Will the Lincoln Aviator/Ford Explorer Platform Spawn an Array of Sporty Mustang Crossovers?
A report claims Ford’s rear-wheel-drive SUV platform will bring Mustang-like looks and performance to the carmaker’s SUV lineup.
Last year, the Lincoln Aviator concept took the New York Auto Show by storm—not just because of its miniature-Navigator styling and plug-in hybrid powertrain, but also because Ford revealed the production version would be based on a new rear-wheel-drive-based chassis. Any carmaker worth its profit margins these days knows to squeeze as many variants from a new vehicular skeleton as possible; as such, it wasn't surprising when Ford Motor Company revealed the same bones would also underpin the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer.
Still, this is a bit more of a surprise: A new report claims that same platform will soon spawn sporty SUVs that will effectively be Ford Mustang crossovers.
The report comes from Motor Trend's "MT Confidential" column, which runs all its pronouncements under the presumably-fictive name "Mike Connor." (We presume he's fictional because neither Mike Spinelli nor your humble author have ever heard of him in spite of our combined 30 years in automotive journalism, and because while he appears to have worked at MT since at least 2006, he never once seems to have contributed to anything beyond short-form news and rumormill pieces.) According to the story, which runs in the April 2019 issue of MT, the Aviator/Explorer platform was originally intended to also be used for a range-topping Lincoln sedan—presumably a competitor to the Cadillac CT6. Lincoln head honcho Joy Falotica apparently knew better than her counterparts at Caddy, however, because according to MT, she canned the fancy four-door before the project could get off the ground.
Instead, all the corporate energy dedicated to the platform will reportedly be channeled into using it to develop a series of Mustang-branded performance crossovers with BMW X4-like "sports-activity coupe" styling. According to MT, these high-stepping 'Stangs will not only look like tall, four-door versions of the muscle car, but also pack power equivalent to the non-Shelby versions of the muscle car. Assume that the Mustang won't lose any power between now and when this alleged crossover arrives, and we should be looking at high-riding mid-sized crossovers packing somewhere in the range of 300–500 horses. (Hopefully that means we'll also see a version powered by the 5.0-liter Coyote V8, but we wouldn't be surprised if Ford chose the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 instead for the top-tier version.)
Now, admittedly, this is all very much the stuff of rumor. And even if there's truth to the report, it's very possible that plans could change before we see any evidence of such a sporty 'Stang SUV emerge. Still, all things considered, a Mustang crossover isn't the dumbest idea—at least, from a financial perspective, considering how well SUVs are doing these days. Besides, we know Ford's forthcoming electric crossover will have Mustang-like cues; if you're FoMoCo, why not double down?