AutoGuide.com

Ford Fusion May Return as a Lifted Wagon

1
Ford Fusion May Return as a Lifted Wagon

The attractive Ford Fusion seems to be on track to linger around a bit longer than its passenger car stablemates, even in its current form.

Focus, Taurus, and Fiesta production should wrap up by the middle of next year, with the Fusion’s end date currently shrouded by haze. All signs point to the current midsize sedan ending its run in 2021.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a new Fusion waiting to replace it.

According to sources with insider knowledge of Ford’s product plans, the Fusion name will live on, but the vehicle it’s affixed to will not boast a trunk. Instead, the name will grace the exterior of a high-roofed five-door vehicle built on the same platform, the sources told Bloomberg. A “sport wagon” of some sort, though perhaps a crossover-ized hatch is a better descriptor.

It’s a vehicle your author instantly envisioned after hearing that Ford planned to chop its existing passenger car offerings down to one (Mustang), with the Focus reappearing in faux-crossover “Active” guise. Why not pull the same stunt with the Fusion?

Ford spokesman Mike Levine told Bloomberg that the Fusion name will likely live on after the existing model leaves the market.

The Blue Oval apparently has Subaru’s perennially popular Outback in mind as the future Fusion’s main challenger. This implies that the wagon-like vehicle will boast at least an inch or two of added suspension lift, body cladding, and all-wheel drive, at least as an option. Subaru (or Ford) isn’t alone in this kind of thinking — just look at the soft-roaders coming out of Volvo and Buick.

Shortly after the automaker’s big announcement, CEO Jim Hackett said, “We want to give [the public] what they’re telling us they really want. We’re simply reinventing the American car.”

SEE ALSO: Ford: So, the Fusion’s Steering Wheel Might Fall Off

That the public wants — as sales stats show — are vehicles with utility to spare, and traditional sedans and coupes do not fit the bill. Nor do regular hatchbacks, it would seem. A next-gen Fusion with a higher seating position, pretensions of ruggedness and athleticism, and useable cargo volume behind the rear seats seems like a no-brainer. Yes, its existence might drain some sales from the compact Escape crossover, but the overall effect would be to retain some owners who aren’t in the market for a full-on CUV. Meet them halfway instead.

The price ranges of both vehicles would likely overlap in a big way. Meanwhile, the Fusion name holds plenty of brand equity, and dealers who spoke to Bloomberg back this up.

“We don’t want anyone to think we’re leaving anything,” Hackett said in May. “We’re just moving to a modern version. This is an exciting new generation of vehicles coming from Ford.”

As Ford prepares the Fusion’s replacement, assuming it’s a go, the current Fusion soldiers on, aided by the fact it’s the only hybrid or plug-in hybrid passenger car in the brand’s lineup. Care for a gas-electric taxi?

A version of this story originally appeared on The Truth About Cars.