2006 Paris Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/25/2006)
The latest Mondeo lineup of mid-size vehicles emerged at the 2006 Paris auto show, in the guise of a new wagon that Ford execs says stakes out new styling ground. The shape owes its inspiration to the Iosis concept shown last year at the Frankfurt motor show. Toned down somewhat, the theme is still expressive on the Mondeo’s long, low sideview, and the wedgy new nose is a particularly welcome step forward from Ford’s design department. The new Mondeo shares some of its underpinnings with the new European family vehicles, the S-Max mid-size MPV, and the full-size Galaxy minivan. More body styles are coming, including a four-door sedan and a crossover vehicle (see below). Powertrains will range from a 2.0-liter turbodiesel to a 2.5-liter turbocharged gas engine. The Mondeo goes into production in the second quarter of 2007 in the same plant in Genk, Belgium, that builds the S-Max and Galaxy.
Ford Iosis X Concept
The Mondeo’s “kinetic design” theme gets taken to an active-lifestyle extreme in the iosis X concept shown alongside the new mid-sizer on the show floor at Paris
. The five-door wagon is an extension of the Iosis concept and, as Ford’s European design chief Martin Smith admitted, the X concept is to a future crossover vehicle what the Iosis was to the new Mondeo — a direct inspiration. The X concept is designed with Europe
’s new pedestrian safety regulations in mind, particularly its taller front end and longer overhangs. The concept’s rear doors are hinged at the rear for easy access and there is no B-pillar in the styling exercise. Ford says the central console is a “bridge” design drawn from helicopter cockpits; its controls are in part actuated on soft-touch screens.
With everyone designing vehicles for “families,” it’s great to see Volvo aiming the new C30 hatchback at single folks — along with childless couples and other modern-day American heretics. The C30’s two-door shape rests atop the same fundamentals as the S40 sedan and V50 wagon (not to mention the Mazda3 and European Ford Focus). Thus, in addition to room for four adults, the C30 gets a wide range of powerplants, ten variants in all, including a 220-hp turbo in-line five and a 1.4-liter diesel. Five-cylinder engines get five-speed automatics while the turbo five gets a six-speed manual gearbox.
Inside the cabin wears the same slim center console treatment as the S40 and new S80, but special trims can be applied to the audiophile-looking panel, including a screened print inspired by surfing. Six airbags are standard, as is stability control on most models (likely all C30s headed to the U.S.).
And outside a wide range of trims and wheels allow a degree of customization on the new hatchback. A body kit can be ordered in contrasting colors; 18-inch wheels are an option and special aluminum trim pieces are in stock for the C30’s cabin. As in the S40 and C70, a Dynaudio sound system is an ultimate audio option, and iPods can be plugged into it.