I think it's fair to be skeptical of the Ford Edge ST. After all, the ST badge has previously been reserved for hot hatches, one of which, the Fiesta ST, is one of the all-time greats. How could a crossover ever live up to this name?
Jamal Hameedi thinks the Edge ST will live up to the expectations for the badge. As the head engineer for Ford Performance, he's responsible for the Edge ST, and the guy behind some of our favorite cars—the GT, the Shelby GT350, the Focus RS, the F-150 Raptor, and yes, the Fiesta ST. At the Detroit Auto Show, he made his case for the Edge ST in a interview.
"The Edge is fully an ST," Hameedi told us. "It doesn't skimp anywhere. Its transmission calibration is unique, the engine, the suspension, the aero, the cooling, the brakes, the tires are all unique."
Hameedi doesn't expect any owners to take an Edge ST to the track, but he says it passes all of Ford Performance's track durability requirements. Because it passes these requirements, Hameedi says that it can handle a challenging mountain road, and it'd even be fun. He's confident it's even better than the best high-performance SUVs out there.
"We rented basically every performance SUV available and went on a long drive with them," Hameedi said. "Honestly, most of them aren't in balance. Many of them are very overpowered, where the chassis is unable to keep up with the power, or under-braked. They were fast vehicles, but they weren't very confidence inspiring.
"There was one vehicle in the mix, it wasn't the most powerful, but it was very well executed. All of the attributes were in balance, if you will, and it was the only one out of ten that you actually had fun driving it on a twisty challenging road. For me personally, that was the sign that said, 'Yeah. We can do this.'"
Hameedi wouldn't tell us which SUV impressed him so much, but perhaps it doesn't matter. He has the right idea of what makes a car fun.
"We're losing track of what a person truly buys a streetable performance car form," Hameedi said. "It's to have fun every day. That's not always doing quarter-miles and lap times. There's a lot of enjoyment to be gained that you can't quantify with just numbers."
That's what we like to hear from engineers. Performance metrics are impressive, but that more intangible quality of feel is what makes a car worth driving. And given that, Ford Performance's continuous string of hits, there's good reason to believe that the Edge will make a great ST. Even if it is an SUV.