THE NEW Ford Mondeo, on sale later this year, will be able to spot a pedestrian about to cross its path, and apply the brakes if the driver is too slow to react.
The system, called Pedestrian Assist, is a first for Ford and joins a range of high-tech features that Ford hopes will put its long-delayed saloon and estate back on car buyers’ lists at a time when SUVs, such as the Nissan Qashqai, are proving popular alternatives.
Powering the new Mondeo will be a range of lean but powerful petrol and diesel engines. They include the 121bhp version of the car maker’s popular 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. The car maker has countered concerns about the unit’s ability to haul such a big car by saying it has been “refined to deliver optimised performance for a large vehicle.” Emissions are just 119g/km.
The remaining EcoBoost petrols in the line-up are a new 1.5-litre producing 156bhp, and a choice of 2-litre engines developing 200bhp and 237bhp.
Headlining the diesel engine range is a new 204bhp 2-litre TDCi diesel engine producing 204bhp and 332lb ft torque, or 10bhp and 22lb ft more than the most powerful 2-litre diesel in the outgoing Mondeo. There is also a choice of lesser-powered 2-litre diesels producing 148bhp and 178bhp. Both will be available with Ford’s on-demand Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.
A 2-litre hybrid will also be offered featuring a 2-litre petrol engine and two electric motors ‒ one driving the wheels, the other providing regenerative charging ‒ together producing emissions of 99g/km. Ford says it expects the 1.4kWh lithium-ion battery to last 10 years and 150,000 miles.
The new Mondeo’s chassis is lighter but stronger than before. It features Ford’s new integral link rear suspension which, according to the car maker, boosts refinement and handling. Electric power assisted steering enables steering feel to be matched to the appropriate damper settings: comfort, normal and sport.
But it’s in the area of technology that Ford hopes the new Mondeo will make its biggest impact on prospective purchasers. Chief among the new features is Pedestrian Assist. It compares data collected by a windscreen-mounted camera, and by radar located in the bumper, with a database of pedestrian shapes to distinguish people from typical roadside scenery and objects.
When it detects a pedestrian about to cross the vehicle’s path, the system alerts the driver with an audible warning and brings the brake pads closer to the brake discs. If the driver fails to act, it applies the brakes.
The system joins an array of safety aids including Active City Stop and Pre-Collision Assist which scans the road 200m ahead and applies up to full braking force to help avoid many types of rear-end collision.
Meanwhile, driver aids include adaptive cruise control and Lane Keeping Aid, which applies steering torque to bring the car back into line if drifting has been detected. These technologies are joined by Ford’s new adaptive LED headlights which adjust the beam angle and intensity to match the driving environment and a range of parking assist systems.
But perhaps the new Mondeo’s biggest achievement is to restore that age-old tradition, the Sunday car wash. Christopher Hamilton, chief designer of the new model, said: “This is the most elegant, upscale but also athletic Mondeo yet; we wanted owners washing their car on a Sunday afternoon to be able to appreciate the subtle sculpturing that delivers that sportiness.”