Each year, we are allowed the opportunity to see what the various manufacturers have planned for the brand-new model year. With new technology, new designs, and new ways to excite, it’s no wonder why the automotive industry is the most fascinating world to be a part of. And whether you’re an industry insider or someone who enjoys keeping up with the various changes, there’s one common bond that’s shared among everyone; nostalgia.
We love to reminisce about the past and think about the designs of yesteryear that are no longer in production. Dating back to the Edsel and the Pinto, Ford has a lengthy list of vehicles that are now a part of the annals of history and the hearts of fans of the blue brand. Today we’ll be looking at some of the unique offerings that recently faded off the production lines and into memory. You might be fortunate enough to locate one of them at a used Ford dealer, and if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to own a piece of recent history.
The Ford EcoSport
The Ecosport was only recently discontinued after the 2022 model year, and we can’t deny that we’re already missing it. With Ford placing its creative emphasis on more SUVs these days and the growing consumer need for smaller vehicles that share the same capability as their larger siblings, the EcoSport seemed to be the best of both worlds. Its agile size made it easy to maneuver in and around the stop-and-go traffic patterns associated with city driving, which many family-oriented consumers look for.
Perhaps what made the EcoSport such a unique offering was its ability to adapt to more driving conditions than those that take place within the city limits. With standard all-wheel drive and a generous towing capacity of 2,000 lbs, the vehicle could handle the rigors of off-roading with minimal effort. It should also be noted that the interior design was quite flashy, and one of the things we miss about the vehicle the most. Its infotainment screen and chrome gear shifter created a unique style that anyone could enjoy. Perhaps if a hybrid edition of the EcoSport could have entered production, we would have seen a fresh face in 2023.
The Ford Flex
We now go from a subcompact SUV to a vehicle that had strong ties to the class that the SUV replaced as the ideal choice for the family-oriented consumer. At first glance, one might mistake the Ford Flex as a modern incarnation of a Ford Fairlane station wagon. That assessment wouldn’t be too far off, as the Flex had the same stylings of a wagon with the potency of a modern SUV. Rest assured, this was not your mother’s station wagon.
The Flex came equipped with two distinctive V6 engines that were equally powerful, with the first producing 287 hp and its older sibling pushing out 365. The Flex offered practicality and performance in an award-winning combination. The latter allowed the Flex to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds, and its unique shape allowed for simple handling that was more common with a sedan. Three rows of seating and a stereo system with 12 speakers made for a practical vehicle that didn’t skimp on the extras. In an age where rivals such as Chevy extoll praise on the Equinox as an SUV with sedan-like handling, it would have been nice for the Flex to remain in production and prove its worth.
The Ford Taurus X
We go from one design heavily inspired by a station wagon to another. Also known as the “Ford Freestyle,” the Ford Taurus X had a short shelf life but deserves all the praise and recognition for being a unique adaptation of a model name that was a household word at one point. The Ford Taurus, discontinued in 2019, was for many years marketed as the ideal family vehicle and came in the form of a sedan and station wagon. The Taurus X was the successor to this and illustrated a unique time when the SUV was becoming more favorable among drivers who had family obligations to consider.
Aside from its unique performance attributes, the interior design contained seating that was meant to enhance visibility. While initially making a strong impression on the public, diminishing returns in the form of low sales would be its Achilles heel. Much like the previous models on this list, Ford’s penchant for SUV design could have brought it some much-needed resurgence as the market began to change in the early 2010s.
The Ford Fiesta ST
When it comes to the world of the sporty and performance-oriented hatchback, only a few models have cornered the market. The Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic are certainly the first options that immediately come to mind. In another instance of Ford having a short-lived competitor in this market, we present the Ford Fiesta ST. Ford’s sporty hatchback, while not as well remembered as the Ford Focus, offered drivers quick acceleration, sustainable fuel economy, and a style that allowed them to make a first impression wherever they went.
In production from 2017 to 2019, the Fiesta ST was equipped with a peppy engine in the form of a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine that gave drivers a performance-oriented experience courtesy of a six-speed manual transmission. 197 hp propelled the vehicle forward and was remarkably inexpensive to own and fuel. EPA estimates from the 2019 model year show that the Fiesta ST obtained 25 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway for a combined total of 28 MPG.
While it had plenty of pep underneath the hood, there was plenty of practicality as well, such as 25 cu.ft. of available storage room, almost double the average trunk size of a four-door sedan (15 cu.ft.). It would have been nice to see the Fiesta ST remain in production, as it could have competed as a more performance-oriented version of the Chevy Trailblazer.
What Once Was and What Might Be Again…
If there’s one thing to be said about the major domestic brands, there’s always a chance for a vehicle to make a comeback. Look no further than the recent re-emergence of the Ford Bronco as a sign of how nostalgia and consumer wants can make a noticeable impact on the direction of the industry. These models were unique, challenged the popular conception of what Ford could do, and certainly deserve the recognition they achieved while they were in production.
And while they might be relegated to our memories for the time being, there’s no definitive answer as to if they’ll ever make a triumphant return. Perhaps in an alternate universe, they’re all still in production and continuing to illustrate Ford’s talent at shifting the paradigm in terms of what a manufacturer can accomplish when they choose to be innovative instead of passive.
Whether we’re talking about the iconic F-150, or the short-lived Ford Taurus X, Ford has demonstrated throughout its reign in the automotive industry that it’s not afraid to take chances. Those chances have given us fan-favorites like the aforementioned F-150 and Ford Explorer. While only Ford knows what their future will look like over the next few years and beyond, we’re confident that we’ll continue to enjoy the innovative models they’ve been bringing to the automotive market for over a century.