Ford luxes up the Mondeo with new Vignale line, featuring a more upscale appearance, list of equipment and customer experience for premium European buyers.
Ford doesn't expect the Mondeo Hybrid to be a huge sales success in Europe. However, with governments there backing away from supporting diesel fuel, the sedan offers a hedge against future changes in the market.
Sweden's Teknikens Värld has a reputation for being very persnickety when it comes to auto safety testing, and its latest catch is the Mondeo Titanium Estate 2.0 TDCi 150 bhp S6 MPS (basically a station wagon variant of the Fusion). In addition to the model's mile-long name, it has another problem according to the Swedes, because its weight on the scales does not equal the official numbers for the vehicle.
There are countless Car of the Year awards handed out each year, and naturally, Europe has its own way of doing things. Every year, a panel of jurists representing seven publications in seven different languages and seven different countries get together to name their joint Car of the Year. The panel released a list of 32 candidates back in July, and it has now whittled that list down to seven nominees.
Ford's European operations are celebrating a milestone of sorts as the Mondeo, the Blue Oval's bread-and-butter D-segment sedan in the old country, celebrates its 20th anniversary. The mid-sizer, which was sold in the US for a short time as the Contour, has been a far more popular vehicle in Europe – even receiving regular praise from one Jeremy Clarkson.
History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.
Back in the day, Vignale was a carrozzeria of the highest order, alongside the likes of Pininfarina, Bertone and Zagato. But like Giugiaro-ItalDesign and Ghia, it has since been subsumed into a larger auto group. Ford ended up with it under its umbrella when it took over De Tomaso, and has since used the moniker for a number of concept cars. Now the name is back in the form of a new upscale sub-brand for the European market.
Does the car above, posing fancifully in white, look familiar? Well, it should. Although it wears Mondeo badges in the form you see above for the Chinese market – as it does in Europe – the car is basically the same thing sold in the US as the Ford Fusion. Of course, it's what's under that shapely skin that counts.
Just one year after launching the all-new 2013 Fusion, Ford is reportedly set to alter the sedan's powertrain lineup with the addition of a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. A member of Blue Oval Forums apparently got their hands on the ordering guide for the 2014 model year Fusion, and this 1.5-liter mill is set to be introduced with late availability.
The cover of the latest issue of Auto Express in the UK features one of the first renderings of the next-generation Ford Mondeo, which as we all know will be basically the same as Ford's future replacement for the Fusion in the States. If this drawing proves accurate, it looks like the new midsize models will combine a lot of what we see in the 2012 Focus at the front end with a greenhouse and rear stance that actually looks more like the current Taurus.
2012 Ford Focus – Click above for high-res image gallery
2011 Ford Mondeo – Click above for high-res image gallery