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Driven: 2019 Ford Edge ST


For 2019, the Edge sports a fresh new face, with a more elegant and European flare. The most noticeable change is the upgraded grille shape with standalone headlights — no more Frowny McFrownface for this guy. The lines on the nose are now converging toward the grille, creating a pointier and slimmer front end.

Along with a good-looking new facia, Ford also took this opportunity to christen its very first performance SUV, the all-new Ford Edge ST. Why do we need performance SUVs, you might ask. The answer is: Why not?

Ford hasn’t invented the wheel: Look at the other SUVs currently offered on the market. Chances are that at least one of each brand is an AMG, an SVR, a GT, an M, an SRT or an RS somewhere. Utility vehicles might be all the rave at the moment, but that doesn’t mean everyone is willing to compromise on performance.

The Edge ST has big shoes to fill considering the standard Ford has established with its ST lineup with the Fiesta and Focus — both tremendously entertaining cars to drive, the Fiesta more so than the Focus.

Visually, the ST distinguishes itself from the rest of the lineup thanks to a number of features. The standard chrome-strip grille is replaced with a black mesh pattern and the sideview mirrors are clad in a body-matching cover. A pair of LED fog lamps is added to the front fender while the rear fender’s design leaves room for a set of trapezoidal exhaust tips. The entry-level 18-inch wheels are replaced by a set of 20-inch circles — or 21 inches if you pay a little extra.

Where the ST takes all its sense, however, is under the hood. The Edge ST replaces the model’s standard 2.0L EcoBoost by a 2.7-litre, V6 Ecoboost block rated at a respectable 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, intelligent all-wheel drive, and a specially tuned suspension. Sounds good right?

On paper at least, it does. In reality, not so much. While 335 hp is by no means anemic, there is significant turbo lag which makes the Edge ST feel slower than it has the potential to be. And the transmission does nothing to help the cause. I’m increasingly convinced that while the company has the ability to design good and precise manual gearboxes, its automatic transmissions tend to get in the way of what could be brilliant performances.

I’m not saying the Edge should be equipped with a manual transmission — I’ve made my peace with that. However, the ST seemingly uses the same eight-speeder as its four-cylinder counterpart with a few tweaks done to the gear ratios. I strongly believe Ford could have gone a bit further with this and made the box even more responsive to match the ST badge. I found that not even the sport mode was able to really liven things up enough. So that’s a bit of a letdown.

And I won’t mention the paddle shifters. Oh, what the heck, let’s. Once you go into sport mode, the Edge gives you control over your gear changes, using the paddles located at the steering wheel. It could have been a redeeming feature for the vehicle, if the gear changes weren’t. So. Painfully. Slow. I understand electronics cause delays, but this is something else. When it takes close to a second for the transmission to react, especially during acceleration, it creates an uncomfortable dynamic of the driver trying to figure the proper timing to change gears before the engine revolutions get to high.

Thankfully, not the entire driving experience was problematic. The sportier suspension improves the vehicles handling in the curves. Body roll isn’t entirely eliminated — the vehicle remains family-oriented — but it does make you want to take a few ambitious turns along the way. The ones that make kids laugh in delight.

The interior design is also a bit disappointing. Unlike the handsome exterior of the vehicle, the dashboard has seemingly remained unchanged since the introduction of the model’s second generation in 2015, and it shows. I was really hoping to see an update to match the exterior design of the vehicle — the cascading console with the two rows of tiny round controls lined up on each side with the massive volume knob at the centre is so, well, 2015. Ford has so many other exciting designs it can take inspiration from within its lineup, that’s a bit of a let down for me. I like a dashboard that’s pleasing to the eye and this one definitely shows its age.

That being said, if looks are not an issue for you, all the functionalities are there and otherwise user-friendly. Of course, this includes the SYNC3 infotainment system which remains one of the best systems currently on the market with the most efficient voice recognition software I’ve tried. The Edge has also built a reputation for being a competent family hauler so that hasn’t changed. Any seat in the vehicle is a comfortable one and cargo volume is generous and versatile. As the top-of-the-line, the ST benefits from all the luxuries your passengers may desire, including rear heated seats.

At Ford’s, entry-level performance is indicated by two letters: S and T. I say entry level because the Mustang cheats with its GT and the now-defunct Focus had the little blue rally monster RS). The real question, though, is whether the addition of the “ST” coming after the Edge is worth the $10,000 premium over the model’s base price? In my humble opinion, not really.

The 2019 Ford Edge is a well-rounded and good-looking vehicle that will likely check off most boxes on your list. That being said, unless you really like the blacked-out look, I’m sure 99 per cent of the potential customers out there would be perfectly happy going for a fully-loaded Titanium and skipping on the ST badge.

The specs

2019 Ford Edge ST

Engine: 2.7L, V6, 335 horsepower

Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

NRCan rating (Le/100km city/highway): 15.4 / 9.7

Length: 4,795 mm

Width: 2,179 mm

Wheelbase: 2,850 mm

Weight: 2,031kg

Price: $32,948 base, $50,881 as tested, including freight

Competition: Chevrolet Blazer RS

Standard equipment: single-zone manual air-conditioning, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, intelligent access with push-button start, lane-keeping system, power windows with one-touch-up/down driver/passenger window feature, urethane steering wheel with cruise, secondary audio and five-way controls, SYNC, SiriusXM radio, remote keyless entry system, securilock passive anti-theft system, intelligent all-wheel drive, post-collision braking, auto start-stop technology, hill start assist, torque vectoring control


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