My first thought when I saw the reactions to the new Ford Capri online: "Here we go again." 

There's apparently a lot of hand-wringing about whether this new Capri is a "real Capri" or not. After all, this new car is an electric four-door sedan-hatch thing with a ride height that gives it SUV vibes, while the old Capri was an iconic European performance coupe—two doors, classic proportions and aimed at younger buyers who wanted something exciting. 

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Ford's challenges in Europe

Like a lot of automakers, Ford is losing ground in China and now it's facing Chinese EV rivals in Europe too, where it has long had a strong presence. Using VW's electric platform may help Ford get more cars on the road in the interim, but eventually, it's got to find ways to seriously compete in Europe or back down like General Motors did. 

This will sound familiar to anyone who saw, or participated in, the online debates about whether the Ford Mustang Mach-E is a "real Mustang" or not. And I think the end result will be the same with the Capri: it won't matter. If the Capri is good enough, it'll stand on its own merits, just like the Mach-E does. 

Gallery: Ford Capri (2024)

Of course, this situation is a bit different, since critics will likely argue that it's not even a "real" Ford. Underneath the Capri's handsome-but-blatantly-Polestar-ish skin is Volkswagen's MEB platform, such that it's basically a Ford-themed reskin of the Volkswagen ID.5. VW had long intended to license out its MEB platform to other automakers, and since Ford doesn't yet have its own true, dedicated EV architecture—cars like the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning are extensively modified versions of gas-powered platforms—this move helps the American automaker get more EVs on the road more quickly. This will change when Ford gets its own purpose-built EV platform out the door, but that's still a few years off

Then again, how much does your everyday, average buyer know or care what platform their EV uses? I'm reminded of that stat about how many BMW drivers didn't know they had rear-wheel-drive cars, so the Bavarians started cranking out more front-wheel-drive ones instead.

Ford Capri (2024)

Ford Capri (2024)

From what I can see across the pond where the car will not be sold, there's a lot to like here. Over at the Electrifying YouTube channel, host Ginny Buckley—who's a Capri fan and skeptic of the new design—says to "put that car out of your mind" as she dives deep into the coupe-SUV. She notes that this new Capri would absolutely smoke any of the previous gas versions, and it offers single- and dual-motor versions and even an upcoming smaller battery size for buyers who don't need as much distance. 

Buckley notes that the Capri does look considerably better than the also-VW-based Ford Explorer EV. The "boot" here definitely takes a page from the Polestar 2 playbook (if not the entire book) with a fastback-type hatch opening and a good amount of space with the rear seats down. The rear doors, however, seem pretty narrow, especially when you're on carseat duty. 

Ford Capri interior

Ford Capri interior

But there are some nice nods to the original Capri too, including ones this clueless American writer didn't know about. The headrests are integrated into the entire seat, old-school-style, and the steering wheel has a metallic 6 p.m. spoke with rally-style holes in it

The center touch screen can slide forward or back, tilting to be flush against the dashboard or more angled for easier driver reach. The Capri also boasts an upgraded software system from what's in the Mach-E, and charger location and app integration are better than ever. So, yes; these cars use a Ford software system, not a Volkswagen one. And the rest of the interior doesn't scream VW either, it's all pretty cohesive in there. 

Will European audiences warm up to this new electric Capri? Even Buckley admits it's maybe not as aspirational as the original coupe was, and the Polestar 2's sales haven't exactly been setting new records as of late. But it could help Ford gain some ground in the EV race, where it's particularly behind in Europe. 

I know most Americans have no idea what a Capri is unless they have vague memories of Mercury, but I wish this thing was sold on our side of the Atlantic too. I'm weirdly into it.

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