Car reviews - Ford - Mondeo - LX sedan
7 May 2003
AFTER the rollercoaster ride success that Ford had with the Mazda 626-based Telstar (twice it won car-of-the-year awards, in 1983 and 1992), Ford decided to look to Europe (as it had done for 20 years starting from the early 1960s with the British Cortina) for its replacement in the mid-'90s. That car was the Mondeo series. Why it failed in this country wasn't immediately obvious, but it really had little to do with the car itself except for the fact that it was perhaps a little bland to look at and that the name was new to most Australians. In fact, in the areas of dynamic ability and driving pleasure, the Mondeo led its class. But by the time it arrived buyers were beginning to ignore the medium sedan for similarly-priced light 4WDs like the Toyota RAV4. The HB didn't live long here anyway, as it was already two years old by the time it went on sale. It was replaced by the much-improved HC series, which is easily distinguishable by its insect-like large headlights and equally enormous taillight treatment. That car fulfilled the Mondeo's promise of European dynamics and high refinement qualities, but it was all too late for it - the Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V were waiting in the wings. In the end even Ford gave up, swapping the Mondeo for the American designed (and Mazda built, ironically enough after the Telstar) Escape 4WD.
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