The new gearbox introduced by Ford for its large cars is a big deal. Called the Durashift 6-tronic, it features a sport and a manual mode for drivers who enjoy changing gear themselves now and then.
The six-speed gearbox has been designed and built by Aisin AW. Ford developed the software for the electronic brain of the gearbox, the transmission control module which talks to Ford’s engine control module.
The result is an automatic transmission perfomance that Ford has reason to be proud of.
In drive mode the gearbox will allow the car to move off in third gear when appropriate torque is needed to overcome slippery surfaces.
Second gear is also used for launching and stopping to cut the number of changes.
So important is the new gearbox, Ford has built a new engine to complement it.
The 2.3-litre Duratec HE is a 161bhp petrol engine that features intake valve timing and a swirl valve to improve fuel combustion.
A pair of balancer shafts have been mounted in a housing below the crankshaft to eliminate secondary vibration.
The engine and gearbox combination is available for the Mondeo saloon, hatchback and estate, as well as its close relatives – the S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs.
Behind the wheel
As well as a new engine and gearbox, the Mondeo I tested was fitted with Ford’s new Interactive Vehicle Dynamic Control system.
Essentially, it is an active suspension device that allows ride quality to be adjusted three ways – sport, comfort and normal.
Along twisting mountain roads, the difference between normal and sport is obvious.
On smooth Tarmac the car feels firm and nicely-balanced. The new engine thrusts the car up the short straights between hairpins with consummate ease.
Choose sport and it holds on to ratios longer, allowing the engine to rev freely.
For the autostrada, the gearbox goes into drive, and a hush falls over the Titanium-spec cabin.
The Mondeo estate is a huge car with good handling.
What it needed next, Ford believed, was an exciting new gearbox and a more powerful engine to suit.
So that’s what it’s got and on the test route the combination gels perfectly.
Max power (bhp/rpm): 161/5,800
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 153/4200
Max speed (mph): 126
0-62mph (secs): 10.8
Fuel consumption (mpg): 30.4
CO2 emissions (g/km) 223
Prices (OTR): £18,945-£23,195
On sale: Now