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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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  1. Grand Cherokee SRT, Tahoe RST, Ford Flex EcoBoost, Ford Explorer EcoBoost, forester XT, some mqb Skoda SUV has a VRS model in Europe, there are many. But I think what automakers have done is add sporty options without having direct sport models, for example

    EcoBoost instead of St or rs in Ford’s
    V6 options in a lot of cars and SUVs
    Turbo engines like the Tucson 2.0. this seems successful because nobody directly looks for a sports SUV, but they will be happy to see that they have a 365hp option in their Ford Flex minivan for when the kids aren’t in the car.
  2. I think they’re just renaming the Edge Sport with some cosmetic upgrades. However, I work at a Ford dealer and we sell a surprising amount of Explorer Sports, while we have a row of 2017 Fusion Sports that no one wants. 

  3. The Chevy Equinox to an extend is already doing this with the new Turbocharged 4 cylinder, Eventually there will be an SS model too.
    I’ll be sad when cars go away in favor of less attractive looking SUV/Crossovers.

  4. They already did the Turbo ‘performance’ Outback and Forester, the XT. Chevy has also done the Equinox SS before. Saturn Vue Red Line, Pontiac Torrent GXP, Volvo V70R, Trailblazer SS, Saab 9-7x Aero… I’m sure there’s more I can think of. None of them were ever huge sellers.
    Also, The Edge already has a Sport model with 325HP. 
  5. Acura is starting with A spec and they are bringing back TypeS… They do have a RDX A Spec now so you could be right about this…

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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