Underneath this thin disguise is one of the most eagerly awaited cars for years - Ford's all-new Mondeo - and for the first time ever we caught not only the fastback and the estate but the sedan, too.

Despite rumors: booted Mondeo will make it

Underneath this thin disguise is one of the most eagerly awaited cars for years – Ford's all-new Mondeo – and for the first time ever we caught not only the fastback and the estate but the sedan, too. The blue oval has again come out into the open and finally even “allowed” us some snapshots of the three-box Mondeo, so far hidden away from public roads. There have been rumors that the saloon version would probably be dropped in favor of a pure hatchback and estate line-up. But these pictures prove the rumors wrong.

Our pictures clearly show that on-road development of the next-generation car is well underway. Set to go on sale next year, the newcomer has much responsibility resting on its shoulders. Family car sales are falling as more and more crossover MPVs are launched - including Ford's own S-MAX - so the Mondeo needs to offer something fresh.

And although the cars here are still heavily disguised, they showcase some of the most dramatic styling yet seen on production Fords. Following the recent losis concept-car, the new Mondeo is set to continue the firm's exciting design theme, with bold upper and lower grilles, rakish headlights and a sporty profile.

Take one look at the models pictured and you can see the beginnings of those details – particularly the large headlights, which spread out almost to the edges of the front wheel arches. Our pictures also give a good impression of the new Mondeo's size and one thing is immediately clear – it has grown significantly, especially the estate. With extra length added to the wheelbase, it should have more passenger space as well as improved crash protection.

Based on a chassis derived from the S-MAX, the car will keep its front-wheel-drive layout, with engines including uprated versions of existing 1.8-litre and 2.0 petrols, plus 2.0 and 2.2 turbo diesels. Range-toppers are expected to use the Focus ST's 2.5-litre 225-bhp five-cylinder petrol engine, as well as the Ford/PSA 2.7-litre twin-turbo diesel.

Sharp responses will be assured thanks to a new electro-hydraulic steering system – first seen on the C-MAX – which also helps to save fuel. Set to debut in production trim at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007, the new Mondeo is likely to cost more than the car it replaces.

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