New Ford Mondeo launches with Wi-Fi hotspot

Ford takes aim at premium brands with tons of new tech

Ford Mondeo

Ford has taken the wraps off its latest Mondeo saloon. Previous generations of Mondeo have had a reputation for motorway-bashing anonymity, but the new model mixes cutting edge tech including Wi-Fi and a large eight-inch touchscreen with Aston Martin-aping looks.

But let's kick off with some numbers. How about 148 actuators and new fewer than 86 sensors? Then bung in a claimed 10,000 voice commands supported by the excellent Ford SYNC infotainment system.

Everything but the kitchen SYNC

So, Ford is throwing everything at the new Mondeo is an attempt to make mainstream saloons relevant again. What's more, with the launch of the Mondeo - along with the B-Max TechRadar tested recently - Ford's SYNC system is finally building momentum in Europe.

Ford Mondeo

As for how SYNC will shape up in the new Mondeo, Ford says, "SYNC with MyFord Touch will enable drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while controlling phone and media player functions from connected devices, as well as the vehicle's climate control, radio and CD-player, and navigation system, using voice commands."

So, now you know. Other premium features will include an panaromic glass roof on the estate model and LED headlights that turn with the steering and adapt their beam size according to speed. The Wi-Fi hotspot, meanwhile, will support up to five devices.

As for the driving dynamics, Ford says its latest middle-manage road warrior will maintain the Mondeo's reputation for being the sharpest handling car in its class while adding an extra layer of ride comfort.

Petrol-electric promise

Oh and Ford will also offer a plug-in hybrid version of the new Mondeo, known as the HEV, due out around 2014 or 2015. It'll be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 35kWh lithium-ion battery.

Ford Mondeo

Overall, Ford reckons this is the most "premium" vehicle it's ever offered in Europe. The big question now is whether all of this will be enough to offset the fact of dwindling sales of mainstream saloons in Europe.

With the BMW 3 Series now outselling the Mondeo in the UK, Ford will have a tough job convincing badge-conscious buyers, no matter how good the new Mondeo is. And even with that Aston Martin-esque nose and front grille treatment...