For Sale By:Dealer
Exterior Color: Other Color
Number of Doors: 2 Doors
Interior Color: Other Color
Shoals, Indiana, United States
When Ford announced that its 2015 Mustang would arrive with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, three letters came to mind: SVO. While Ford hasn't said a word regarding the rebirth of a Mustang SVO model, this latest set of spy shots shows us something very, very interesting. Allow us to explain.
The Mustang prototype in these photos looks very similar to the GT500 test cars we've spotted before - same bulging hood, aggressive front fascia and air vents aft of the front wheels. What's different, however, is around back. Have a look at the exhaust, and note that instead of the GT500's usual quad pipes, two of the exhaust outlets have been capped off.
Our spies point out that these exhaust outlets could be closed for some sort of emissions testing or another engineering reason, but it's also important to note that the engine and exhaust notes of this car sound completely different from earlier GT500 prototypes. We've got a video below that compares the two.
Forgive us for having the distinct feeling of déjà vu, but it certainly feels like we've been here before. By that we are referring Car and Driver and the announcement of its annual 10Best vehicles for 2013. To be sure, it's an impressive selection of cars that combine heart-pounding performance and frugal sensibilities, but it also represents something of a broken record on the part of C/D. We're not so sure that's a flaw, though, as the resulting list is tough to argue with.
Vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Porsche Boxster, and BMW 3 Series have maintained their high-horsepower spots on this list for several years now. Even on the more practical and nimble end, the Honda Accord, Honda Fit and Mazda Miata have not budged. These continued spots are even in light of redesigns for some vehicles such as the Accord, Boxster and 3 Series.
In fact, the only newcomer to the 10Best list this year are the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins, which knocked out the Cadillac CTS-V. We think it would have been a huge misstep to have excluded the FR-S/BRZ, even in light of the supercharged Caddy's lamentable departure from 10Best.
Here's the thing about China: The folks buying cars there have a very different set of standards than shoppers in many other markets around the globe. While we all drool over hot metal with bold designs, and while we appreciate automakers going an extra step to inject even their cheapest offerings with aggressive and interesting cues, that sort of sheetmetal sex appeal doesn't always sell in the People's Republic. Case in point is Jaguar, which may be designing a more traditional-looking version of its XJ for the Chinese market, or more to the point of this story, Ford currently sells the less-exciting, last-generation Focus compact in China right alongside the new one.
So consider this new Shanghai-bound C-segment concept a preview of what's to come for that more traditional, budget-minded, less-sexy market. More proof of this pudding: Ford's even calling this concept the Escort - a nod to the Blue Oval's compact car days of yore, and a name that stirs up thoughts of basic, affordable transportation rather than great driving dynamics or bold design. "Customers in China described seeking a vehicle that is stylish - but not one that is arrogant or pretentious," Ford states. And this new Escort concept previews a possibility of providing exactly that for this rapidly expanding automotive market.
What you're looking at, then, is one of the most simple Ford designs we've seen of late, though it still incorporates all of the automaker's latest DNA. The signature hexagonal grille is front and center, flanked by attractive LED headlamps and chrome-rimmed foglamp housings. The entire car's design focuses on clean, smooth surfaces, with one strong character line flowing from front to back just below the beltline. We will say that the car looks decidedly more premium from the rear view, where narrow, horizontal taillamps with an LED accent give the car added visual width. Bland as it may be, it's a handsome little concept, though fear what would likely happen if all of the conceptual details get dumbed down for a production model.