We’ll miss the Focus and Fiesta ST dearly, but we’re on board if the Edge ST is a sign of things to come
Words by: Adam Allen
Bye-bye cars, hello SUVs.
Months ago Ford dropped the bombshell that sedans and hatchbacks would be relegated to their sprawling onsite museum in Dearborn so they could focus (pun intended) on building juicy profit centres- er, SUVs and crossovers. While it came as a shock that that company who essentially invented the sedan with the Model T would be abandoning that market in favor of high riding family haulers, the numbers don’t lie- the people have spoken, and they don’t want these kinds of cars anymore. Somewhere along the highway of automotive continuum, the rustic advertisements of SUVs negotiating gnarly terrain, effortlessly punching through meters deep snow drifts and happily schlepping families all over the country started to penetrate the consciousness of the buying public in earnest. Although they may have forgotten that sedans generally drive better, look better, are more efficient and in some cases are able to hold more stuff they became fixated on putting their very own Canyonero in the driveway.
It’ll be kind of weird cruising the strip in a hiked up Mustang, unable to perform a burnout because of AWD.
The legendary pony was spared the culling mandated by Ford’s product planners and will (wisely) live on indefinitely. As iconic as a Fusion might be, the Mustang has more history and is still the most liked car on Facebook, and so it will continue to produce clouds of burnt rubber at your local Cars and Coffee meets. Things might get weird as the company makes its transition- there’s a Mustang Mach E electric coupe/SUV/hybrid thing currently in development, so it’s really anyone’s guess as to how this story will continue to be written.
Aren’t we talking about the Edge ST today?
Ah, yes! We recently invited the hot road Edge for a visit to the Carpages Garage because after Ford shocked the world with its recent announcement it has suddenly become a special car, a de facto pioneer of sorts. With its ST badge- the first for an SUV in the company’s history- it is the first of hopefully many models to follow suit. We decided to see if the future was looking bright or ominous for Ford Performance and so we booked a week with the forerunner (no, not that 4Runner) you see before you.
I’m going save a bunch of cash while giving my neighbor’s Macan Turbo the fright of its life.
While you will save a bucket load of cash purchasing an Edge ST instead of Porsche’s top-rung entry level SUV, you won’t be telling the assembled onlookers at the pub about how you spanked the German so badly around a track that the leather wrapped air-con vents fell out. That’s because while noticeably muscular, the Edge’s 2.7 litre turbocharged V6 makes less power (although almost as much torque with a deficit of just 26 lbs./ft) in a decidedly less dramatic fashion. Whereas the Porsche makes more noise and has a penchant for chasing the redline, t he Ecoboost is quieter and lazier. We don’t mean that in a bad way, it simply doesn’t see the need to spin the tachometer meaningfully to make power. Where it lacks in dramatics it makes up for in refinement- the 2.7 is genuinely a sweetheart of an engine and we can see how it has endeared itself to so many F150 drivers. The fact is, that while this is undeniably a performance SUV, it doesn’t register on the high end of the Scoville scale for heat. Still, as a first effort- and one that must appeal to a much broader audience than a conveyance like the aforementioned Macan- we applaud Ford’s decision to show some restraint because the day-to-day usability of the Edge ST is firmly intact. You can use it just about any time for anything.
Should we expect wholesale changes inside to compliment the upgraded oily bits?
The theme of restraint has carried over once you settle into the ST’s interior. For starters, the death grip Recaros found in the Fiesta and Focus ST models are not available- Ford wisely left those off the menu for this application. Instead, you get very comfortable and generously supportive bucket seats that are both heated and cooled, the latter we were very thankful for during a recent heatwave. There’s plenty of room for all occupants and their stuff, thanks to an appreciably roomy cargo hold. SYNC3 infotainment still controls all infotainment functions, although you can catch it stumbling on occasion when changing a radio station followed by an adjustment to the climate control system. The big story where our tester was concerned was the 401A Equipment Group, a package that will set you back $5,800 dollars. While that sounds like a lot of dough for a option package, it’s worth it; you get adaptive cruise and a plethora of other driver assistance tech, wireless charging, a huge panoramic roof and much more.
How would you describe the driving experience?
Remember how we said that Ford didn’t go overboard in fitting the Edge with too much sporty kit? If you never pushed your Edge ST anything beyond mundane point-to-point driving, it would behave just like any of its lesser brethren. Throw it into a corner and it offers decent grip, thanks in part to the optional 21” black wheels ($950). Creditshould also go to those who tuned the suspension, because they managed to keep the Edge’s family friendly ride quality fully intact while allowing for cornering limits higher than you would expect of a vehicle meant to perform a slew of domestic duties. The real star of the show here is Ford’s excellent 2.7 litre turbocharged V6 that we talked about earlier. It initially appears unremarkable until you look down at the speedometer and are shocked to find you’re moving along at a very brisk pace.
What might go wrong?
We enjoyed driving the Edge ST quite a bit, however there is a fly in the ointment- a surprising one- and that is the behavior of the 8-speed automatic. We say surprising because Ford usually builds excellent gearboxes in-house which makes some of the low speed behavior of the Edge’s automatic even more puzzling. This is an issue that very seldomly becomes apparent, but we did make note of some uncouth lurching and hesitation. The same can be said of SYNC3’s interface- it’s still highly intuitive but starting to feeling its age. Actually, the whole dashboard cluster is starting to look a little dated. The last complaint we have is sure to garner a few eye rolls, and we’ve never shied away from our propensity for pedantry, but those trapezoidal exhaust outlets- they just don’t do it for us. A couple of oversized round exhaust finishers on either side would do much to help with the rear end styling, at least to our eyes.
Should I buy an Edge ST?
Early adopters, take note: if being the first to the party is your thing, pick up an Edge ST simply for the bragging rights of owning the very first Ford Performance SUV. If you’re shopping criteria takes a more pragmatic approach and you’re looking for a capable midsize SUV for family duty, the Edge ST should remain on your shopping list. Why not have a little fun between errands and picking up the little ones? We’ve yet to encounter anyone who, enthusiast or otherwise, does not like the rewarding feeling of stepping on the gas and parlaying that into satisfying acceleration. Those who relish that feeling but don’t want to regret buying something that’s too sporty, the Edge ST will serve you well.
2019 Ford Edge ST -Specifications
- Price as tested: $57,739
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger SUV
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Engine: 2.7 litre turbocharged V6, 24 valves, DOHC
- Horsepower: 335 @ 5,550 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 380 @ 3,250 rpm
- Curb weight: 2,085 kg (4,597 lbs)
- Observed Fuel Consumption: 13.2L/100km (18 mpg)