Some people have said that I had it in for the Ford Edge.
Yeah…but…you have to give it credit where credit is due.
For example, the Edge started a segment of SUVs that people figured out they really needed after all. The mid-sized, two-row SUV is truly the "Goldilocks solution" to the genre – fitting between the popular compact SUV and the equally popular mid-size, three-row SUV.
If you need more room and don’t need a third row – this segment is the right-sized SUV for you.
What about the Ford Edge specifically? Certainly, there are other choices in this segment that do a better job in several categories.
But, do any of the Edge’s competitors offer a 335-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine and has been enhanced by its performance division?
Before we dive into this review on the 2020 Ford Edge ST, let me state that this is not the my first time with this vehicle. The last time I drove it was in the coldest weather the Twin Cities had that year. I found that a Polar Vortex provided a huge challenge the Ford Performance model. To be safe, that tester wore 20-inch all-season tires, that handled the cold road conditions just fine.
However, that Edge ST tester appeared to be anomaly. The typical enthusiast does not want to sacrifice a key feature or specification to get the most out of their vehicle. While the 20-inch all-season tire/wheel set-up is standard on the Edge ST, customer would rather get the larger wheels, tires, and brakes that are more desirable for the enthusiast.
That upgrade package consists of a set of 21-inch wheels, riding on “summer only” Pirelli P Zero tires, and the stopping power of a larger set of ventilated rotors and red-painted calipers. The ST Performance Brake package also adds a more powerful radiator fan, beefier brake pads, and vented brake shields. This package is offered towards improving driving dynamics with better stopping power.
This Edge ST came at the right time – the fall. They often say that fall is "boost weather," which plays to the strengths of the 335-horsepower EcoBoost 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6. To ensure that I test this SUV right, I have to watch the weather – chances of rain, air temperatures, along with road conditions and other factors.
The EcoBoost V6 in the Edge ST takes off very well and maintains a healthy cruise along the way. Press the throttle even more, and it responds with some fury. Yet, It seems pretty quiet. I would like a bit of drama from the exhaust, please?
The driveline continues with a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic that is sent to all four wheels. In all, this is a good set-up and should never be a surprise to anyone who drives one. Fuel economy-wise, I returned an average of 23.0 MPG.
Let’s talk driving dynamics. First off, the Edge ST’s curb weight is 4,525 pounds. It is on the heavy side, but that engine helps in balancing the weight with its agility. With that said, keeping in a normal drive mode brings out some softness in its dynamics. The ride is smooth, but don’t try to push it hard into the corners or into evasive maneuvers. There is some lean and roll that you will feel. The solution is to push the S button in the middle of the main transmission dial. Sport mode helps to weigh the steering some, as well as to balance out the dampers.
The steering was fine, but I was hoping for a sharper, tighter turning response. I get it’s an SUV, but it is supposed to be the only performance SUV available for under $50,000. Maybe I have a lot of expectations for it. I usually do…my bad.
Getting the Performance Brake package is the one piece of its performance SUV credentials that you will glad you paid for. Pedal feel is great with good response down to the calipers and rotors. Stopping power is equally great. I experienced the best stops in normal and panic situation for a vehicle in its class.
Behind the wheel, the Edge ST is comfortable and supportive inside. However, I felt that I rode too tall for a comfortable and competent driving position. The cowl and instrumentation felt a bit too low at my best seating position. After an adjustment to lower myself, the I was in enthusiast mode.
Still, the interior is cavernous with great room for four adults. We tried a fifth passenger – a child – but it was in a pinch. Cargo space is generous with 39.2 cubic feet behind the second-row, expandable to 73.4 cubic feet.
Compared to the latest Ford interiors, the Edge does feel a bit dated in some areas. The instrumentation is a great example, using Ford’s outmoded single dial/dual TFT screen format. I do get enough information, but I would like a proper tachometer and a set of gauges to read along with the speedometer. The rest of the switches are typical Ford, set to Ford’s own logic. They are quite tactile and easy to understand once you get used to them.
This leads to Ford’s rotary dial transmission selector. If you have never driven a Ford with one, then you will be completely put off by it. Again, once you are used to it, it works just fine. In the Edge ST, you do get a set of paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for better gear selection. Yet, my preference is for something of an actual gear lever. That way, I would have quicker switching between positions than the rotary dial. Again, just my preference.
With the introduction of SYNC 4 looming, I have to give props to the current SYNC 3 system and how it integrates well with smartphones both through Bluetooth and full integration. My tester was equipped with the 12-speaker B&O Sound System. That's B&O as in Bang & Olufsen. And, yes, it sounds pretty good.
Finally, I get to tell you the best part…the 21-inch black alloy wheels and the Pirelli P Zero tires that are part of the Performance Brake package. They do complete the Edge ST look and are great for three seasons of the year (year-round in the sunniest parts of the country). Come winter in the northern climes, this tire/wheel set-up is probably useless. You might as well have saved the $2,695 for the privilege of putting on the cool tire/wheel set.
Otherwise, the Edge ST brings out the best of what I think is a handsome SUV. The tapered rear befits the ST trim, as does the black mesh grille. I know I have been enamored by some newer products in its class, but most buyers will buy an Edge…because it's a Ford. Sound logic, I suppose.
How much will you pay for a Ford Edge ST? Pricing starts from $43,265. My tester came with a sticker price of $52,935. It is still less expensive than a lot of performance SUVs – even those that are smaller than the Edge ST.
The one thing about performance SUVs that you can take away from the Ford Edge ST is the final equation of all of its parts. Is it just about the engine? Some say “yes,” but it is just a major component of it. Is it about the overall design? That depends on how it is executed. Is it about the driving experience? That also depends on your expectations.
My summation is simple: It’s really your choice. It should also be based on your needs, wants, and expectations. If you want a performance SUV and do not have the money for some Audi Sport, AMG, M-ship, a four-leaf clover, or an SRT – Ford Performance has you covered. The Ford Edge ST is a good place to start.
You see, I do not have it "in" for the Ford Edge after all.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by the Ford Motor Company
All photos by Randy Stern