The 2022 Ford Mondeo has been spied testing in the US, confirming rumours the long-running nameplate will adopt an all-new, SUV-inspired look for its next iteration.
Expected to wear the Active moniker, the new Mondeo is set to morph into a high-riding, SUV-look wagon for its fifth generation, largely thanks to declining sales of traditional mid-size sedan and wagons such as the outgoing Mondeo, in favour of SUVs the likes of Ford's own Escape and Everest.
The prototype captured by our spy photography partners affirms the off-road-inspired wagon speculation, revealing a long, sloping roofline and a rising beltline, matched with a raised ride height and a rugged-look wheel-arch cladding.
Peeking through the camouflage up front is a large, octagonal interpretation of Ford's corporate grille, flanked by slim LED headlights – a close match for leaked images of a lightly-camouflaged prototype published in China in late December 2020 (gallery image 11).
Follow the sloping roofline to the Mondeo Active's rear end and you'll find an upright lower tailgate with high-set tail-lights.
The 20-inch wheels and 255/45 profile Continental tyres worn by the prototype are more akin to those fitted to large SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe as opposed to the Mondeo's crossover wagon rivals, pointing to exterior dimensions for the new model notably larger than those of its low-riding predecessor.
Hidden, pop-out door handles reminiscent of the Tesla Model S also feature.
While no images of the Mondeo Active's interior were snapped by our photographers, the aforementioned leaked images showcased a futuristic tablet-style touchscreen unit spanning the entire width of the dashboard, sitting above a strip of blue suede trim across the dash and a minimalist centre console with a rotary automatic gear selector borrowed from Ford's latest models.
It's expected the next-generation high-riding wagon will ride on Ford's front- and all-wheel-drive C2 platform, shared with the Focus small car and Escape mid-size SUV.
As a result, expect a range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to be offered, with hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains likely on the cards to help meet stringent European emissions regulations.
A listing in an official parts catalogue discovered in January 2020 suggested the new Mondeo could use space-saving rear leaf springs, likely to accomodate a larger lithium-ion battery for future electrified variants.
The 2022 Ford Mondeo Active – or whatever name it carries to production, with the Mondeo Evos moniker also rumoured – is expected to make its full debut in the coming months, ahead of the start of series production in the third quarter.