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Driven: Ford Edge ST-Line. Image by Ford.

Driven: Ford Edge ST-Line
Ford takes aim at the German premium SUV elite with the US-derived Edge, here in sporty ST-Line guise.

 



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Ford Edge

4 4 4 4 4

Good points: Nice appearance, classy cabin, lots of metal for your money, refined demeanour

Not so good: It doesn't quite feel like a genuine rival for an X3, Q5, GLC or similar; chassis not Ford's best

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Edge ST-Line 2.0 TDCi PowerShift AWD
Price: Edge starts from 35,195; ST-Line 2.0 TDCi from 39,695, car as tested 45,240
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, six-speed PowerShift twin-clutch automatic
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 152g/km (500 VED first 12 months, then 450 per annum next five years, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 47.9mpg
Top speed: 131mph
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Power: 210hp at 3,750rpm
Torque: 450Nm at 2,000- to 2,250rpm

Our view:

If you're a mainstream motoring brand that's tilting at the premium marques, it's probably not the best idea to take an American vehicle and then attempt to make it stand up to German, Swedish, British, Italian and Japanese opposition in the quality stakes. No offence to US cars, but if we're being critically honest, it has been a long time since something from the other side of The Pond has been considered to have a cabin which leaves established luxury European or Asian brands in the shade. Probably the last time that happened, the Yank metal would have been wearing tailfins and early rock'n'roll would've been blasting from the on-board AM radio.

However, using American metal to forge into a new area of the market is precisely what Ford has done with its largest SUV, the Edge. Drafting in the second-generation model from the States in 2016, Ford's idea with this large machine is to tempt people out of anything in the Audi Q5, BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC class by offering a bit more interior room for a comparative price. Hence why the Edge starts the wrong side of 35,000 here in the UK, and our test ST-Line PowerShift example weighed in at a monster 45,240 with a few choice options.

Is it worth considering, though, over and above the bona fide premium competition, or does the Ford feel like a cut-price interloper from the class below? Well, it's a little bit of both. For starters, the interior is lovely. No, genuinely; there are two fantastic part-digital dials in the instrument cluster, the wheel's a great size and shape and it feels good in your hands, there's attractive dashboard architecture with some classy fillets of trim, and the seats are excellent and comfy. About the only minor gripe is the too-big expanse of smooth, grey plastic that surrounds the main volume control for the Sony infotainment; it's mounted near the bottom of the centre stack and it looks needlessly sparse.

Apart from that, the fit and finish of the Edge is superb. But what we've not touched upon is the sheer space on board. This machine is colossal. There's a giveaway when you're standing next to it, of course, where it has the sort of presence that the original BMW X5 used to boast. But once inside there's more than enough space for five large people to get themselves on board, while the boot is a 600-litre whopper with all chairs in place, rising to 1,847 litres with the rear seats down. Practicality for family car use is extremely impressive, then.

We like the way the Edge looks outside too, especially in sportier ST-Line trim, but even so it's not the most stand-out machine in the class. The best, most distinguishing feature (certainly at night) is the full-width light signature at the rear of the car, yet you might also notice the oddly uncomfortable rake of the rear windscreen or the fact that even a set of 20-inch Platinum Grey alloys look lost in the Ford's arches. It's handsome, no doubt about it, but not stunning or highly attractive, in the manner of an Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

However, it drives really well for most daily usage. The more potent of two turbodiesel four-cylinder engines offered here, in this case possessing 210hp and 450Nm, makes light work of the Edge's 1,949kg bulk and it feels decently rapid for both step-off and roll-on acceleration. We like the PowerShift gearbox also, as it's smooth of shift and quick to react to sudden throttle inputs. As to the Ford's intelligent four-wheel drive system, we're sure it will make a tractive difference in slimier conditions, but in the dry, there's little beneficial feel to it. What we will say is that it didn't seem to harm economy. The Edge ST-Line returned a decent 34mpg over 266 miles during a week in its company, achieving more like 40mpg on the M1.

A strong refinement game also blesses the Ford with plenty to recommend, but the one area where it feels a bit tame is in the handling department. It's above average - body control is fine, the steering is pleasant enough and there's plenty of mechanical grip - but it'll never entertain you like a BMW X3 or Porsche Macan would. Naturally, to even be mentioning a new-model (for Europe) SUV from Ford in the same breath as those two is something of a coup for the Blue Oval, but if you're going to stand comparison with the best, you've got to genuinely match them, rather than relying on a bit of punter goodwill to look past deficiencies.

And, overall, that's our pervading feeling on the Ford Edge. It's an excellent machine in many ways and judging by the numbers of them we see out and about on the roads, the motoring public seems to be buying into the idea that an Audi Q5 is not the be-all and end-all any more. However, the Edge doesn't quite feel up to the same standards as the class elite here. There are sharper SUVs to drive than the Ford and there are also ones that will feel more luxurious, more rewarding to own and more exceptional for cabin finishing, too.

If the Ford was a few thousand pounds cheaper than some of these rivals, there would be a classic case to be made for going American, which is: you get a whole lotta supersized metal for notta lotta bucks. But when it's 45,000 as tested - and when you check what sort of Volvo XC60 you'd get for such cash - the Edge suddenly looks a whole lot less convincing. Therefore, while the Ford is a very good entry to this class, it's not performing the right sort of bargain gig to tempt people out of the Audis, BMW, Mercs et al in the way that something like a Skoda Kodiaq does. All of which means the Edge feels like something of a missed opportunity, regrettably.

Alternatives:

Jaguar F-Pace: If Ford is to challenge the German triumvirate, it must beat the other premium rivals. The Jag has nicer, more European looks and a superb chassis, although it's not cheap in desirable trim.

Lexus NX: Lexus offers just one hybrid powertrain for the latest, facelifted version of its NX and it's not the greatest engine/transmission combo. Striking looks on the NX, though.

Volvo XC60: This must stick in Ford's craw - since breaking free of the Blue Oval's ownership, Volvo has gone from strength to strength, and the XC60 comfortably has the edge on the Edge in most regards.


Matt Robinson - 10 Oct 2017









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2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.

2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Edge ST-Line driven. Image by Ford.








 

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