From the concept to the end product, the Edge is a new thing. It’s a large SUV, based on Mondeo undergarments but with four-wheel drive, powerful engines, and a new, premium shtick with which the American company wants to poke the German luxury brands.
It’s part of the OneFord programme so it’s built in North America and exported all over the globe with minor changes to suit different markets. If you’re thinking it looks a bit ‘Murican in the pictures, you’re not alone. But the blocky styling, and slightly in-your-face dark wheels and detailing of the range-topping Sport model sing a pretty good tune in the metal. Its basic shape remains squat and strong, but its appearance overall seems sleeker and more athletic. The Titanium model is a bit more reserved; a bit more middle-of-the-road. It’s improbably wide, though, with a high and highly-shaped bonnet, so it looks even bigger than it actually is.
While the build and materials quality is for the most part a big step up for Ford, it’s competing with S-line Audi Q5s and mid-grade BMW X3s. Even the entry-level Jaguar F-Pace is a rival. Next to those badges, the Blue Oval can’t really compete.
Where the Edge scored points is for its clever design. There are bag hooks in the boot, a spare wheel, a cabin wide enough for three kids to sit side-by-side on bean bags and enough clever storage spaces to make it a nightmare for customs officials at border crossings.
As a trade-off the Sport feels more planted in corners, and has the more supportive seats for the job.
The amount of empty air around the front seats is amazing. Even the current Mr Universe wouldn’t have shoulders broad enough to fill the width.
The SE, SEL and Titanium models get a 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder, and in addition to powering the standard front-wheel drive models, the mighty powerplant is also offered with all-wheel drive. Optional on the SEL and Titanium is a carryover 3.5-litre V6 but the top-line Sport models come with the most potent offering; the new, 315 horsepower 2.7-litre EcoBoost turbocharged V6 and AWD. All models use Ford’s six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-litre has good low-down punch and that twin-clutch automatic helps make the most of it only kicking down when your throttle pedal inputs clearly ask for it. Ford’s soundproofing and standard-fit Active Noise Control suppress wind and road noise like you wouldn’t believe. The quiet at motorway speeds (and beyond) is uncanny.
The Sport’s variable-ratio steering is frustrating, as is every other system like it. Approach the same corner at different speeds and you’ll need two entirely different steering inputs to negotiate it. The standard set-up is slower to turn the car but feels more consistent, despite a strong urge to self-centre. Neither transmits any meaningful road feel.
Sport models have a harder suspension system that permits less body roll but rides with a jiggly edge on its 20in wheels that’s missing from the Titanium and its 19s. As a trade-off the Sport feels more planted in corners, and has the more supportive seats for the job.
The model to go for is the Titanium with the Lux pack, the more powerful engine and the automatic gearbox, although to create it you also need to add the full-fat and rather bass-heavy Sony stereo system. Add LED headlights, a forward-facing camera to aid in parking, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision and lane-keeping warning systems, and a panoramic roof — but that isn’t available in our region yet so your best bet would be the SE.
Clearly a Ford enthusiast, of which there are many, will look at the Edge as a proper family car. And it is. It’s America-big, and the amount of space and practicality is incredible. If the German options just don’t light your candle, the Edge offers a new choice.