larger models that had stronger brand loyalty and offered better value for money.
1998 Ford Mondeo ST200
In 1997, the second generation Mondeo was released. It shared most of the technical components with the previous model and was of comparable dimensions. The design was influenced by the “new edge” tendencies of the late 1990s and made the car look striking for that time. Production of the second Mondeo ended in the year 2000.
The third generation Mondeo was launched in October 2000 and was considerably larger than its predecessor was, but was still based on the first generation platform and drive train. Although Ford abandoned its New Edge design theme for the third Mondeo, it still borrowed some styling cues from the first Focus, giving it an overall effect which many critics felt was more restrained and mature than the Focus if much less distinctive. Two of the previous Mondeos biggest flaws, the modest rear legroom and the uncompetitive diesel version were solved by a longer wheelbase and the new "Duratorq" diesel engines.
In 2007, the fourth Mondeo is about to be released. The 2005 Iosis concept was the car to preview the future production model. Started as a series of free hand renderings by Ford of Europe exterior designer Andrea di Buduo, following briefings from Martin Smith the Iosis is a total departure from previous Ford designs. Working together with Domenico Tonello and Stefan Lamm, the team quickly refined the design to express Ford of Europe’s new design DNA.
2002 Ford Mondeo
Simultaneously, a design team under Nikolaus Vidakovic comprised of Ernst Reim and Tony Peat were developing a similar theme for the interior. Meanwhile the Colour and Trim team led by Ruth Pauli, and including Silke Welskopp and Laura Blossfeld, produced a color and materials concept.
Once the themes had been set, the design was honed using computer aided imaging to then present a proposal to senior Ford of Europe management. The final computer imaging of Iosis was the tool used to move into the next stage of 3D model development. Once the Photoshop image has been finessed and a finished design agreed, it was subjected to software called Alias that roughly maps the surface so that a basic clay model can be machined.
Over the following six weeks, modelers carefully and painstakingly carved the clay into the final shape. "This process," says Smith "is probably the most important during the gestation of a car’s design.” Highly skilled Ford modelers are able to create this complex form. Computer-driven modeling is important but machines do not have the human touch, the experience and skill to appreciate the subtle nuances in design. The optimum and most efficient work stream is a combination of computer modeling and human skills.
2005 Ford Iosis Concept
After the clay is finished, it is digitized using an automated process that measures the car’s entire surface with pinpoint accuracy. That scanned data is then transmitted to the coachbuilder, in this case Modarte in Turin, who uses it to mill the master model. Even then, the process is not finished and a further two or three weeks is devoted to honing each section by hand to perfection. After that, moulds are produced from the master model and the body panels for the final body shell are created.
Click here to read our full Ford Iosis Concept review.
The main competitor for the new Ford Mondeo is the car that originally begun the design revolution in the medium sedan segment. The Peugeot 407 was the car that dared to bring a completely new spirit to the medium sedans and gain back some of the costumers that were attracted by niche vehicles. For 2006 Peugeot has revised its 407 Saloon and SW range with a four-model line-up, available for delivery. A new ‘Sport’ model introduces a compelling specification, while the impressive 2.7-liter twin-turbo HDi Diesel, first seen in the 407 Coupe, is available in the distinctive range-topping ‘Executive’ model.
The four optimized trim levels now combine a progressively increasing level of desirable features, and are identified by their comprehensive model specification designations; S, SE, Sport and Executive. The S model introduces all the range-wide benefits of standard equipment features on 407, while the popular SE model adds items like automatic activated windscreen wipers and headlamps, tire pressure sensors and electrically folding door mirrors. The new Sport model is available with either a 2.2-liter petrol or HDi 136 Diesel engine.
Standard features, over the SE, include electric adjustment of the half-leather/Zeros trimmed front seats, 6-disc CD auto-changer, rear parking aid and a multi-function color display screen. A Bluetooth® hands free telephone kit is also fitted as standard, as it is on the SE model. A substantial choice of power train is offered to 407 customers and the new and much praised V6 HDi Diesel unit, with a displacement of 2.7-liters is now available in Executive trim.
Click here to read our complete 2006 Peugeot 407 review