Until recently there hasn't been much to get exited about the Ford Mondeo range. The 2.0 litre, DOHC four cylinder engine that powers the run of the mill Mondeo offers reasonable performance for a mid-sized family sedan, but it certainly doesn't have any sporting pretensions.
Early this year, however, Ford introduced the Mondeo ST24 that is powered by a 2.5 litre Duratec V6 engine that produces 125kWs at 250rpm and 220Nm at 4250rpm. To compliment the extra performance developed by the V, the Mondeo ST24 is adorned by a smart looking bodykit with a chrome mesh grill, a boot lid spoiler, deep-section bumpers , side skirts and 16 inch alloy wheels.
The 2.5 litre V6 makes most of its power at high in the rev range and is mated with a quick shifting five-speed manual gearbox. Although the engine develops reasonable mid-range torque, it could do with a bit more torque in the low rev range, especially when dawdling around town. But once out on the open road with the engine purring along at 4000rpm, the ST24 is a willing performer.
Ford has also firmed up the Mondeos suspension package to give the ST24 a more sporting bent and the result is minimal bodyroll and good road holding although the ride can be a bit bumpy over secondary roads. The low profile Michelins do a good job of maintaining traction when cornering hard and thanks to the electronic traction control, there is now wheel spin when accelerating. And the brakes work well, too, with larger front discs to deal with the extra performance and extra weight of the V6 engine.
The mondeo isn't a cheap car at $34,000 but the equipment level is high, with features like ABS brakes, duel airbags, climate control air con, power windows and mirrors, heated door mirrors, remote central locking, alarm and leather seats. The driving position is comfortable with lots of adjustment and good lateral support thanks to the large bolsters. The dash layout is simple and functional and there are a reasonable amounts of storage areas.
The three rear seats all have head rests but there isn't much room in the back. Ford expects the ST24 will account for around 15 percent of a projected 1800 Mondeo sales per year.