Could compete with VW Tiguan R, Hyundai Tucson N Line
Platform-sharing Focus ST has 276 hp
Ford is continuing to move away from cars and into crossovers, but that doesn’t mean that they’re willing to let their performance brands wither on the vine. The latest to get Ford’s go-fast ST badge could be one of the company’s smaller crossovers, the Ford Escape.
Obviously Ford won’t talk about future products, but when speaking with a group of Australian journalists Escape global chief program engineer James Hugues said that “I think it [an Escape ST] is a fantastic idea,” reported Carsguide.au.
The new Escape, as well as the new global version of the Ford Focus (not sold here), both ride on the C2 modular platform from the automaker. Carsguide suggests that means that if there were to be an ST version of the Escape that it would likely use the same 2.3L turbo-four that’s under the hood of the Focus.
For 2021, the Focus ST makes 276 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, though, which would put an ST Escape using that power level not all that much further ahead of the 2.0L Ecoboost in the “normal” Escape. While that one is no slug, adding suspension and appearance changes only wouldn’t fit with the ST image and product as seen in the Edge and Explorer. It would also pale in comparison to the R version of the Tiguan Volkswagen offers in other markets that makes 316 hp, as well as the rumoured upcoming 290 hp Tucson N-Line.
Fortunately, Ford’s 2.3 Ecoboost can be tuned to 350 hp, as seen in the Focus RS, or 310 as found in the Ford Mustang. So the automaker has options depending on just how much zoot they might want to put into a performance compact CUV.
If such a model were coming, the report suggests it would be at least a year away, and it would remain to be seen if Ford thought that there was room for it in the North American lineup. Maybe once the focus currently on the Bronco Sport starts to fade and the automaker needs a boost?