Next-gen Mustang Delayed, Could Share Explorer Platform

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2018 Ford Mustang

Mustang with Explorer underpinnings might seem hard to swallow. However, there are plenty of reasons to like it.

Nearly one year after the introduction of the mid-cycle refresh of Ford’s venerable Mustang, we’re seemingly halfway there to an all-new model. But now, it appears that we won’t see the next-gen Mustang until one year after we initially expected. According to Automotive News, Ford CEO Jim Hackett has pushed back the arrival of the seventh-gen pony car to 2021 for reasons unknown. But they might just have something to do with some radical changes Ford has in the works.

Namely, the Mustang that we know and love today will likely no longer ride on its own, unique platform. Ford has made it no secret that they want all of their future vehicles built on one of five modular architectures. Thus, the next-gen Mustang would likely share a platform with the all-new, forthcoming rear-wheel drive Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. Yes, we know that sounds bad. But before you break out your pitchforks and engage caps lock, consider the benefits of such a move.

2018 Ford Mustang

For starters, don’t think that the next Mustang will be some sort of glorified ‘ute. In fact, switching to a modular platform actually offers up plenty of options. “Mustang is still going to be a strong, well proportioned vehicle,” said chief designer Darrell Behmer in a recent interview with Automotive News. “The modular architectures will still give us flexibility; it’s not going to bastardize Mustang.”

“The general layout of RWD has morphed over time, but it’s still the general architecture that it has been,” added chief engineer Carl Widmann told Automotive News. “As you tune it [the platform] and put a top hat on it, you can get different combinations and can define a lot of the emotion.”

Plus, switching to the new Explorer platform would also give Ford a golden opportunity. That is, the chance to build an all-wheel drive Mustang for the first time ever. Obviously, that would be a boon to the car’s all-weather performance, not to mention appealing to overseas customers.

2018 Ford Mustang

Still, these changes might seem a little hard to swallow for us traditionalists. But it’s clear that Ford hasn’t forgotten just how influential its legendary pony car is.

“It’s the heart and soul of Ford,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets. “It’s one of the reasons why we’re different and it continues to inspire other vehicles in the lineup.”

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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