Carmakers are finding creative ways to shift away from sedans without tilting towards an SUV-only range. Ford traveled to the biennial Shanghai auto show to unveil a model named Evos that blurs the lines between segments.
Ford proudly pointed out the Evos is the first car developed largely by a China-based team, though its members leveraged the company's global product development expertise. It was "designed entirely around the Chinese consumer experience and ownership scenarios," according to a statement published by the Blue Oval.
Precisely how this approach shaped the Evos during its development phase isn't clear, though we're told the front end's design blends Ford's design heritage with Chinese aesthetic values. Moving beyond the front fascia, the Evos wears unusual proportions that tick many boxes: It has four doors like a sedan, a fastback-like roofline, and the ground clearance of a crossover. Roof rails and black cladding over the wheel arches add a rugged touch to the overall look. In many ways, it reminds us of the segment-bending Citroën C5 X introduced earlier this month.
Ford surfed one of the latest trends in infotainment technology by giving the Evos a screen big enough to surf on. Forget inches; this unit measures 1.2 yards wide. It notably houses a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 27-inch touchscreen that occupies the space above the center console and ahead of the front occupant. These units can be split, so the driver can keep an eye on navigation directions, for example, while the passenger watches a movie. Artificial intelligence from Baidu, China's home-grown Google rival, is packed into the software.
Details about what the Evos is powered by weren't included in Ford's release. Nothing suggests it's 100% electric, but some degree of electrification is extremely likely. Regardless, don't expect to find a V8 under the hood.
As of writing, the Evos has only been announced for the Chinese market. It will be manufactured locally by a joint-venture called Changan Ford, and it's scheduled to go on sale before the end of 2021. Anning Chen, the head of Ford's Chinese division, went as far as explaining the Evos "represents a step forward in creating high-end products around customer experience to address the diverse needs of Chinese consumers." And yet, the model might end up addressing the needs of American and Canadian consumers, too. Unverified rumors claim Ford will fill the Fusion-sized gap in its range with a so-called "white space vehicle" that's neither a sedan nor a crossover, and earlier spy shots taken on the outskirts of Detroit show a camouflaged test mule with unmistakably Evos-like proportions.
If the Evos is America-bound, we'll learn more about the model coming to our market in the coming months. Across the pond, the Evos — or a market-specific off-shoot of it — could replace the Mondeo, which will retire in 2022.