Autocar understands that such a set-up would help save space for packaging a battery pack, likely for a conventional or plug-in hybrid powertrain. The current Mondeo Hybrid loses much of its luggage space due to the battery pack being mounted under the boot floor.
One likely candidate is the set-up used by the new Kuga PHEV SUV, which combines a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a 10.3kWh battery pack and an electric motor to deliver 222bhp and a 34-mile electric-only range.
As first scooped by Autocar last summer, the new Mondeo is expected to adopt crossover styling cues, although it now looks less likely to be classified as an SUV. Sources close to Ford suggest that it will continue with hatchback and estate bodystyles, despite the ontrend design influence. Recent spy shots of a development mule, based on a Ford Focus Active Estate with an extended wheelbase, fit this notion.
The test mule features a number of obvious characteristics that point to a radical repositioning for the Mondeo. The suspension, for example, has been raised considerably for a more SUV-like stance, while the protruding wheels hint at a widened track for enhanced interior space. We can also see that the donor car has been extended behind the B-pillar to fit the new model's platform.
Although the Fusion name has been dropped for the US market, the next Mondeo is intended to be launched in North America and beyond, unlike Ford’s bespoke European models. In the US, the model is being compared by insiders to the Subaru Outback, a very popular high-riding estate car. It is believed the intention is to also use it as an indirect replacement for the S-Max and Galaxy, but it's unclear if Ford can package seven-seats into such a car.
By the time the new model is launched, Ford will have discontinued four MPV model lines. The MPV market has been hit hard in recent years, and as a result Ford recently ended production of the B-Max, C-Max and Grand C-Max. The Galaxy and S-Max will likely follow next year.