Ford will take on the Nissan X-Trail, Volvo XC60 and Korea’s big SUVs with the second-generation Edge, which is coming to Europe around 2015. Unveiled today (20 November) in concept form, the Edge will sit above the baby EcoSport and mid-size Kuga and complete Ford’s European SUV line-up.
The concept has a couple of high-tech tricks up its tailpipe: the Edge can park itself without anyone in the driving seat, and steer around obstacles if you’re bearing down on an obstruction. Read on for more details.
What gives it an Edge over a Kuga?
The first gen front- or all-wheel drive Edge hit the US market in 2006, and at 4635mm-long, is half a size bigger than the Kuga (or Escape as it’s called Stateside). It’s also only a five-seater, though packing more occupant space than its little brother. Bringing the second-generation crossover to Europe became feasible with the Blue Oval’s adoption of the One Ford strategy, which is unifying its product portfolio around the world.
The Edge concept retains the MK1’s fab fastback rear and chunky proportions, but adds Ford’s screaming grille to make Edvard Munch proud. One of Ford’s goals is best-in-class fuel economy, and the Edge Mk2 deploys ‘Active Grille Shutters’ to manage air flow and optimise engine operating temperature. Four-cylinder diesel engines will be vital to reach this target, though Ford is yet to confirm the engine line-up.
Inside, the cockpit is very close to a production car’s, and that touchscreen is further evidence that Ford is moving away from centre consoles blighted by hundreds of M&M-sized buttons. Expect prices to start just north of £25,000 for an Edge. The Edge is built on Ford’s C/D platform – shared with Mondeo and S-Max – so the crossover can go down the Valencia line in Spain, where Ford’s big cars are being amalgamated.
What do Ford’s suits say?
‘In the past, Edge would have been a North American product,’ Ford of Europe president Stephen Odell told CAR. ‘We’re now part of the global engineering process, and can say “here’s the business case” for this vehicle over here.’
‘It’s a different way to how we developed products in the past, where a region did the development and said to others: “do you want it?” added Ford global COO Mark Fields. ‘With the new generation Edge, we had global design reviews and did the market research. But we have to tailor cars to local tastes: Europeans love aggressive brakes, a firmer ride, will switch between summer and winter tyres and prefer to adjust their seat backs with knobs, not levers.’
The Edge will give Ford an advantage over mainstream rivals like Vauxhall, Honda, Peugeot-Citroën and Renault who are yet to sell flagship SUVs in Europe, and fully capitalise on a market Ford expects to grow 22% over the next five years. ‘The market is trending towards SUVs and CUVs,’ said Mark Fields. ‘We have a strength in that area around the world: let’s play to that strength to participate in the growth, rather than chase it [as latecomers].’