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First drive: Ford Edge 2019MY. Image by Ford.

First drive: Ford Edge 2019MY
Ford piles on the tech to help the Edge challenge the premium elite - but has its ploy worked?

 



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Ford Edge 2019MY

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Ford says its revised-for-the-2019MY Edge is its most 'technologically advanced' SUV yet, but is a comprehensive suite of safety-assist systems really enough to justify the model's robust entry price or capable of making you ignore a whole host of super-talented rivals?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Ford Edge ST-Line 238 EcoBlue AWD
Pricing: Edge from 36,995; ST-Line from 42,995
Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed Quickshift auto
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 187g/km (VED Band 171-190: 830 first 12 months, then 450 per annum years two to six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 39.2mpg
Top speed: 134mph
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Power: 238hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 2,000rpm
Boot space: 602-1,847 litres

What's this?

Ford's big Edge SUV, given the usual midlife makeover to make fresh and influence people. Problem is, the Edge has always kind of confused us: it's a five-seat SUV with no option for seven chairs, despite its size; and yet it's priced on a par with the sort of 'cream of the crop' Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volvo prestige rivals that people crave to park on their driveways. Can a Ford really cut it in such company?

If all this sounds slightly disparaging, allow us to draw your attention to the fact we've driven a 'Fedge' fairly recently and really rather liked it. However, since that last test, the Edge has been revised for the 2019 model year and it's time to see how it has changed as a result. Visually, you'll notice the now-all-LED headlight clusters have been separated from the trapezoidal radiator grille, featuring (as they do) daytime running lamps that look suspiciously like Vauxhall's DRL signatures. The lower front bumper and airdam arrangement is also new, to complement the changes higher up the Edge's nose, but around the back there's an alteration which disappoints us - as the Ford SUV has lost its full-width rear light strip, in favour of dull, separate clusters. That's an idiosyncrasy washed away down the plughole, now isn't it?

Any other exterior updates amount to four new paint colours and five designs of alloy wheel, ranging from 18- to 21-inch items across the line-up, so inside the cabin we go, to find that the automatic models' lever-shift arrangement has been replaced by a rotary dial. This means there's now a large cubby underneath the central console and ahead of the gear selector which can house a Qi wireless smartphone charging pad. Elsewhere, the formerly part-analogue instrument cluster has gone 'full digital' on us, while a load of extra safety-assist technology - such as Active Cruise Control which now features a Stop&Go function, plus Evasive Steering Assist, Lane Centring, Post-Collision Braking and Cross-Traffic Alert - is either standard-fit or on the options list.

In essence, though, this remains a very large, American-sourced, five-seater SUV. There is no option for seven pews at all, not even a pair of occasional jump-seats in the boot for the smallest of children. Ford is therefore hoping that what you value more than anything is space, and tonnes of it - with a 602-litre boot and what looks like genuine seating for a quintet of adults (the centre-rear seat isn't horrendously misshapen and there's plenty of foot room, thanks to an unobtrusive transmission tunnel that houses the driveshaft), the Edge is as commodious as they come. It certainly feels like something from the Land of the Free when you're sitting in it, because the cabin is quite simply vast, if not finished to quite the exacting standards of the Teutonic/Scandi elite; while it's generally very pleasant and solid to the touch, some plastics remain that leave a bit to be desired, for sure.

As before the 2019MY facelift, propulsion for the updated Edge comes exclusively from 2.0-litre turbodiesel powerplants - perhaps a risky move in the anti-diesel era, but there we are. The single-turbo and twin-turbo models that previously had 180- and 210hp have been boosted to 190- and 238hp, and it's still a case that the lesser of these is matched to a six-speed manual, while the flagship gets an automatic gearbox - however, this is now an eight-speed Quickshift item, rather than the older six-speed unit that saw service prior to this point. Both of these two engines are coupled to Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, Ford's smart 4WD system which disconnects the rear axle when it's not required (which is the vast majority of the time, conditions permitting) to save fuel. But there's now a front-wheel-drive option in the Edge family, as a 150hp derivative of the single-turbo four-pot has been added to the range, with drive going to the leading axle alone through the eight-speed auto. Trim lines, as before, still run Titanium, ST-Line and then hyper-luxe Vignale, with the starting figures for each being (deep breath, now...) 36,995, 42,995 and then 45,995. Strong, strong money, all...

How does it drive?

Sweetly and in a highly composed fashion, if not in a manner that has you marvelling at a minor engineering miracle pulled off by Ford. First of all, the 238hp engine has a monster 500Nm of torque to play with and it's driving all four wheels via the vastly-improved automatic. Yet the performance never feels that impressive, which couples with the so-so on-paper stats. It's not that the Edge with the big engine is slow, by any means, but it also doesn't feel quite as punchy as some of the 190hp/400Nm opposition with single-turbo diesel units. That's probably because it weighs a whopping 2,116kg, so equipped with the twin-turbo motor.

The handling is also OK and nowhere near up there with Ford's finest efforts (of which there have been many - the original Kuga being a fine example that proves the Blue Oval can make crossovers/SUVs drive well), although we will at least admit that - on this occasion - we hardly threw the Edge around on the fringes of mechanical grip as we were driving it in the balmy -18 degrees C climate of central Sweden during late November. But we know from previous drives of the Edge that it's a bit buttoned-down on the handling front and there's nothing with the facelifted model to suggest that has changed. There's neat balance, there's good but not exceptional steering and there's a level of body control that's admirable. Its considerable mass once more does nothing to help here.

Nevertheless, the Edge earns its spurs on the basis of its refinement. The turbodiesel engine, the slick-acting Intelligent AWD, the silken eight-speed transmission and some of the best ride quality in the class make it a lovely thing to just cruise along in. Bearing in mind the earlier revelation about the launch being held in the freezing midriff of Sweden, all the test cars were on studded tyres and yet, even on the rare bits of exposed tarmac that peeped out from under snow and ice, the passage of the Ford's wheels along the road surface hardly ever intruded into the cabin. Wind noise is minimal and the 238hp motor is near-silent until about midway round the rev counter, so coupled with its ease-of-use and ergonomic correctness, we can imagine plenty of people test-driving the Edge and loving it on the basis of its tranquillity alone.

Verdict

Assuming you've gone into a Ford dealership or visited the company's UK website to have a play with the configurator in the first place, then presumably you're not bothered about the huge expense of the Edge SUV nor its lack of a seven-seat option. Thus, what you'll find is a handsome, spacious and cultured big vehicle that's packed full of worthwhile kit. However, our problem here is that you'll find much the same thing in the dealerships of Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo as well, and that's a formidable roll call of premium badges that the Ford has to overcome/rub shoulders with.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 3 Dec 2018









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