What Does the Edge’s ST Badge Mean & What Should Ford ‘ST’ Next?
Ford unveiled its first ST-badged SUV, but what does it all mean to the future of Blue Oval vehicles?
Earlier this week, the Blue Oval revealed the 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST. Gone is the Sport version, and in its place is something wearing a badge of Ford Performance. The ST moniker is more than just a stuck-on piece of plastic; it’s a sign that the vehicle is a high-performance hoot. The Internet was concerned.
One of the commenters on our Ford Trucks Enthusiast Facebook page said that the car is “useless” and will be “axed after 2021.” People I follow on Twitter think it’s diluting the brand. Others are complaining that the Fiesta ST — a properly fun car — is being replaced for something like this.
Before we all jump to conclusions about a car that has only been seen in person by a few journalists, including myself, let’s look at what makes an ST an ST.
What makes an ST an ST?
In order to have an ST badge, an RS badge, or any other badge from the Ford Performance division, the car must have some things special to it. For starters, the car is developed with folks from the Ford Performance engineering team.
Think a Raptor is just an F-150 with some better shocks and tires? Think again. The engineering “secret sauce” from the Ford Performance team is what makes the Raptor so special, and it’s nearly impossible to duplicate in the aftermarket to the same extent.
The same applies here: People at Ford whose only job is to make cars go fast around tracks got their grubby paws on this Edge. They might just know what they’re doing.
What should Ford ‘ST’ next? Hop up the 3.5L EcoBoost in the Expedition & hand it over to Ford Performance to sort out? Remove the third-row for weight savings?
Then, the cars are subjected to testing. There are internal performance metrics for acceleration, handling, braking and more that must be met to wear the ST badge, which is something I know from many different conversations with people from the Ford Performance team.
The only thing I don’t know is exactly what those metrics are, so I reached out to the folks at Ford Performance for clarification. “That is something internal that the engineers of Ford Performance have and do not share the specifics of,” was the response. However, it’s not too surprising that they are careful not to give away any trade secrets. So, while we know there are internal performance metrics that must be met, we just don’t know what they are.
Is the Edge ST any good?
I don’t know. The Edge Sport is a competent car, but it didn’t get me excited the way a Fiesta ST does. But I’m optimistic. I’m already a fan of the 2.7L EcoBoost engine, so a lot of it will depend on suspension tuning and responsiveness from the automatic transmission.
This Edge does have an option for bigger brakes. That counts for something, right?
What should Ford ‘ST’ next?
Assuming the Edge ST turns out to be pretty good, it’s likely that Ford will expand the ST lineup in their SUVs and crossovers. While sedans and small cars aren’t selling particularly well in the United States, there’s opportunity for growth and margin in SUVs.
So, that poses the question: What should Ford “ST” next? Should they hop up the 3.5L EcoBoost in the Expedition and hand it over to some Ford Performance engineers to sort it all out? Maybe remove the third-row for weight savings?
While Ford hasn’t officially killed the Flex, I’m worried it won’t be around long enough to get an ST version, but I think it would be awesome.
Let us know which vehicle you’d like to see ST-ified and we’ll share the results with you in a future column!