Ford could soon join BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, and other contemporaries with its own line of RS-badged performance SUVs, according to a statement by Ford Performance chief Dave Pericak, reports Carscoops.
“I think customers love performance. I think the definition of what that means for an SUV might be different than what it means for a Focus or for a Fiesta,” said Pericak.
“But I think that we’ve seen, even in the US and globally, that people like aggressive-looking cars, they like sporty, they want the power and pick-up and engine improvement, so I think the answer is yes. SUV customers would appreciate performance, for sure.”
If Ford does come to the table with its own performance SUV lineup, expect it to bring the fight to current competitors in terms of outright dynamism and lap times. In Pericak’s opinion, there aren’t many performance SUVs currently on sale that would be worthy of RS badging.
“If you look at the SUV market right now, there aren’t too many credible performance SUVs out there. There are people who have made partial attempts at it and there are different things that have happened, but there are no real credible ones. So, I think that’s an area of some opportunity, for sure,” he said.
For the moment, the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive police-package Explorer is the closest thing to a performance SUV that Ford offers, but it’s only available for government agencies to purchase.
Should Ford pull the trigger on an RS SUV, expect it to feature torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive, turbocharged V6 power – likely borrowing from the brand’s Raptor pickup – and a smattering of lightweight materials including carbon composites, aluminum, and high-strength steel to lighten the load and enhance dynamics.
The Escape and Explorer are the most likely models to get the RS treatment based on size and curb weight.
Pericak did not hint at any timelines, but if we had to venture a guess, we’d say an RS-badged SUV could launch at the NAIAS this side of 2020—and we hope it does.