Last year, Ford announced a plan to discontinue all of its car models except for the Mustang. The company said the plan would allow it to focus (no pun intended) on its more successful sport utility and crossover models.
It will also mean the loss of sporty ST versions of Ford’s small Fiesta and Focus models and the Fusion Sport. This trio of cars combined speed with family-car practicality. Very soon, if you want a fast Ford with four doors, the new-for-2019 Edge ST performance crossover will be the least-expensive way to get one.
The concept of a fast Ford Edge is not new. The ST is an evolution of the Sport model sold from 2015–2018 that used a less-powerful version of the same engine.
Ford’s 2.7L turbo V6 boasts 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque in the Edge ST. That’s 20 hp and 30 lb-ft more than last year’s Edge Sport. Ford tuned the ST’s suspension for a more aggressive handling than the Sport, and the engine and transmission get a new sport drive mode.
Acceleration is impressive, whether you use the Edge ST SUV’s sport mode or not. That setting commands the transmission to stay in lower gears for better responsiveness and tells the AWD system to send more power to the rear wheels. It also plays artificial engine sounds through the stereo speakers to amplify the sensation of speed without annoying the neighbours.
Rotary transmission shifter:
Like most of today’s automatics, you can control the Edge ST’s transmission manually. However, Ford’s rotary gear selector means the only way to do that is with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. With the wheel pointed straight, the left paddle shifts down and the right-side one is for upshifts. If you want to shift in the middle of a turn, the paddle you want might be on the opposite side from its usual spot. For that reason, a traditional gear lever would be easier to use for manual shifting in enthusiastic driving.
The Edge ST is fun to push through fast corners, its suspension tuned to a balance between performance and everyday driveability. What bothered us most was the firm ride and tall seating position that make rough roads more uncomfortable than in a lower-riding sporty car.
Ford estimates the Edge ST’s fuel economy at 12.6/9.2 L/100 km (city/highway). In our experience, it’s difficult to match Ford’s ratings for its turbocharged engines in the real world. Our test vehicle averaged 13.9 L/100 km in a mix of city and highway driving.
The Ford Edge ST has bolstered front seats that are good at holding the driver in place in aggressive cornering. They’re uncomfortable for people with wider hips that don’t fit between the bolsters.
Quality and feel:
Most of the interior materials look and feel good for the Edge’s lower-priced models. However the mostly black dash looks plain for a vehicle approaching $50,000. Silver accents on the console and doors help.
Like all Ford Edge models, the ST has a roomy back seat and large cargo area. An optional panoramic sunroof takes up a lot of headroom and makes the front seats feel less spacious than we expected.
Pricing, standard features and options
Ford prices the Edge to start at about $35,000. By the time you reach ST trim, that price swells to nearly $48,000. That includes those nicely-bolstered heated front seats with 10-way power adjustments and leather and suede upholstery.
It pays to remember you’re paying for the Edge ST’s performance. Because, as mentioned above, the interior finishes are otherwise very similar to those in less-expensive Edge trims. Also, making Canadian customers pay extra for a heated steering wheel is a cheap move by Ford at this price point.
Ford includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable steering wheel and passive keyless entry. Safety items like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and backup sensors are also standard.
Our test car had a $5,800 option package that added the sunroof, heated rear seats, a hands-free tailgate, front parking camera, ventilated front seats, navigation and an auto-dimming driver’s side mirror.
That package also turns the Edge into a semi-autonomous vehicle. The adaptive cruise control system can stop and go automatically in heavy traffic and help keep the car centred in your lane. If parking makes you nervous, the Edge will do that for you too.
The concept of speedy SUVs is not fresh. BMW makes M versions of its X5 and X6 models with more than 560 hp. The BMW X3 M40i also boasts performance tweaks without the crazy power and six-figure price. Mercedes-Benz offers a similar selection of performance SUVs wearing its desirable AMG badge.
Those German models easily capitalize on the easy recognition of their M and AMG badges, but Ford’s ST label is not as widely known in Canada. Considering a BMW X3 M40i is only a few thousand dollars more than the Edge ST we tested, we think Ford is getting out of its comfort zone here.
We know there’s a market for powerful SUVs and crossovers. We don’t think applying a badge formerly reserved for sporty cars is the right way to promote them.
2019 Ford Edge ST
- Vehicle category: Mid-size SUV/crossover
- Engine: 2.7L V6, turbocharged; 335 hp, 380 lb-ft torque
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Notable standard features (base model; MSRP: $49,199):Auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable steering wheel, passive keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, backup sensors.
- Notable options (401A package, as tested; MSRP: $54,389): Panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, hands-free tailgate, front parking camera, ventilated front seats, navigation, auto-dimming driver’s side mirror.
- Fuel economy, ratings (l/100km, city/highway): 12.6/9.2