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Ford is preparing the all-important Mondeo replacement, as it morphs into a high-riding medium-sized crossover charged with catapulting the Blue Oval brand back into family-car consideration across the world.
This is according to reports citing 2019 global patent applications for the name that – yep – extend to Australia and New Zealand, raising the possibility that Ford Australia is in line to receive the striking SUV-esque crossover, though there has been no confirmation of the vehicle’s existence – let alone ETA – at this stage.
If Evos sounds familiar, it adorned the rear of a 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show concept that previewed the imminent Fusion/Mondeo duo. This time around, the Evos you’ll likely be able to buy will be their replacement, and is slated to be built in North America (possibly Mexico) and China.
Near-production Evos prototypes point to a tall five-door fastback with a coupe-like silhouette, suggesting that it might also usurp the Edge large-ish SUV – which sold (poorly) in Australia as the now-axed Endura.
Why such a radical design and packaging move? SUV sales are bounding along while sedan and wagon demand continues to dwindle around the world – though many markets are still partial to an ‘estate’, prompting Ford to tap into that market.
On the engine front, it is speculated that a variation of the 183kW/387Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine found in the latest Escape medium SUV will be the mainstay powertrain, along with a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Front- and all-wheel-drive configurations are also anticipated.
What underpins the Evos is still unknown, and the information doing the rounds is conflicting.
Over the past two years, most speculation centred on it utilising a development of the C2 architecture that underpins a host of recently-released Fords, from the Focus and Escape to the Bronco Sport and Mustang Mach-E EV – though the latter’s is an evolution known as the GE2 Global Electrified platform. Given that all their engines mirror the ones set for the Evos, this remains the bookies’ favourite.
However, more recent information has surfaced saying that the Evos will leverage a development of the older CD4 as used in the Fusion/Mondeo, Edge/Endura, Europe’s S-Max/Galaxy MPVs and a host of North American Lincoln luxury models. The clue is in the CD542 codename, with 'D' denoting a larger architecture.
There’s even been confusion over the name. Until recently, it was thought to be called the Mondeo/Fusion Active, then Mondeo/Fusion Evos, to keep the long-serving passenger-car connection alive. But lately, with Fusion production in Mexico for the North American market ending last July and Mondeo manufacturing ceasing in Spain from March 2022, bets are on that the old badges will be retired to draw a line in the sand for the all-new Evos.
Either way, sitting above the latest Escape/Kuga in size and positioning, it’s long been mentioned that the Evos may adopt a leaf-spring arrangement as part of its rear suspension system, Volvo XC90-style, though that hasn’t been confirmed. It is believed that in time, adaptive dampers or air suspension may be fitted on upper-spec models to provide a premium-feeling ride.
To that end, the Evos is also likely to adopt a very Mercedes-Benz MBUX full-length display all-in-one touchscreen, giving the Ford’s interior a much-needed technological and design boost, and addressing one of the biggest complaints about the current range of Blue Oval cabins. Among the innovations will be the next-generation SYNC 4 multimedia system with leading virtual-assistant interface.
It is understood that there has also been a concerted effort to improve the quality of materials and construction.
If the notion of the Evos as a spiritual successor for the Falcon seems far-fetched, keep in mind that the two share a similar do-or-die brief even if they’re separated by 60 years.
The 1960 XK Falcon original was breakaway from the ever-growing full-sized American behemoths, with comparatively compact dimensions and low-slung styling designed to tap into changing consumer tastes. Not only did it save Ford but was later the basis of the Mustang.
Falcon’s US success prompted Ford to replicate the formula but to the smaller European aesthetic. The result was it singlehandedly popularised the affordable medium-sized sedan segment back with the 1962 Cortina, then evolving it with the bold 1982 Sierra, before setting a high dynamic benchmark over four iterations of Mondeo from 1993 until its March 2022 demise.
Thus, the Evos has both a legacy and a heritage to draw upon for the next generation of mainstream family car, and its importance as The Next Big Thing cannot be understated, as Ford fights for relevancy against high-flying favourites like Toyota.
Is the Evos the right sort of post-SUV high-riding crossover family car for Australia?