Ford will blow the European middle-market wide open in 2006 with a radical new family of vehicles. The company is working on a revolutionary replacement for the Galaxy MPV, as well as breaking completely new ground with a high-roof estate that could give the Blue Oval brand the biggest boost it’s had in many years.
This station wagon – the final name is still under discussion – is known internally as the SAV 5 – a five-seat Sport Activity Vehicle that ‘splits the difference between a conventional estate car and an SUV’.
Ford has already launched similar vehicles in the US (the Freestyle) and in Australia (the Territory, see p10). Product planners think that Ford will kick off a new European trend as buyers begin to reject the conventional SUV for social and environmental reasons, but still want a spacious family holdall that has more than a hint of rugged all-round ability.
According to confidential documents in Autocar’s possession, the SAV will have a wide choice of engines and drivetrains, from a new 2.0-litre petrol engine through to a 2.5-litre five-pot unit borrowed from Volvo (see box, below). There will also be an extensive range of diesel engines, including a new generation of oil burners called DW.
In standard form, the SAV will have five seats, leaving seven-seat duties for the new Galaxy. However, Autocar understands that there is a version of the car called SAV 5+2, which indicates the probable inclusion of rear-facing child seats.
But the SAV is just part of a much bigger project. Our Ford documents state that the SAV platform is known as the C1+ and explained that this structure is based on the Ford Focus’s C1 platform with an extended wheelbase, more sophisticated crash structure and reduced levels of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). It also confirms that this platform is shared between Volvo, Land Rover and Ford. Volvo is expected to use the chassis for the next S60, V70 and S80, as well as the much-rumoured baby XC90 4x4, the XC50. Land Rover will use it for the all-new Freelander replacement.