Will Sporty Versions of SUVs Replace Sport Versions of Cars?

It has recently come to my attention that Ford plans to offer an "ST" version of its Edge midsize crossover, which will be a regular Ford Edge with some performance-looking parts and a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower. This got me wondering: Is the "sport SUV" going to be the next big trend?

Consider this: For the last umpteen years, most manufacturers gave you the option to buy a car, and then a sportier car. The Honda Civic and the Civic Si. The Subaru Impreza and the WRX. The Hyundai Veloster and the Veloster Turbo. I could go on for days here, but you generally get the idea. Some big percentage of "regular" models, over the last few decades, have also offered a sport model for people who really enjoy driving.

Is that trend now going to come to SUVs?

Some of you will say that it already has, and with good reason. There’s been a high-performance BMW X5 for about 15 years now; the Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG debuted nearly 20 years ago. But that’s the luxury world, where people are always willing to pay a lot of money for rarer cars with bigger engines. What about the regular car world?

Here’s what I’m thinking: Is the Edge ST opening the door for a slew of performance-oriented SUV versions of regular cars? With dwindling interest in the car in favor of the SUV, will we see a Honda CR-V Si sometime soon? Will there be a Subaru Forester WRX? A Hyundai Santa Fe Turbo? A Toyota RAV4 XRS? Will Chevrolet come out with an "SS" version of the Traverse crossover?

This may sound radical, but I don’t think it’s as far-fetched as it might seem. Presumably, even die-hard car people will begin to gravitate towards crossovers eventually, as everyone is. Why not make a model that caters to them, and brings in a little extra profit? Why not make a 250-hp CR-V Si?

It may seem ridiculous, but the Ford Edge ST shows us that it’s not outside the realm of possibility. It’ll be interesting to see if the "sporty SUV" spreads beyond the Edge and into the rest of the lineup.

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