Xtomi’s Rending of the 2021 Ford Escape (Kuga) ST Gives Us Hope in a Bleak, Car-Less Future
A production model might become available in 2020by Ciprian Florea, on
The 2020 Ford Escape (Kuga in Europe) just broke cover with styling cues from the Focus and the Fiesta hatchbacks, and the first thing that came into my mind is whether Ford will offer a higher performance ST version of it. FoMoCo has yet to talk about such plans, but this rendering from X-Tomi Design shows that the fourth-generation Escape would look cool in ST trim.
The Ford Escape ST Looks The Part
The Escape ST stands out thanks to a honeycomb-style grille and a revised front bumper that includes bigger vents
Rendered with styling features from the Focus ST, the Escape ST stands out thanks to a honeycomb-style grille and a revised front bumper that includes bigger vents. The black trim around these vents gives the crossover a more aggressive design. Onto the sides, X-Tomi changed the black cladding on the wheel arches and the side skirts to body-colored elements. This revision makes the Escape look a lot like the Focus, especially since the suspension has been lowered as well. But this is good thing given that the Focus ST will no longer be available in the United States.
I can also see black trim around the windows, body-colored mirror caps, and new rims wrapped in low-profile tires. There’s no view of the rear end, but the ST will probably have a slightly bigger tailgate spoiler and sportier diffuser element with exhaust pipes on both sides. Dark-tinted headlamps and taillights are also on the table.
Ford dropped the old 2.0-liter unit is favor of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost in the latest Focus ST
So what kind of engine would Ford use for this performance crossover? My bet is on the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost in the Focus ST. The Escape and the Focus already share some drivetrain components so it would make sense for the ST models to share engines. Ford dropped the old 2.0-liter unit in favor of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost in the latest Focus ST. It basically fitted the Focus ST with a detuned version of the RS’ engine, and the same unit can be found in the Ford Mustang.
The mill cranks out 276 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It’s not as powerful as the engine in the Mustang, but it’s plenty powerful for a hatchback. This rating would place the ST just above the Titanium model, which comes with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost rated at 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Granted, an extra 26 horses and 35 pound-feet might not be enough to set the ST apart, but Ford has the means to squeeze more oomph from this mill. In the Mustang, for instance, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost generates 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of twist.
2020 Ford Escape drivetrain specifications
|1.5L EcoBoost||2.0L EcoBoost||2.5L FHEV||2.5L PHEV|
|S, SE, SEL||SEL,Titanium||SE Sport, Titanium||SE, SEL, Titanium|
|Configuration||Aluminum block and head, In-line 3 cylinder||Aluminum block and head, In-line 4 cylinder||Aluminum block and head, Atkinson-cycle I-4||Aluminum block and head, Atkinson-cycle I-4|
|Bore and stroke||3.31 x 3.54 in.||3.44 x 3.27 in.||3.50 x3.94 in.||3.50 x3.94 in.|
|Displacement||91.4 cu. in./1,497 cc||122 cu. in./1,999 cc||152 cu. in./2,488 cc||152 cu. in./2,488 cc|
|Compression ratio||10.0:1||9. 3:1||13.0:1||13.0:1|
|Horsepower (targeted)||180 hp||250 hp||198 hp||209 hp|
|Torque (targeted)||177 lb.-ft.||275 lb.-ft.||N /A||N /A|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||8-speed auto with SelectShift® with paddle shifters||PowerSplit: Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission||PowerSplit: Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission|
Ford Needs to Build One
With all cars but the Mustang and Active versions of the Focus and Fiesta set to be discontinued to make way for more SUVs, Ford needs to transfer its "ST" badge to other nameplates. It has already done it for the Edge, so an Escape ST seems to be the next logical step. Now that the regular Fiesta and Focus will no longer be offered, the Escape ST would become the brand’s entry-level performance offering in the U.S.
When Will You Be Able To Buy A Ford Escape ST?
Although Ford has yet to confirm the Escape ST, it’s definitely thinking about it. And given that the Focus ST arrived only months after the regular hatchback, the Escape ST could be here as soon as 2020. An official unveiling could take place in early 2020, but we should find out more about that later in 2019 when the prototype will probably hit public roads.
Read our full review on the 2020 Ford Escape.
Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Escape.