Ford debuted a new concept in Shanghai today, one that might hint at the vehicle that will be filling in for the Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) as the automaker continues removing all traces of the sedan from its lineup. While the Evos is intended to become the manufacturer’s default midsize for the Chinese market, it seems to possess many of the aspects promised on the long-awaited Fusion Active — the presumed successor of the venerable Fusion sedan.
Though the car itself resembles something closer to the Mach-E or perhaps a lowered version of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Evos’ general shape exists somewhere between a crossover and a traditional passenger car, much like the Subaru Outback the Fusion Active has been assumed to be targeting. But it’s not a perfect fit and Ford is keeping many of the details to itself, making it very clear that the concept will be the blueprint for future models and not necessarily a snapshot of something that’s production-ready.
It’s also less wagon-like than we would have expected. We had been operating under the impression that the Fusion Active would be akin to the Focus Active, which designers repeatedly showed as a lifted version of the standard five-door. But the Evos’ silhouette being more sedan than wagon doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be functionally different or a poor rival for something like the Outback. Customers have been happily sacrificing rear headspace for style for years — take every single even-numbered model from the BMW X Series, for example.
But Ford isn’t willing to commit to much with just the concept on display. The manufacturer has said it has nothing to share in terms of which powertrains any Evos offspring might enjoy and couldn’t commit to any markets other than China, adding that it was specifically designed with that market in mind.
That means it will be heavy on the touch screens and connectivity.
But we’ve been able to glean from the interior images that it’s likely not a battery-electric vehicle, as they don’t typically have much use for things like tachometers. The rest of the interior seems to be embracing every modern trend imaginable, with the dashboard almost entirely taken up by touch screens (43 inches worth using Ford Sync 2.0). Physical buttons appear to be in short supply and there’s brightly colored accenting just about everywhere Ford couldn’t apply more ambient lighting.
The model itself is supposed to receive the automaker’s BlueCruise advanced driving suite, however, it’s currently limited to pre-approved sections of roadway in the United States and Canada. We’ve not heard anything about Ford having done the necessary mapping for China. But the Ford Virtual Personal Assistant should work regardless of the locale to help customers interface with the vehicle’s infotainment system and allow drivers to further customize the vehicle to their own personal taste. In fact, it has multiple driving modes that include the VPA making seat adjustments and tweaking interior lighting to suit the driver’s mood.
With the pandemic delaying all sorts of projects, it could be a while before we see the Evos transmogrified into a production vehicle. But we (and just about everyone else) still think it’s a vehicle to watch since it already looks like something Ford could easily slot into its existing lineup in several markets. Changan Ford estimates production could begin before the end of 2021, with the global office saying this is just the beginning.
“At Ford, our purpose is to help build a better world where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. That’s as true today as it was when the company was founded nearly 118 years ago,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company. “We are working together with our partners to deliver a superior and distinctive branded experience for our customers in China and around the world, and continue delivering on the ‘Best of Ford, Best of China’ commitment. Moving forward, we will still deliver great new products globally plus develop valuable, always-on relationships that grow and evolve over time.”
[Images: Ford Motor Co.]