Ford unveiled its new 2013 Mondeo at the Detroit auto show - the new Mondeo is in fact now a Fusion in Euro drag.
Under the One Ford rules, most major car projects are in fact global affairs, so the Mondeo follows in the footsteps of the Focus, also unveiled in Detroit two years ago and brought to Europe a year later. We'll have a similarly long wait for the Ford Fusion to make the leap to the European Mondeo, with a launch slated for spring 2013.
The white car here is a rendering of the Ford Mondeo in UK spec, while the red car is in fact the Ford Fusion. Don't be confused with the purple-rinse Fusion recently departed from UK shores - the US Fusion is a family vehicle akin to the Mondeo.
So what's new on the 2013 Ford Mondeo?
The Mondeo has basically been brought bang up to date with all those Ford technologies we've seen percolate down through the Fiesta and Focus classes but which have so far eluded the Mondeo. The Blue Oval aims to retain the class-leading dynamic prowess of the old Mondeo but dial in some of the tech and gizmos which have seen rivals overtake Ford in recent years.
So there are downsized, tech-heavy Ecoboost engines in 1.6- and 2.0-litre configurations if petrol's your thing and - more likely in Europe - a choice of turbodiesels in the same size.
Ford unveiled a Fusion Hybrid at the NAIAS show today and this model hasn't yet been confirmed for Europe, but we'd expect it to filter through eventually. It swaps its predecessors nickel metal hydride batteries for the latest lithium ion cells, enabling it to now top an impressive 62mph on EV mode. It's claimed to be more fuel efficient than rivals such as the Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata hybrids.
Tech on the new Ford Mondeo/Fusion
The new Mondeo uses a new iteration of Ford's C/D platform - the same box of bits which underpins the Galaxy and S-Max. The front suspension uses new MacPherson struts while the new multi-link rear is new too; combined with new electric power steering, Ford types confidently call it a new architecture.
As with Focus, a slew of high-tech gizmos are available on the new Ford Mondeo. Lane-keep assist, active parking, radar cruise control and blindspot monitors all feature for the first time on Ford's family car.
There's voice activation for many secondary controls and a touchscreen should your accent be too confusing to be understood, active noise control on the hybrid is designed to squash road noise to highlight the quiet e-running mode. It uses sensors and speakers to broadcast anti-noise to suppress unwanted road noise and it can be fitted to any Mondeo, depending on market choice and spec level.
The Sync multimedia console is offered, and will come to Europe this time; it'll first be added to the Focus around December 2012.
Yes, yes - but will the new Mondeo still be great to drive?
We won't know that until we drive it later in 2012. The front suspension is by MacPherson struts while the rear gets a new multi-link axle - it's not a carryover from the existing Mondeo. As is the class norm, power steering is now by more efficient electric actuators, not fuel-supping hydraulics. It'll be interesting to see if they can retain the steering feel that we've loved on previous iterations of Mondeo.
Ford engineers say the ride quality is much 'plusher', aka more comfortable. How rarely do we hear that? Sounds like the new Mondeo is comfy yet that new suspension contains roll more effectively too.
And what of the style? Well from these first official photos, it seems caution is the name of the game for the new Mondeo. Bar some sharper light and grille graphics front and back, it could almost pass for the outgoing model from some angles.
But see it in the metal, and the newcomer is in fact a slick affair. Note also how the Ford oval is set into the bonnet with an inlaid panel. Very smart. And the interior is a move upmarket, with totally flat stereo controls from Sony.
Expect to see the new Ford Mondeo on sale in Britain in the first quarter of 2013. Forget the four-door notchback bodystyle - we'll only get the five-door hatchback and estate Mondeos.