When Ford announced earlier this year that it had plans to revive the Mach 1 nameplate, it certainly garnered some attention. When it was revealed the storied Mustang moniker would be a crossover, it grabbed even more attention, not all of it being friendly hugs and cute puppies. Whichever side you fall upon, a new Mustang-based CUV is coming and this could well be our very first look at it. The thing is, this curious camouflaged test vehicle leaves us with more questions than answers.
For starters, that body just doesn’t seem to match up with everything we’ve seen and heard on the Mach 1. The shape strikes us much more like the next-generation Ford Escape, which we’ve also seen in prototype form and is pretty much a dead ringer for this ride. At least, it’s almost a dead ringer – the general consensus is this could well be an Escape body, but there are a few interesting points that make us do a double-take. Here's a side-by-side look, with the Escape on the left and the Mach 1 on the right.
For starters, those bulging amber lights up front haven’t been seen before, and looking closer it seems the whole face could be different. The lower fascia appears closer to the ground, and check out those gigantic disc brakes. That’s definitely not anything like we’ve seen on other Escape test vehicles. The Mach 1 looks beefier overall while sitting lower to the ground, but there's still a striking similarity between the designs.
There are other mysteries, too. The Mach I is supposed to be electrified in some way, but we can’t see any such access ports on this vehicle for plug-in power. What we do see is a tailpipe and some curious-looking soot that suggests diesel power, and that makes no sense at all for the Mach I. It could simply be a clever disguise to throw us off the trail – for that matter the body does seem to be sitting rather awkward on its underpinnings. Perhaps this is an Escape body on Mach I underpinnings? Ford’s new modular platform does allow quite a bit of flexibility to accommodate a range of models. Or perhaps this could be a new performance variant of the Escape?
So many questions, but one thing is for certain. Ford is dead set on bringing more performance SUVs and crossovers to market, and judging by the big brakes on this one, that process is well underway. We’ll be keeping our eye peeled to dig up more information on this much-anticipated model.