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Ford Capri revival to be Explorer coupe-SUV

Capri tipped to make a return as Ford Explorer coupe-SUV, reveal expected next month

10 Jun 2024

IT HAS been a coupe and a convertible. Now, the venerable Capri nameplate looks set to be worn by an electric SUV – or at least a coupe-SUV.


According to sources, Ford will unveil the second fully electric model to be built at its Cologne plant next month, following the recently launched Explorer compact SUV. That model – and the forthcoming ‘Capri’ – share Volkswagen Group MEB architecture.


Coupe-SUV bodies were spotted at the Cologne plant recently, leading to speculation that the “more coupe-like” model will bear the Capri nameplate.


Ford has not confirmed the Capri name but has teased the existence of a second model to come from the Cologne plant, describing the mystery vehicle simply as an electric sports crossover.


It is expected that the Capri’s relationship to the Explorer will be like that of the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and ID.5 coupe-SUV duo.


The famed badge dates to the Capri fastback sold between 1968 and 1986, and the Australian-made MX-5 rival produced between 1989 and 1994.


Capri is one of several Ford nameplates repurposed (or reinvented) for the SUV age, including the Mustang (Mach-E), Kuga (Cougar), and Puma – now the brand’s best-selling vehicle in Europe.


Ford began production of the all-electric Explorer at its former Fiesta facility in Cologne last month.


“To see the Cologne factory founded by Ford in 1930 being transformed into a state-of-the-art electric vehicle production facility is nothing short of amazing,” said Ford in Europe and International Markets Group vice president of manufacturing Kieran Cahill.


“The start of mass production of electric vehicles, with the new all-electric Explorer, marks the beginning of a new era for Ford in Europe.”


The Explorer is the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) to roll of the production line at the Ford Cologne Electric Vehicle Centre, and one Ford says marks a significant step on the road to producing a new generation of high-quality electric passenger vehicles for the region.


“A second EV, a new sports crossover, will be revealed shortly with production in Cologne starting this year,” Ford teased.


The five-seat Explorer BEV is available in three grades: an entry-spec rear-wheel drive with a 52kWh battery (350km range) and 125kW output; a mid-tier grade with rear-wheel drive, larger 77kWh battery (540km range) and 210kW output; and a range-topping all-wheel drive dual-motor variant with the same 77kWh battery (490km range) and 250kW output.


DC fast charging can replenish the smaller battery pack at a capacity of up to 130kW, while the larger battery pack supports a charging capacity of up to 170kW. A 10 to 80 per cent charge is said to take just 25 minutes.


Ford says the Explorer BEV receives its own suspension tune with a familiar MacPherson strut front and multilink rear arrangement providing a “different driving experience” to the Volkswagen derivative.


The 2024 Ford Explorer BEV measures 4450mm in length, giving it a similar stature to the Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai or Toyota Corolla Cross. It will be offered in two model grades in Europe: Explorer and Explorer Premium, each with a generous list of standard equipment.


Ford’s 15.0-inch SYNC Move central infotainment array offers a moveable, portrait-oriented display that combines wireless app integration with a tailored audio package and advanced driver assistance technology. The screen conceals a storage cubby ahead of the centre console, which itself offers a separate compartment of 17 litres.


The “ultra-modern” interior combines premium materials and sculpted sports seats across two rows. Like many EVs, pre-conditioning of the cabin’s climate is possible, the space also boasting heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, a massaging driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, as well as keyless entry and start.


Further back, and with access via an optional handsfree electric tailgate, the Explorer EV provides “about 470 litres” of cargo space in five-seat mode.


Advanced driver assistance systems include assisted lane change and clear exit assist among a raft of active and passive safety systems.


Speaking to GoAuto about the possibility of an Explorer EV for Australia last year, a local spokesperson said simply, “while we have no plans to introduce the all-electric Explorer in Australia, we’re looking forward to sharing the next phase of our EV journey very soon”.

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