As luck would have it I had booked a Staycation to Northland when I was offered the chance to test drive a 2012 (no less) Ford Mondeo and tell you all about it.
Warning: I’m a chick so don’t expect me to lift the bonnet and tell you anything about what’s under it. Instead I will tell you about its smartypants technology that have made us become friends very quickly and now I want one like a child wants a kitten.
It’s deep inky blue and is nice and compact, although it has 4 doors so luggage, hand bags or alright then, kids if you must, can all be in the back seat. A good family car, not too big and Falcon-like, but not too small and Focus-like.
The best thing: I talk to it and tell it to do stuff. I’m very Knight Rider and this is my Kit (and if you don’t know who I’m talking about you should probably stop reading now). In fact I can do everything except fill it with petrol without taking my hands off the steering wheel. I synced my phone then told it who to ring. And after a couple of attempts I have now perfected my English car-speak accent and she dials the correct person. But in the process I discovered that I can also tell it what temperature I’d like it to blow at and what radio station I want it to find.
If I couldn’t be bothered turning my head when changing lanes, no problem. It has a tiny light that shows in my wing mirror when I have a car in my blind spot. (I wouldn’t recommend not looking tho!)
Ford magic: It starts without a key, I just need the remote key lock somewhere on my person or in my handbag and it’ll unlock the doors when I get near and allow me to fire her up with the push of a button. Note: you do need to press lock though and the wing mirrors will fold in. I didn’t realise this on the first day and am just thankful that the honest souls walking past SPQR, where I left her unlocked in full glory on Ponsonby Road. didn’t hop in. Not that they could have started it without the clever key. It also has headlights that turn corners! I didn’t get to experience this because I didn’t drive in the dark, but basically if you’re slowly winding your way around a country road and come to corners, the headlights will turn as you do.
It will also give me a little warning should I stray over the centre or side painted lines by vibrating the steering wheel and alerting me on the dashboard. This is to keep weary drivers awake! And it’s radar also has parking sensors so no more braille parking.
Auto speed: Being used to a manual car, I really enjoyed playing with Cruise Control. Once you set it it will automatically slow down behind cars you might roar up to and if you think you’re tailing a little too close, you can just hit the arrow down button on the steering wheel and drop back a few metres. In fact I didn’t need my feet at all because on other side of the wheel is a + and – button which alters the speed by 5km each time. Good practice for braking before corners. What she won’t do is stop at a red light. Ahem. Not that I bowled through, but I did see just how far she’d go. Yep, straight through if I let her.
Sounds: It took a while to figure out the iPod because since my iPhone was synced (you can sync up to 6 phones and the first one to get in the car will have right of way for that journey) it was pulling some of my more random music from there. However it has an iPod connection and a USB port in the console, which was handy since I didn’t bring my car phone charger, the USB port is charging it as I type…
Eco extras: It has 6 cylinder power on 4 cylinders, 7 airbags, heated seats and rain sensing windscreen wipers. It’s called the EcoBoost with fancy technology but among other things it has 2 clutches so changes gear quicker and is a smoother drive with lower CO2 emissions (no needing to plant a tree after a long roadie).
What I would have liked: The boot is incredibly roomy and while excellent for a long weekend packed with luggage and wine, it’d be handy to have a divider or nets of sorts so the groceries don’t go free-wheeling. And it would be good to have a GPS. We took our own, but if it’s possible to have built-in GPSs, then I’d say get one.
What’s it cost?: Brand new this little beauty is around $53,000. You’d hardly need a big Lotto win to afford that! Meowww?