This is the all-new Ford Mondeo undergoing towing and cooling tests in the Alps.

The European version of the new Ford Fusion — codenamed CD391 — won’t go on sale in the UK until September 2013, although it will make its public debut at the Paris motor show this September.

This test car is a saloon — the only body style that will be offered in North America — but European Mondeos will be available as either a five-door hatchback or an as yet unseen estate.

Today’s familiar 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engines will be offered on the new model, and are expected to develop similar power to today’s 158bhp and 200bhp units. The current 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engines will also be fitted to the Mk4 Mondeo, while benefiting from improvements to refinement and driveability. 

Ford sources say no decision has been made on whether European buyers will be offered the all-wheel-drive system that is an option in the US. However, a European version of the Fusion hybrid, which is powered by a 2.0-litre Duratec engine coupled to an electric motor and CVT transmission, seems likely.

The new Mondeo will also introduce a safety first to Europe with the option of airbag seatbelts for rear passengers. In the event of a collision, the airbag stored inside the belt deploys in 40 milliseconds and spreads the impact loads across an area five times larger than with a normal belt. 

These belts also offer “extra support to the head and neck in an accident, which is especially important for the young and elderly”, according to Ford.

The new Mondeo is based on Ford’s new global CD platform and will be built at Genk in Belgium alongside the next-generation Galaxy and S-Max.

According to Ford, some one million vehicles per year will be built on the CD platform across 10 model lines by 2015.