Together with standard front-wheel drive, it will also be offered with four-wheel drive – a rare treat in a class of front-drivers such as the Vectra, 407, Laguna and Passat.
Known internally as C1-plus, the versatile underpinnings use McPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension. Two different versions, one with conventional seating and the other with a raised seating arrangement similar to the Focus C-Max’s, are underway. Models using the latter will share a common inner body structure ahead of the B-pillar to further reduce costs. With three years to go until the Mondeo is due to reach showrooms, many details are still undecided – including the styling, which is set to progress from today’s conservative shape towards a more contemporary appearance, according to internal sources at the company’s Cologne-based styling studio.
The CD345 Mondeo marks a move away from Ford’s ‘New Edge’ styling theme, started with the Ka, but a final shape hasn’t yet emerged. ‘The hardpoints will be locked in at the end of May, along with the proportions. However, the design freeze isn’t due to be made until next June,’ said our mole.
The new car, depicted here in our artist’s impression, isn’t expected to differ much in size from the 4730mm length, 1810mm width and 1460mm height of today’s car. Although the C-Max boasts a wheelbase 110mm shorter than the current Mondeo’s, modifications should bring it close to 2800mm. Power comes from a range of new and improved engines – all developed to meet 100,000-mile warranty and 18,500-mile service interval targets recently introduced as part of Ford’s new-car development process in Europe. Petrol units include base 115bhp 1.6 Ti-VCT multi-point injection, along with 130bhp1.8-litre and 145bhp 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder units.
Ford is also planning to equip the new Mondeo with updated versions of Volvo’s turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine in 180bhp, 210bhp and 240bhp guises – the latter earmarked for a successor to the ST220. This range-topping ST240 should be powerful enough to ensure 0-60mph acceleration in less than 6.0sec and a limited 155mph top speed.
Given its strong fleet-market potential, Ford is looking to provide the new Mondeo with a wide range of torque-laden common-rail turbodiesels. Among them is a base 115bhp 1.8-litre, mid-range 136bhp 2.0-litre and performance-orientated 175bhp 2.2-litre unit – the latter a further developed version of the 150bhp 2.2-litre unit that’s set to appear in a sporty ST TDCi variant of the current Mondeo later this year.
Also under consideration, though not officially part of the CD345 program at this early stage of development is Ford’s so-called ‘premium architecture’ oil-burner, the new 206bhp 2.7-litre V6 diesel used by Jaguar in the S-type.
After receiving criticism about the current Mondeo’s bland interior, Ford is going all out to make the new one more attractive. Along with higher quality materials, the 2007 model will receive a raft of luxury features, including dual-zone air-con, a further development of Ford’s ICE communication system with Bluetooth compatibility and active voice control, a cooled glovebox and heated rear seats. Ford is also working to improve the Mondeo’s safety credentials with items such as automatic wipers, bi-xenon headlamps and an electronic parking brake earmarked as standard equipment. Other features under investigation are a so-called Driver Assistance package with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and a ‘collision mitigation’ system with automatic braking. Appearing before the new Mondeo, and sharing its platform, is the second-generation Ford Galaxy, also revealed today in our artist’s impression (right). Codenamed CD340 but also described within Ford’s documentation as LMV (Luxury Multipurpose Vehicle), the new one-box offering is being developed wholly in-house, unlike today’s nine-year-old model, which was created alongside the Volkswagen Sharan. Due to go on sale in the UK around eight months before the Mondeo, the new Galaxy will offer seating for up to seven as well as optional features including a glass panorama roof, heated rear seats and a DVD-based entertainment system.
Both models will be built at Ford’s Genk factory in Belgium, with the first pilot production Mondeos due to head down the line in January ’07, five months before it is set to land in UK showrooms. Preceding it will be the new Galaxy, which will be built from February 2006.