Anyone who has ever been to America will have seen that Ford has a vast range of vehicles in comparison to the ones we can buy here in the UK. And time and time again the question has been asked as to why more models aren’t sold here. Well, in addition to the Mustang, Ford has also brought the Edge to Europe. Whilst in the USA this looks like a mid-size SUV, it’s actually rather large by our standards. But because it has been engineered for European markets, it shouldn’t feel like a big American car. So I grabbed one for a week, and was rather excited to get behind the wheel.
Looks – 7/10
Say what you like about American cars, but there’s no denying that they have a certain presence about them. The Edge is big, bold and a bit boxy. The edges (pardon the pun) are sufficiently round that the car really pulls off this look. On the ST-Line you get black 20-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, black grille, black roof rails and a sports bodykit which really adds an urban flair to the styling. It really looks great in the shop window, especially if you select one of the premium colours like Ruby Red (my favourite). The halogen headlamps included as standard was a little disappointing, although Adaptive LED headlights are available as an optional extra.
The interior of the Edge ST-Line is a little hot and cold. The leather/suede sports seats are a great centrepiece to the cabin. The 8-inch SYNC touchscreen sits nicely in the dashboard. The instrument cluster is mostly digital, and can display a whole host of information. It’s a nice focal point for the driver. But step back from these details and the interior on the whole is a little underwhelming. It’s a little dark, crying out for some brushed aluminium to break up the black. The plastics are a little cheap-looking, and just lacks a luxury feel. For a car that costs almost £40,000 that’s a big disappointment. Rivals have a much higher standard of finish, putting the Edge on the back foot.
Handling/Performance – 3/10
There are only two engines available in the Edge; a pair of 2.0-litre diesel units. The less powerful one, as featured in my test car, offers 180PS and 400Nm of torque. The other is 210
PS and 450Nm. And if I’m truthful I don’t think either is really suitable in a car that weighs as much as the moon. The AWD, 6-speed manual car does 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and will reach a top speed of 124mph. Ford pitch the Edge as a ‘Luxury SUV’, and I think it should have a smooth, powerful engine. You really have to work the gearbox to feel like you’re making any sort of progress, and that just doesn’t feel luxurious. The 210PS version is a 6-speed PowerShift automatic, and I dare say it must be better than the manual. But even then I’m not convinced it would give the Edge the drive it deserves. Put it this way, in the US the Edge is available with a 2.7-litre V6 petrol engine with 315PS. Now that’s more like it!
On the plus side the lack of power, combined with AWD capability, means that the Edge will never slip a wheel. You can give it full welly whatever the weather, and I don’t doubt that it would continue to perform in the 2-3inches of snow we get each year. The Adaptive Steering is good, giving a direct feel, and the 6-speed manual is actually pretty slick. But you can’t really call the Edge nimble, or agile. It just feels too big on anything other than a motorway. On top of that, the suspension is too firm. After a while you really start to feel the bumps, and that becomes uncomfortable as well as annoting. The 20-inch alloy wheels probably don’t help matters either.
Economy – 4/10
Now one would expect that with a 2.0-litre diesel engine, start/stop technology and a 6-speed gearbox the Edge should be rather economical, yes? No. The AWD system and moon-rivalling kerb weight translate to a combined fuel consumption figure of 47.9mpg. That’s on paper anyway, but I never saw anything like that in reality. Normally I try to avoid drawing comparison to the real-world figures, but I was seeing low 30’s, which is less than you would get from a petrol Focus ST. CO2 emissions are 152g/km resulting in a first year road tax of £500. Providing you don’t go mad with the options, subsequent years will incur the standard £140 charge. But be careful of tipping it over £40k (yes, it’s possible) as this will incur the £310 surcharge for the next 5 years
Practicality – 9/10
Just from looking at the Edge you can tell that it’s going to be roomy. And it is. Not only is the boot big enough for a rugby team, but the cabin has enough space for five adults. Comfortably. From inside you appreciate how wide the Edge is, because there’s a two foot chasm between the driver and passenger. The Edge comes well equipped, with heated seats, auto headlights, lane keeping assistance, keyless entry and start, reversing camera and SYNC touchscreen multimedia and navigation all standard on the ST-Line models. Optional extras such as front wide-view camera (£150) and Active Park Assist with parallel and perpendicular parking function (£150) are reasonably-priced additions that make the Edge better to live with. Where you do find issue is with the sheer size of it. Double-parked streets and tight multi-storey car parks can invoke squeaky bum moments that’s for sure.
Fun – 7/10
The bold exterior appearance makes you want to get in and drive the Edge. Sadly the 180PS engine ruined the driving experience. When we think of big, American cars we also think of great big thumping V8 engines. So to discover that in fact the Edge, as us Brits get it, is underpowered is disappointing. However, you can still drive the Edge through town because it turns heads, looks great in a shop window and would be the talk of the pub when you leave it in the car park. I don’t know what it is about the American cars but, despite not being all that great, they do seem to be met with nods of approval from other motorists and pedestrians. This then, is style over substance. A poser’s car. But I don’t mind: I enjoyed the attention.
Due to my excitement ahead of testing the Edge, I think I may have set myself up for a fall. It looks great on the outside, but the interior is far too bland and plasticky to be classed as premium. The suspension is too firm, and the 180PS engine too weak. That being said, the vastness of the car mean that it will carry five adults and luggage with ease. And there is something about the Edge, I call it the ‘shop window’ test, that just makes you smile when you see the reflection. Unfortunately that smile will be wiped off your face when you see the prices. The Edge range starts at £32,395 which is quite a lot. By the time you get to the ST-Line it’s £37,445 and, with a few options, my test car ended up the wrong side of £40k. Ouch. For more information head to your local dealer or log on to the Ford website. What the Edge lacks in finesse, it makes up for in charisma. It’s a bold, loud American.
Total Score – 30/50