Back in the summer of 2019, Ford Authority reported that while the Ford Fusion as we knew it was going to be discontinued, it and the Mondeo – its European brother – would be coming back as a globally-available crossover. Then, a few months later, we spied an early next-gen Fusion prototype testing with cobbled-together body parts, though with a distinctly wagon-like shape. And then, just last month, what was purported to be a next-gen, 2023 Ford Fusion Active or Mondeo Active prototype leaked online.
Roughly a week later, we captured that very same vehicle on the road, believing it to be a prototype for the 2023 Ford Fusion Active / Mondeo Active. However, that might not actually be the case at all, as we’ve now learned. Ford Authority has reason to believe that the vehicle that was leaked and subsequently spied testing in metro Detroit is not the Fusion Active, but rather a vehicle destined specifically for South America.
Sources tell Ford Authority that Ford was planning a fastback-like vehicle for the South American market built on the B2-E platform. Currently, B-segment vehicles like the Ford Fiesta and Ka ride on the B2 platform, while the “E” likely stands for “evolution” as a modified version of that architecture. For those wondering, the “E” does not stand for “Electric.”
However, with the recent announcement that Ford will cease manufacturing in Brazil entirely, the future of that project is currently up in the air. If this model does make it to production, it would mark a new entry into a whitespace in South America for Ford, slotting above the Ka as another passenger vehicle option for buyers in that region.
There are other reasons to believe that this prototype is not the 2023 Ford Fusion Active as well. The original, piecemeal prototype we spied back in 2019 was a wagon-like crossover, which is what the next-gen Fusion is expected to be. By comparison, this new prototype has more of a sloping rear fastback hatch, which is quite different from the more traditional wagon form we’re expecting for the 2023 Fusion/Mondeo.
In addition, the “swirly” camo present on the car in the new spy photos never gets used on North American prototypes – only on international-market prototypes developed in China and South American. Thus, it’s likely that we aren’t looking at the next Fusion, but rather something entirely different.