The Critique: The problem with Ford’s new VW-based electric Explorer

The Critique: The problem with Ford’s new VW-based electric Explorer

New Explorer spells a new, less unique future for the Blue Oval


FORD’S PARTS BIN EV

There’s no crime in platform sharing, otherwise all car company CEOs would be behind bars. But the car world feels a poorer place when Ford, which has engineered Europe’s dynamic benchmarks with the Fiesta and Focus hatches, is buying in VW’s MEB electric architecture to underpin EVs like the new Explorer.


Ford’s new VW-based electric Explore

‘The Fiesta and Focus are making way for a new Ford strategy in Europe,’ protests a Ford spokesman. ‘We’re not going to be the same company that people grew up with, going after volume and playing in every single segment. We’re going to double down on differentiated vehicles that get your pulse racing more.’ Differentiated is a loaded word when the wheelbase is the same as the ID. 4’s to house identical batteries, with either 55 or 82kWh capacity. And the small-battery Explorer has a 125kW (168bhp) motor driving the rears, like the base ID. 4.

‘Judge for yourself, but we don’t see any trace [of ID. 4],’ says Murat Güler, passenger car design chief. Interior quality and aesthetics take a massive step forward compared with recent Ford’s bleak and cheap cabins. There’s some ingenious stowage, with the Mach-E-inspired 15-inch vertical touchscreen swinging through 30˚to reveal a hidden cubby behind, and a modular centre console that can stow three big bottles. But the pulse hardly races when stowage is a car’s biggest USP. Can it still drive like a Ford? ‘The springs, dampers and anti-roll bar are all tuned to the Ford philosophy,’ says engineering manager Thomas Riehm. ‘There’s been a lot of adaptation: the steering and brakes are tailored to the Fordness people are used to.’ The car also gets bespoke Continental tyres. Time will tell if Ford can soup up MEB’s solid but hardly enthralling dynamics.

The situation that created the Explorer is understandable. But to this Essex boy and Ford fan, that doesn’t make it any less regrettable.


Ford’s new VW-based electric Explore

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