The brand has announced it will launch the Ford Endura ST-Line in neighbouring New Zealand, adding weight to the idea – although it has declined to comment – that it will try and add a bit of buzz to the midsize Holden Equinox competitor.
Under the bonnet of the recently confirmed Endura ST-Line – the vehicle is called the Edge in other markets because Toyota Australia owns the Edge name in Australia and New Zealand – is a sequential twin-turbo diesel Duratorq engine producing 154kW and 450Nm that’s also likely to replace the ageing 2.2-litre single-turbo engine that powers the entry-level Ranger.
It will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission sending drive to all four wheels. The Endura ST-Line’s all-wheel-drive system can send up to 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear wheels when needed.
According to Ford, a smaller turbo helps with low-speed boost, while the larger turbo kicks in with a few revs on board, “like when overtaking a slow-moving vehicle”.
As well, the ST-Line gains a number of visual and performance enhancements. These range from 20-inch alloys featuring low-for-an-SUV-profile 255/45 rubber, unique body trim and a “sports” suspension tune.
Inside, the top-spec NZ Endura – it could yet be called a Titanium Plus by the time it arrives here – will feature an eight-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, keyless entry and start, heated and cooled front seats, rear heated seats, dual-zone climate control, a “premium” instrument cluster, a 220-volt power outlet in the centre console, aluminium highlights on the pedals, leather trimmed seats and powered front seats – 10-way adjust and a memory setting for the driver, and eight-way adjust for the front seat passenger.
The Kiwi version of the ST-Line will also gain a full suite of safety features including automatic emergency braking, a reversing camera and seven airbags, with a driver’s knee airbag. As well, there’s a powered tailgate, LED rear lights, tinted windows and black roof rails.
Ford Australia has released few details about the Endura ahead of its launch here late next year, apart from saying it will be “positioned as a premium, highly equipped urban SUV offering extensive driver assist features and striking, contemporary design and styling”. Its arrival will come almost two years after the former Australian car maker switched off production of the Ford Territory, leaving a significant hole in the brand’s local line-up.
Ford’s ST-Line offers buyers a milder, more sharply priced version of its ST-badged cars that amp up the performance stakes for the brand. They rely on visual changes and mild suspension tweaks to offer buyers a hint of the performance lifestyle without the fuel costs normally associated with the higher-strung ST-badged products. Ford Australia is yet to confirm if the ST-Line is likely to be made available here – adding more weight to the thought that ST-Line cars will wear a different badge in Oz.
Ford is soon to add more excitement to its Ranger trade ute range with the introduction of the Raptor. It is also expected to use the twin-turbo 2.0 diesel engine, although performance numbers are yet to be revealed.