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Electric Ford Capri is saloon-SUV with sports car pace

2024 Ford Capri front lead
2024 Ford Capri front lead

New Capri blends SUV and saloon design cues

Ford has revived the Capri nameplate after a 38-year absence for a rakish, electric, saloon-shaped SUV with Focus ST levels of performance and nearly 400 miles of range.

Far removed from its low-slung, two-door 1970s namesake, the electric Capri is derived from the Ford Explorer crossover and will enter production alongside that car in Cologne, Germany, in the coming weeks.

Ford Europe design boss Amko Leenarts, who has led the Capri’s reinvention, indicated the project was on the table as far back as 2019. “Who would not want to bring back the Capri as a design?” he said, when asked about badging and which models from the past could be used to inspire his design team.

“We’d love it. But it’s got to be in the zeitgeist and has to fit [in with the wider line-up], not just exist as something for a designer to bring back an old car.”

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Bringing back familiar nameplates is part of Ford’s strategy to leverage its storied past as a point of differentiation in the electric car era, when technical superiority is harder to achieve and the market is being turned on its head by the arrival of countless new EV start-ups from China and elsewhere.

Asked more recently how using names like Explorer and Mustang helps to carve a competitive edge in this context, Leenarts told Autocar: “The public loves that we’re bringing nameplates to new territories” because they tap into a “unique perspective that nobody else has”.

From a personal standpoint, he said he revels in “the tension between something that’s got the equity of an older name and the new interpretation”.

Clearly, Leenart’s team has stuck to his brief, with a design that nods subtly to the original Capri and looks to convey some of its sporting spirit, but chases sales in Europe’s crucial mid-sized SUV market with a focus on spaciousness, practicality and usability.

Measuring 4634mm long, 2063mm wide and 1626mm tall, and with a kerb weight of between 2023kg and 2115kg, depending on spec, it’s a close match for the Volkswagen ID 5 with which it shares a platform.

While the Explorer has a straight-edged, two-box silhouette heavily influenced by Ford’s American heritage, the Capri adopts a sleeker, more aero-influenced form that gives it the appearance of a high-riding saloon rather than a full-blown SUV - not dissimilar to the Polestar 2.

Like the Explorer, it rides on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB architecture and will be offered with a choice of either a 282bhp single rear motor for 0-62mph in 6.4sec, or a 335bhp twin-motor arrangement that enables 0-62mph in 5.3sec.

The lower-powered car uses a 77kWh (usable) battery, which provides a range of 390 miles and can charge at up to 135kW, while the Premium range-topper bumps capacity up to 79kWh for 368 miles and can top up at up to 185kW.

For reference, the more monolithic Explorer cracks either 374 or 329 miles, respectively - testament to the Capri’s slipperier shape.

Beyond its sloping roofline, though, the Capri is further differentiated from the Explorer by a bespoke front end, with distinctive LED headlights that nod to the Mk3 Capri and a wraparound contrasting ‘grille’, with a similar treatment for the rear lending an element of retro appeal.

Thomas Morel, who led the exterior design of the Capri, said: “It’s not every day that you have the chance to redesign an icon. We wanted to bring this spice into the next generation.”

It has been designed, Ford said, to “continue the story of the iconic cult classic”, with a “rebellious” spirit that’s emphasised by vibrant paint colours, including Vivid Yellow and Blue My Mind.

The cockpit is much more familiar from the Explorer, with a 14.6in central touchscreen that slides backwards to reveal a ‘secret’ storage cubby, the 17-litre ‘megaconsole’ between the front seats and a foldable boot floor that liberates up to 527 litres of storage space.

One-piece sports seats and the squared-off steering wheel, meanwhile, nod to its more overt performance billing. “Inside, I think this is exactly how an original Capri driver would have expected the future to feel,” said Leenarts.

Ford has not yet revealed UK pricing for the Capri, but it is expected to command a small premium over the Explorer, with a start price of around £47,000, when it launches in the coming months.

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