Ford Performance, the US-based global car maker’s performance tuning arm, has teased a video on its Facebook page featuring former Top Gear test driver Ben Collins. The video alludes to a new ST-badged model joining the likes of other Ford performance-fettled cars including the GT coupe, the F150 Raptor, and the Mustang.
However, the closing shot of the video dwells on an ST badge on the tailgate of an unidentified vehicle that forms the words “STay tuned”, while a Twitter tag hints it is slated for a reveal at next week’s Detroit Motor Show. It takes the sharp minds at Wheels little deduction to work out it’s not the Fiesta or Focus that are featured, but what looks like an SUV – the Ford Edge, to be exact.
But there’s a problem. If it is a hi-po version of the Edge, which is slated to come here late this year badged as the Endura (market rival Toyota already owns the rights to the Edge name here), we are unlikely to get it. And here’s why.
Ford Australia has already confirmed the Endura will arrive here as a five-seater and, of more significance to us, with only diesel engines under its bonnet. The US has fallen out of love with diesel, so the ST-badged version of the Endura is likely to use the same turbocharged 184kW/345Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the Focus ST.
See what’s wrong here? A Ford Australia spokesman declined to comment.
Ford is believed to be unveiling a heavily facelifted version of the Edge at a special off-site location ahead of the Detroit Motor Show, a vehicle that will plug an important gap in its showroom left open by the locally made Territory five- and seven-seat SUV – a vehicle that still snared four sales in December despite the last one rolling out of Broadmeadows in October 2016.
Buyers seeking Territory-like tow capacities are now being directed to the Everest, which added a rear-drive version last year to cater for those buyers who wanted to move something heavy, but didn’t need all-wheel-drive capability. Unlike Endura, it will also have a seven-seat option.
If Ford was to bring an ST-badged version of the Endura to Australia it would be a direct rival for something like the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI Highline, the 162kW/350Nm Golf GTI-engined version of the German-built mid-size SUV. The only other mainstream SUVs on sale here with performance car pretensions include the 188kW/353Nm Holden Equinox LT and the 162kW/350Nm Chinese-made MG GS Essence.
Instead, Australia is expected to be in line for the ST-Line, mimicking a British-market version of the diesel-engined Edge that includes sports front seats, a separate sports suspension tune and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Focus-badged version of the ST includes a six-speed manual transmission and enhanced brakes to cope with the extra straight-line poke that the Ecoboost engine endows it with. It’s also kitted out with lairy Recaro performance seats to match its more aggressive aero – other features the Edge-badged ST is likely to mimic.
Wheels is on the floor of the 2018 Detroit Motor Show from January 15. Catch up with all the show news, and more, at WheelsMag.com.au.