IN ANOTHER attempt to win environmental kudos and new customers at the expense of Toyota, Ford Australia this week released details of its revised 2010 Mondeo range featuring an upgraded diesel engine that is claimed to be more economical than the Australian-built Camry Hybrid.
Due on sale in the third quarter, the imported MB Mondeo’s upgraded 2.0-litre ‘Duratorq’ TDCi engine enables the LX hatch variant to achieve 5.9L/100km – 0.1L lower than the Camry Hybrid – when measured on the ADR 81/02 combined-cycle fuel consumption test, which is laboratory-based rather than a real-world test.
However, unlike the Luxury variant of the Camry Hybrid, which has the same economy rating as the entry model, the broader Mondeo diesel line-up – which will now covers the LX, Zetec and Titanium grades in both hatch and wagon bodystyles – consume more fuel, at 6.2L/100km.
Furthermore, all Mondeo TDCi variants produce more CO2 emissions than the Camry Hybrid.
According to the same ADR standard, the Camry Hybrid produces 142g/km of CO2, while the Mondeo LX TDCi hatch emits 157g/km out of the tailpipe and all other diesel variants are rated at 165g/km.
In other measures of performance, the Mondeo TDCi improves on the current 103kW/320Nm output of its 2.0-litre direct-injection common-rail ‘Duratorq’ turbo-diesel, now producing 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque.
Left: Ford Mondeo Titanium. Centre: Zetec interior. Below: LX wagon.
By comparison, the Camry Hybrid’s 2.4-litre petrol Atkinson Cycle engine delivers 110kW and 187Nm, while the electric motor can produce 105kW and 270Nm.
Combining with a continuously variable automatic transmission, the Camry Hybrid can also travel in electric-only mode for up to 2km and has an automatic idle-stop feature, which the Mondeo does not.
All outgoing Mondeo TDCi variants return 7.3L/100km and 193g/km.
In part, the incoming diesel’s improved environmental performance is explained by the introduction of a Getrag-developed six-speed ‘Powershift’ dual-clutch transmission, which replaces the previous conventional six-speed automatic.
Specifying the new DCT also brings with it a hill-start assist feature and an upgraded electronic stability control system.
According to Ford, the engine now meets the Euro 5 emissions standard, benefiting from a revised combustion system design with lower compression ratio, increased combustion chamber diameter and reduced swirl.
A modified higher-pressure fuel injection system (now at 2000 bar) with solenoid eight-hole injectors is also used, along with smaller low-inertia variable-geometry turbocharging. The current oil-burner uses six-hole piezo injectors and a lower 1800 bar maximum pressure.
Ford claims improved refinement as well as lower emissions and better performance, despite the higher injection pressure.
VFACTS figures released last week show that the Camry Hybrid is outselling the entire Mondeo range – though only just, with only 32 units separating the brands (with Camry Hybrid on 1686 sales year to date) – while the conventional four-cylinder Camry range remains the runaway segment leader with 5446 sales YTD on top of the hybrid version.
Besides the two Camry model lines, the Mondeo also currently sits behind the Mazda6, Subaru Liberty, Holden Epica and the Honda Accord Euro on the sales charts.
The latest Mondeo campaign follows the Fiesta Econetic advertising blitz, which has highlighted the light car’s diesel fuel economy of 3.7L/100km compared to the Toyota Prius hybrid’s 3.9L/100km.
While Fiesta sales have improved since the Econetic’s arrival, Ford’s other campaign targeting the diesel performance of its Focus small car against the petrol Toyota Corolla has not achieved similar success.
As well as boosting sales with private customers with the new Mondeo diesel range, Ford is also counting on winning significant business and fleet custom after last month announcing its decision to kill off the Australian-built Falcon wagon.
With Mondeo, Ford’s bigger diesel focus has seen the discontinuation of the XR5 Turbo variant and its Volvo-sourced 162kW/320Nm 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol engine.
The 118kW/208Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine, paired with a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox, continues unchanged.
Elsewhere, the upgraded Mondeo range includes roof rails on all wagon variants, while the Zetec grade picks up rear passenger air vents.
Pricing starts from $30,540 for the LX petrol hatch, with the Zetec from $35,740 and Titanium from 42,740. Diesel hatch variants start from $34,540 for the new LX TDCi, with Zetec and Titanium kicking in from $39,240 and $46,240 respectively.
Among the wagons, the petrol-powered LX starts from $32,390, with Zetec from $37,240. The diesel LX starts from $36,390, with Zetec TDCi from $40,740 and the oil-burning Titanium topping the range at $47,740.
"There has been a growing acceptance of diesel technology within the medium-car segment over the past few years and Mondeo has played a key part in that evolution, with diesel-powered models now accounting for more than half of all Mondeos sold," said Ford Australia vice-president of marketing, sales and service, Beth Donovan.
“The new-generation diesel powertrain is responsive and refined, and ideally suited to Mondeo's acclaimed driving dynamics, yet without sacrificing fuel economy or CO2 performance.
“It ensures Mondeo will retain its competitive edge in the medium segment, while providing customers with greater choice by offering a mid-size vehicle line-up that meets their needs and budget.”