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Ford Edge review: First drive

4
On the Edge of greatness?

The Good

  • Bold styling
  • Quiet, comfortable cabin
  • Enjoyable drive

The Bad

  • Less sophisticated than rivals
  • Could be too American for some

The Ford Edge is a rival to the numerous Germanic crossover SUVs on the market. Ben Griffin headed to Edinburgh to see if it has what it takes to compete.

If there was one thing missing from the current Ford line-up, it was one of those trendy mid-to-large crossovers that fuses sports utility vehicle practicality and a touch of extra ground clearance with handling more akin to a coupe.

And that's where the Ford Edge steps in. It has actually been on sale in America since 2007 but was recently updated. The new model uses the underlying platform of the S-Max, sits above the Kuga in the range and is the blue oval's bold and brash answer to the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Should you consider buying one considering ze Germans are rather capable and was it worth bringing to Europe? We headed to Edinburgh's scenic roads in search of our answer.

Ford Edge: Design

Weighing somewhere between 1,919 and 1,949kg, the Ford Edge is a bit of a beast. It is, in fact, longer than a Tiguan and offers more interior and boot space than its german rivals, which you would expect when the S-Max is a part of its DNA.

But unlike the S-Max, which is a family van with windows, the Edge has an off-roader look, with chunky roof bars, big wheels and a twin-exit exhaust system trying to trick you into thinking it's sporty and rugged in equal measure.

Admittedly, it does have a certain presence about it and while it is less sophisticated than a Tiguan or X3, there's something likable about its unashamedly brash front-end. It looks American enough that it earns attention – particularly in the £545 gold colour Ford calls 'Electric Spice' – without looking too out of place.

The Edge cares most about getting the driver, family, family quadruped and unnecessary levels of luggage and shopping to and from their destination and, if need be, via a slightly muddy road. To that end, it ticks all the boxes.

The interior has a few touches to elevate it from typical, including a faux carbon fibre strip above the glove box and seats that prove comfortable over a long drive. It feels roomy, which is a big plus and there are a fair few storage areas including a big glove box. Ford's navigation system could be better, but we got from A to B without too much issue.

Ford Edge: Practicality

Here the Ford Edge excels because it has a 602-litre boot, which becomes 1,788 litres with the rear seats folded. That makes it more suited than its rivals to the mother of all shopping trips or the partner who massively overpacks. Yet rear legroom is plentiful, with this writer's six-foot frame happily catered for.

Even with the panoramic roof in place, which eats a tad into the headroom, only those who tower above average will struggle with room for their appendages. Four adults are no issue and a fifth only has to contend with a slightly raised floor where the tranmission tunnel runs through the car and a bit less elbow space.

It must be said, the panoramic roof does mean no roof rack so bikes, roof stowage boxes and other objects will have to go in the boot or be left at home, which makes the Edge less useful. But with such a large boot, it's no deal-breaker.

Ford Edge: Performance & handling

Ford has kept things nice and simple with the Ford Edge, as there is just one 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCI diesel with two different power outputs available. The bi-turbo with 207bhp has a six-speed auto and the single-turbo variant comes in at 177bhp and 295lb/ft of torque at peak and gets a six-speed manual.

There's a slightly meaty feel to the manual that makes it both involving yet hassle-free to use. A combination of turbo lag and the sometimes hesitant gears can reveal a flat spot in acceleration but it's less noticeable in the auto. 

Adaptive steering features and it makes life easier when trying to turn the Edge around. Blasting along country roads, it offers a surprising level of steering feel.

There is a touch of body roll but not so much that it diminishes an otherwise competent and relaxed drive that becomes relatively fun when you push harder through the bends. It's by no means as taut as the X3, but then this is arguably more comfortable. 

On that note, the Active Noise Cancellation and good damping make for a quiet, smooth ride, even on 20-inch alloys and with the firmer sports suspension. For long cruises, the Ford Edge is faultless.

Neither engine will get the blood pumping when you put your foot down, but the extra poke of the
207bhp model instils more confidence when overtaking and gaining and maintaining speed requires less effort, especially when the two turbos kick in.

For what is a big vehicle, the Edge never feels cumbersome. It has a high driving position, but the handling is somehow coupe-esque. Its weight is only truly felt when you overcook a corner but then this is a car for transporting the family so how often will that happen?

The standard inclusion of four-wheel drive for both power outputs means traction is plentiful and adds to that feeling of dependability, although the Edge is more suited to concrete jungles than real ones (not that England has many) as the ground clearance is hardly generous and there are no off-road aids besides Hill-Start Assist.

Ford Edge: Economy & efficiency

The Ford Edge is a big car but the 177bhp variant can manage a claimed 48.7mpg, which is nothing to be sniffed at given its practicality and size. It is relatively cheap to tax, too, as CO2 emissions come in at 149g/km or 152g/km with the larger 20-inch alloy wheels.

Its German rivals claim higher fuel ecomomy, but put full faith in their claims at your peril. Yes VW, we are looking at you in particular.

Ford Edge: Equipment & value

Starting from £29,995, the Ford Edge continues the theme of value for money. It is well equipped, with Ford going as far as claiming the entry-level Edge Zetec is the best-specced Zetec to date.

A highlight of the standard equipment is Active Noise Cancelling, which does a great job of keeping road noise to a minimum, with the diesel noticeable only at higher revs.

19-inch alloys, Ford Sync 2 infotainment system, rear spoiler, automatic windscreen wipers, keyless start button, rear view camera, lane keeping aid and Active City Stop with Pedestrian Detection are also standard but not navigation -- that's £300 extra.

Mid-range Edge motoring comes in the form of Titanium, which adds nicer 19-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, hansfree power tailgate and keyfree system, acoustic glass for an even quieter ride, heated front sport seats and Ford's DAB navigation system.

Atop the range is the Sport and this gives you 20-inch black alloy wheels, unique front, rear and side sports bodystyling, sports suspension, 12-speaker sound system, adaptive steering, alloy pedals and black roof rails. A Vignale model will be offered in Q4, full specs of which will be released nearer the time.

The X3 comes in at £33,495 for the entry-level xDrive20d and higher fuel economies and navigation as standard. Meanwhile the Q5 is from £32,585, but you will need to spend from £34,200 for an equivalent power output.

A Tiguan is the closest in terms of price, especially as it has a seven-speed DSG Automatic in its 184PS guise for £30,150, but the cheaper entry-level 150PS model has two-wheel drive and a few of the extras you get in an Edge will increase the VW's price further.

The Sport is £36,000-odd, putting it dangerously close to the more premium offerings. Then again, the Zetec and Titanium are good enough for most.

Ford Edge: Safety

Weighing nearly two tonnes means it will probably be better off than a lot of cars in the event of an accident, but it also features a lane-keeping aid, rear view camera and automatic wipers and automatic headlights as standard.

For a little extra safety, Adaptive Cruise Control with Pre-Collision-Assist are £500 extra but are only available on the Titanium and Zetec models and it is the same story for Active Park Assist and the Blind Spot Information System (£150 and £500, respectively).

Ford Edge: Conclusion

While the Edge loses a couple of points to its German rivals for overall luxury and sportiness, it tackles family life with conviction and at a more affordable price point.

Versatility, practicality, passenger space and a high seating position are the hallmarks of a good crossover SUV and the Edge scores in all four areas. The fact it turns heads and is enjoyable to drive makes it worthy of consideration.

The Ford badge may be a turn off, of course, but some customers will no doubt want their pennies to go further in these uncertain times. Those that do and care little about making their neighbours envious will find there's something refreshingly blunt about it.

Key Specs

  • 2.0 Duratorq TDCI diesel
  • 177bhp / 204 bhp
  • 400Nm / 450Nm
  • 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds / 9.4 seconds
  • From 145g/km
  • 48.7mpg / 47.9mpg
  • From £29,995

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