Our Fleet Test Drive: Ford Mondeo estate - 4th Report
23 April 2008
Author: Tristan Young
Cruise control is one of my favourite extras in a car.
Because I spend so much time on the motorway, mainly commuting between home and office, it keeps me the right side of the law and means I concentrate more on what's going on around the car than having to keep checking the speedo to maintain a constant speed.
Our long-term Mondeo however, is fitted with clever cruise control. It is cruise that uses a radar in the grille (to the side of the badge) to 'see' what's ahead - if there's slower traffic it will slow the car; when the traffic clears the car accelerates back to the chosen cruise speed.
Sounds great. Unfortunately, the Mondeo's system (as one team member put it) feels like it's still in the development stages compared with similar, fantastic systems on high-end Mercs and Jaguars.
Ford's system seems a touch schizophrenic. Sometimes it's fine and does exactly what it should, while at other times - mainly on shallow bends when there are lorries on inner lanes - it has a tendency to dive for the brakes in a most uncomfortable way.
The dashboard display also needs to be refined as it only shows if there's a car ahead, and does not show if the Mondeo is slowing. The result is that it makes it difficult to judge overtaking moves.
What we can't understand is why Ford didn't use the excellent Jaguar system - which has none of these flaws - given that at the time the Ford system was developed Jaguar was a sister company.