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2022 Ford Escape ST 'a fantastic idea': New high-performance Volkswagen Tiguan R and Hyundai Tucson N Line rival on the cards

The sportiest version of the new-generation Escape currently available is the ST-Line.

Ford has labelled a high-performance ST flagship for the new-generation Escape mid-size SUV “a fantastic idea”, but questions remain around what would power such a model.

Speaking to Australian journalists this week, Ford’s global Escape vehicle line chief program engineer, James Hughes, was asked if an Escape ST is in the pipeline to take on the recently revealed Volkswagen Tiguan R and forthcoming Hyundai Tucson N Line.

“We do have an outstanding legacy and a really good foundation with the Focus ST, and we’re always evaluating further derivative opportunities, but as you guys know, I really can’t comment on future products,” he said.

“But I think it [an Escape ST] is a fantastic idea.”

While short of a confirmation, Mr Hughes’ comments certainly suggest Ford is at least considering an Escape ST, but which engine would be under its bonnet?

Given the Escape and Focus small car are both based on Ford’s modular C2 platform, it stands to reason an ST version of the former would use the latter’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, likely in combination with AWD to match its rivals.

Where things really get interesting, though, is the tune of such a unit. The FWD Focus ST develops 206kW/420Nm, but those outputs fall short of that of the 2.0-litre Tiguan R (235kW/420Nm) and 2.5-litre Tucson N Line (213kW/422Nm), so an Escape ST could get a tweak.

Either way, an ST would be a step up from the sportiest version of the Escape currently available, the FWD or AWD ST-Line, which is motivated by a 183kW/387Nm 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine.

If an Escape ST were to become a reality, expect it to be at least a year away. In the meantime, the regular Escape range will be in Australian showrooms in mid-November.

Justin Hilliard
Head of Editorial
Justin’s dad chose to miss his birth because he wanted to watch Peter Brock hopefully win Bathurst, so it figures Justin grew up to have a car obsession, too – and don’t worry, his dad did turn up in time after some stern words from his mum. That said, despite loving cars and writing, Justin chose to pursue career paths that didn’t lend themselves to automotive journalism, before eventually ending up working as a computer technician. But that car itch just couldn’t be scratched by his chipped Volkswagen Golf R (Mk7), so he finally decided to give into the inevitable and study a Master of Journalism at the same time. And even with the long odds, Justin was lucky enough to land a full-time job as a motoring journalist soon after graduating and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, Justin happily finds himself working at CarsGuide during the biggest period of change yet for the automotive industry, which is perhaps the most exciting part of all. In case you’re wondering, Justin begrudgingly sold the Golf R (sans chip) and still has plans to buy his dream car, an E46 BMW M3 coupe (manual, of course), but he is in desperate need of a second car space – or maybe a third.
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