Fine car though the outgoing Ford Mondeo was, the four-door sedan never really got UK customers very excited. Same engines and impressive drive, just the wrong body style.

The saloon - as we usually call a sedan here in Britain - last year made up only 2.2% of UK sales, with the rest split between the five-door hatchback (most popular) and the wagon (estate).

But with the first three months' supply for the fully redesigned Mondeo already sold out, Ford UK chiefs have noticed a shift in customer demand. More people are ordering the saloon, despite the fact that the boot opening is significantly smaller - and therefore less practical - than on the hatch.

With orders standing at 5% of the mix, it's still not going to be the big-seller, but demand has effectively more than doubled.

Ford's large car product manager Jon Gunn-Smith said there were several reasons for the move, which he expects to continue.

"New Mondeo has three very distinctive body styles and the four door is very elegant compared to the sportier five door. On the previous car it was very difficult to tell the two apart, but we've tried to maximise the choice for the customer without compromising on style."

Despite the smaller boot opening, Gunn-Smith said the saloon actually has the larger boot - 550 litres versus 535.

"It was clear buyers were impressed enough with what they were seeing of the four-door model to order one," he said.

"We also believe the saloon will appeal to the executive or the customer who wants to be seen to be a little different," added Gunn-Smith. "It's a car that perhaps says to their friends it's for carrying golf clubs or lots of Louis Vuitton luggage to the airport, rather than stuff home from the DIY store."