► New Ford Edge SUV tested
► A competent, practical family car
► £35k for a high-spec automatic diesel
In among the excitement of Mustangs, Focus RS’s and Fiesta ST200s, Ford is launching the Edge SUV – and it is at least as important for the brand than those bright young things, if not more so.
Like other volume brands’ big family saloons whose sales are on the slide, Ford knows there’s not much money in Mondeos any more. So, an SUV bigger than its Kuga should hopefully help stretch the brand into the moneyed segments it doesn’t currently compete in.
So an American SUV, now being sold in Europe? We’ve seen some of these before, and it wasn’t pretty…
Fear not. Although the Mustang and Focus RS are technically One Ford cars, built to sell in all markets, the Edge is the first high-volume vehicle to benefit from this new global inclusiveness, and it’s clear that the Americans are not dominating the conversation.
The Edge feels like a European car built for European roads, not an American car with a few half-baked changes – although we have had to wait for it, as it’s been on sale in the States for a year already. Seeing as the Edge sells about 120,000 units a year there, that’s not really a surprise though.
Right from the blank sheet of paper stage, the engineering of the Edge included the need to hang stiffer suspension off it for higher straight line speed and greater cornering forces associated with this side of the pond, as well as sharper steering and the inclusion of more sound deadening too.
This all costs more to engineer in, and these refinements aren’t something the American market is especially bothered about, but it illustrates Ford’s commitment to build car for the global stage. It seems to be working.
While the Mondeo Vignale featured the technology, the Edge is the first conventional model in the line-up to offer Ford’s active noise control and acoustic windows. The theory is that, like your headphones that cut out that bloke snoring behind you on the plane, speakers transmit a noise at a frequency that cancels out the engine – while the glass has a thin film that does the same job with onrushing wind.
It really is no gimmick either: the Edge is remarkably quiet and refined most of the time, although under heavy acceleration nothing can entirely drown out the roar of a four-pot diesel engine at full effort, whether you’re in the 176bhp 2.0 TDCi manual version or the twin-turbo, 206bhp Powershift automatic.
And that engine has a lot of effort to put in, for the Edge is a heavy car and acceleration is just about adequate, and not much more, even in the higher power model, while the manual change feels odd in a car of this size.
Being half American, I bet it’s big.
It certainly is - by European standards anyway. The Edge is a big, handsomely lantern-jawed car, about the same size as a Volkswagen Touareg (although its rakish glasshouse hides that bulk well).
Even though it steers decently, it’s not really a car to rag, and with its firm but supple ride, width and comfy seats it’s the type of SUV you just want to cruise about in. With all models featuring all-wheel drive, however, it’s not especially economical.
There is a lot of space inside, not least in the cupholders, the vast depth and width of which illustrate a clear winner in that conversation. But even normal-sized occupants in the front sit a good distance from each other, there’s acres of space in the back and the boot is massive.
The cabin also has a more European feel, although Ford’s ability to create controls that are so complex they make you feel dizzy endures. There’s so much going on in the instrument binnacle – it’s a bit like Piccadilly Circus in there.
You can lavish your Edge with all the usual optional gadgets on top of the Zetec, Titanium and Sport trims, but standard level of equipment is generous anyway. A mid-spec Titanium is stuffed full of useful kit – parking sensors, power bootlid, heated seats and sat-nav – and costs £32,245 in lower-powered forum. A Touareg starts at 10 grand more, and even a Hyundai Santa Fe is more expensive.
The Edge is an impressive family car and a lot of SUV for the money. When you consider that most needing space and value from the Ford range would otherwise have to opt for an S-Max, then it is clear the Edge – which is better looking, feels roomier inside and is more refined – is going to prove a real winner for the Blue Oval. That is, however, assuming that buyers can live without the S-Max’s seven seats.
Read more Ford reviews here