Neither car lacks in safety features, both scoring five-star ANCAP safety ratings. Both are fitted with some of the latest safety and driver-assistance features, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist. Mondeo also has adaptive cruise control, a driver knee airbag, and airbags in the outer seatbelts for rear-seat occupants, which inflate across the chest on impact. Both models have blind-spot monitoring in the higher spec levels, with the Commodore also receiving rear cross-traffic alert.
Each car has taken similar approaches to interior layout, with buttons to control media and dual-zone climate control systems directly below the infotainment screen. Both are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however Commodore’s seven-inch touchscreen in the LT relies on smartphones for maps and navigation.
The Mondeo has an eight-inch touchscreen incorporating the latest SYNC 3 technologies, but we felt the screen would be easier to use if it were angled slightly towards the driver. Both driver and front passenger get eight-way power-adjusted seats in the Mondeo, but the passenger misses out in the Commodore. Partial leather sports seats fitted to the Mondeo offer slightly more side bolstering than the Commodore’s standard cloth seats, but once you’ve settled in, both are very comfortable for a long drive.
There are many more features loaded into the Mondeo Trend wagon, such as digital radio, light-sensitive mirror, automatic high-beam assistance and privacy glass for the rear and back windows. The interior of the Mondeo also has a slightly nicer feel. But the list price of this mid-spec Mondeo Trend is almost $4000 more than the base model with high-beam assistance and privacy glass for the rear and back windows. Holden closes this gap somewhat when stepping up to the petrol-powered Commodore RS.
For the most part, accommodation in the rear is similar. The biggest difference is that Commodore has two USB points whereas Mondeo has a 12-volt power source and seatback pockets. Realistically you wouldn’t want three adults in the back seat of either. The Mondeo’s second row is a little wider, but taller people will have a bit more clearance in the Commodore with a bit more leg, head and knee space.
Reflective of their European origins, the exterior styling of both vehicles share fundamental design aspects. Physical dimensions are essentially the same. From mirror to mirror, Mondeo is about a finger width wider than the Commodore because of slightly bigger mirrors, but Commodore is a touch longer. They are both quite long vehicles. In line with trim levels, Mondeo Trend has 18-inch alloy wheels compared with the 17-inch alloys on the Commodore LT.
Both Ford and Holden have recently extended the three-year warranties of Mondeo and Commodore to five years/unlimited kilometres.
For those not interested in the bulk of a high-riding SUV, Ford Mondeo Wagon and Holden Commodore Sportwagon are excellent family cars with good on-road manners and a carrying capacity that rivals some of the bigger SUVs. In performance, presentation and equipment, Mondeo justifies its higher price. These comments are from RACV’s experienced team of vehicle testers.