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Ford Edge SUV long-term test: a car you grow to rely on

Published: 28 June 2017

► On sale in the USA for ages
► Now it's reached the UK
► How did we get on?

Month 6 living with a Ford Edge: a goodbye that causes practical problems

Six months ago I met with a man in the windblown car park of a motorway services at Baldock. It was November, and the sting in the wind had nothing of summer’s softness.

That man was the immaculate Ben Whitworth, the reason for our meeting the handover of the Ford Edge. I’ll spare you the mind-numbing logistics, but Ben ran the car for the first couple of weeks of its time with us. Then I decided that I really, really wanted the Ford.

Ford Edge panning

To secure it, I offered Ben a straight swap for the Lotus I was due: science is yet to be able to accurately measure periods of time as brief as that which elapsed between suggestion and acceptance. Me, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the all-wheel-drive, generously-booted Edge. Dog ownership and the cost of flights for a family of four to the Alps in ski season do curious things to man.

As Ben handed me the key he told me, ‘Look, it’s not very inspiring but I’ve no doubt it’ll blend into your life so seamlessly and completely you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.’ 

How right he was. I’ve been fortunate enough to run an M3 and a McLaren 650S previously. While handing them back hurt, the loss was emotional rather than practical. You grow dependent on the way mid-engined supercars and spectacularly lairy M cars can rub a little magic on the everyday, and how good a twin-turbo, big-capacity engine on sports exhausts sounds at full chat under bridges. But there was nothing especially challenging about the day after both of them left my life.

Ford Edge dog in the boot

By contrast losing the Edge will cause actual problems. How am I going to transport the dog without 602 litres of ideally shaped boot? What am I going to use to tow the trailer I often hire to get our Caterham racer to far-flung events? How will the boys cope when whatever I replace the Ford with will invariably lack such generous rear legroom (one’s already 6ft 3) and the rear seats’ three-pin plug charger and nuclear bum-warmers?

Weird thing is, I’m the only member of the CAR team to 
really like the Edge. Those who borrow it for the odd evening and weekend come back talking only of the odd steering, 
the bizarre panel gaps to the bootlid (yawning on the left; non-existent to the right), the sub-par interior quality and the fact that, despite being huge, the Edge’s packaging – and rakish rear window angle – mean there’s no third row of seats. They talk of how, thanks to the eddies coming off the mirrors, you can’t see anything in them in heavy rain on the motorway. Of how the collision-detection warning panics needlessly at parked cars, and how the aggressively illuminated cup-holders make unwanted lighthouses of water bottles at night. But they haven’t lived with the Ford, only dallied with it.

Put in the time, and affection and respect grow like a lawn in April’s sunshine and showers. I don’t even think it handles too badly, certainly if you avoid driving X5s, Macans and Evoques for the unfavourable comparisons they tend to throw up.

Ford Edge trailer towing

But have I actually fallen in love with the Ford, or merely had my first full immersion in the compellingly practical world of SUV ownership? Probably the latter. Sure, an X5 is better to drive, an XC90 infinitely nicer to be in and the Discovery a machine with more space, prestige and off-road ability than the Edge could ever dream of, but all are in a different league on price, or so you might think.

Problem is, the Ford isn’t cheap. £30k in its most basic form, my mid-range Titanium is a £40k car – Discovery Sport territory, complete with third row of seats, HSE spec and comparable diesel performance. Go for the 
admittedly smaller Tiguan (the Touareg’s the right size, but its V6 engines price it out of comparison) and you’re into top-of-the-range R-Line money, or a nicely optioned Q5 Audi. 

It’s opened my mind, then, Edge ownership. Over time, and by doing all that I’ve asked of it with ease, it’s persuaded me SUVs aren’t silly cars bought in response to irrational fears. They’re bought because they work: they’re relaxing to drive, great at doing all that families need to do and, with their whiff of adventure rather than failed contraception, easier on pathetic egos than an MPV.

If pushed I’d have to say I wouldn’t buy an Edge, but that won’t stop me missing its versatility terribly.

By Ben Miller

Logbook: Ford Edge 2.0 Titanium

  • Engine 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp @ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm  
  • Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive  
  • Stats 9.4sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 149g/km CO2, 1949kg  
  • Price £34,495  
  • As tested £39,965  
  • Miles this month 3405
  • Total miles 13,179
  • Our mpg 34.9
  • Official mpg 48.7  
  • Fuel this month £1585.90
  • Extra costs £747 (dog guard, boot liner, replacement front Continental tyres)

Count the cost

  • Cost new £39,965 (including options worth £5470)
  • Dealer sale price £32,089
  • Private sale price £30,979
  • Part-exchange price £29,724
  • Cost per mile 12p
  • Cost per mile inc. depreciation 90p


Month 5 living with a Ford Edge: the 1642-mile week

I’m not sure if everyone (aside from Steve Moody) driving to the Alps does so in an Audi because the Ingolstadt firm sponsors the sport to within an inch of its life, or whether it’s the other way round, but Friday night at the Eurotunnel terminal ahead of February half-term was a battleground, and most of the combatants fought under the banner of the four rings. The Edge is a big car but, next to a Q7 with a Thule roofbox the size of a studio flat, the Ford felt almost modest.

Ford Edge ski trip alps

SUV smugness isn’t big or clever but it’s definitely a thing; the driving position, the visibility, the flawed yet reassuring idea that if the world suddenly went Mad Max you’d be okay. In the Edge it started the moment I nosed into the Eurotunnel carriage and the Ford’s big, squashy Continentals squeaked harmlessly over the pronounced metal kerbs where the Audi A6 ahead shuffled forwards to the grinding of wheel on steel… And where almost every car on the train bristled with roof boxes, the Ford’s vast boot (602 litres, compared to a Mondeo’s 500 litres) and the optional dog bars meant we could pile all our bags in the boot. 

From Calais to Val Cenis the Ford was effortless, despite the blizzards and lengthy, ill-tempered queues. Deliciously comfortable, its whiff of Americana (the sub-par interior quality and US-market origins) makes it feel ideal for big-mile road trips. The 2.0-litre diesel always feels strong enough, though 35mpg (37 according to the trip computer) suggests it does so only by putting in a fair bit of effort. In the back, our teenage boys loved the three-pin power point, which kept gaming laptops in juice, while the Ford’s hushed refinement would have been bliss were it not for a noisy-since-day-one window seal on the driver’s door.

Four people and a week's worth of ski kit, no roofbox required

During the week on the slopes, the Edge was pressed into service a few times, spearing off down the mountain for butter-drenched pastries. Try to hurry it and the car gently dissuades you with numb, oddly weighted steering and an omnipresent sense of serious inertia, though the body’s well controlled and traction always plentiful, despite worn front tyres, since replaced. I was hoping for snow and the chance to make like Sébastien Ogier on his recent Monte win in the M Sport Fiesta, but the roads remained snow-free, almost certainly because I had £150 worth of virgin snow chains in the boot… 

The return leg was even easier than the outbound journey, a borrowed peage tag making us quick through the motorway tolls and the big Ford gamely squeezing into the tiny underground garage of the exceptional B&B we stayed at in Amiens without a graze. The week on the road with the Edge was much like the last four months in microcosm, with any qualms about the car’s lack of on-paper excitement quickly silenced by the ease with which it slides into your life and takes care of everything.

By Ben Miller


Month 4 running a Ford Edge SUV: nav niggles finally fixed!

From day one, the nav tile on the Ford Edge's HMI home screen has refused to launch any actual navigation, requesting that I insert a new SD card.

Fortunately, I haven't been anywhere new in the three months I've had the car. But next month I drive to the Alps, and a bit of navigation would be handy.

Ford Edge navigation SD card

Thankfully, replacing the old card with a new one (Europe F5 – classic) fixed the issue immediately, and now the Ford knows where it's going – namely 799 miles across southern England and the length of France.

By Ben Miller

Logbook: Ford Edge 2.0 Titanium

  • Engine 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp @ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm  
  • Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive  
  • Stats 9.4sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 149g/km CO2, 1949kg  
  • Price £34,495  
  • As tested £39,965  
  • Miles this month 1007.1
  • Total miles 9774
  • Our mpg 33.3
  • Official mpg 48.7  
  • Fuel this month £142.27
  • Extra costs £0


Month 3 running a Ford Edge SUV: wearable keys? Kind of...

Jaguar Land Rover has the Activity Key, its surf-ready ‘wearable’ that lets you lock your actual keys in your F-Pace/Discovery and head out to do whatever it is you do (canoe, ski, eat cheesecake in a paddling pool), then simply hold the heat-, cold- and water-resistant bracelet up to the car’s rear badge to be granted access. With the Edge I just lock it, tuck the key fob in my crisp white sports sock, hope the puddles aren’t too deep and run slowly thinking about crisps.

By Ben Miller

Logbook: Ford Edge 2.0 Titanium

  • Engine 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp @ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm  
  • Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive  
  • Stats 9.4sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 149g/km CO2, 1949kg  
  • Price £34,495  
  • As tested £39,965  
  • Miles this month 977  
  • Total miles 8767 
  • Our mpg 31.4 
  • Official mpg 48.7  
  • Fuel this month £172.77  
  • Extra costs £0


Month 2 running a Ford Edge crossover: how does it cope as a dog wagon?

There is huge satisfaction to be derived from having the right tool – and preferably a hugely over-specified tool – for the job at hand. It’s why I doubt anyone’s ever bought the cheapest axe in the hardware store. Better to go for the one that’s three times the price, wrought in a steel also used by samurai blacksmiths and bundled with the leather holster and the sharpening kit you’ll either lose instantly or never use. One month into Ford Edge ownership and its sheer handiness is helping the thing worm its way into my affections despite my best efforts. 

Key to this is the way it makes everything so easy. When it’s just me hacking to work the Ford’s keyless go, commanding driving position, fine infotainment system and slick enough powertrain (207bhp four-cylinder turbodiesel driving all four wheels via a six-speed twin-clutch ’box; refined enough below 2500rpm and half-throttle) make miles falling-off-a-log easy. It doesn’t raise an eyebrow at two teenage boys with at least four bags each, the heated rear seats helping scrape morale from the floor on sub-zero Monday mornings and the powered bootlid makes for slick school drop-offs and pick-ups.

The pretty porky Ford even copes okay when you’re in a hurry, though I’ll get into finer points of its dynamic strengths and weaknesses at a later date. Right now my Edge related thrills are far more prosaic, and mainly involve the effortless transportation of a dog to areas wild and unpopulated enough for off-lead exercise. And for this task the Edge is a joy. Ford offers dog bars on its accessories website (ford-accessories.co.uk), described as a load retention guard, for £295, and a load compartment mat at £132.

Pooch and Ford Edge: a good dog carrier

Deploy both and Edge’s boot becomes a peerless hound relocation space, the guard preventing any unwanted dog/primary driving-control interaction at speed while the mat saves the boot floor from irrevocable soiling/chewing, and even boasts a fold-out bumper cover, to prevent clawing of the paint on the car’s body-coloured bumper. Fitting the mat involves opening the boot and putting it in it. The website advises dealer fitment of the dog bars but it’s a breeze: remove a couple of random brackets just behind the second row, fit guard brackets in their place and feed the top of the guard into bespoke mounts in the ceiling. 

And then it’s just a case of heading down all those unexplored lanes you’ve previously clocked from the road and wondered where they lead. Incredibly given the Ford’s road-orientated rubber and my complete lack of off-road driving experience, I’ve yet to get it stuck. Mud, ruts, puddles like lakes – all have so far been conquered without effort by the Ford’s all-wheel drive, the graphic on the dash showing the torque being punted rearward (up to a 50:50 front/rear split) as the front tyres struggle and the mud starts to fly. You can watch it in action away from a standing start on the road too, though it’s best to have dropped the dog home first. 

By Ben Miller

Logbook: Ford Edge 2.0 Titanium

  • Engine 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp @ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @ 2000rpm  
  • Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive  
  • Stats 9.4sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 149g/km CO2, 1949kg  
  • Price £34,495  
  • As tested £39,965  
  • Miles this month 2256  
  • Total miles 5108  
  • Our mpg 34.83  
  • Official mpg 48.7  
  • Fuel this month £173  
  • Extra costs £427 (dog guard and boot mat)

Month 1 running a Ford Edge SUV: the introduction

The Ford Edge is proving a car of surprises already: sometimes literally, since it’s so big that things – and friends – you haven’t seen for a while occasionally pop out as you explore the car’s deeper recesses. And in the couple of weeks it’s been with us it’s managed to take a few people by surprise. Often they’ll admire its refreshingly svelte (for an SUV) fastback shape before being alarmed to discover it’s a Ford. Or they’ll be physically and mentally slouching into the robustly heated seats, visibly purring at the quality of the ride and the spacious accommodation, when you spot them double-taking at the blue oval on the steering wheel. Somewhere in Ford’s product planning department, you can smell the furious high-fiving.

In the US the Edge has been out a couple of years, with a mid-cycle refresh imminent. For the UK market that product planning team has sent the car over in four familiar trim levels and with a choice of two power outputs from a standard-issue 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel – we can’t be trusted with the 311bhp 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 US buyers enjoy, more’s the pity. Zetec trim means 178bhp and a manual gearbox. Mid-range Titanium, feisty Sport or flagship Vignale (from £38k…) offer the same or 207bhp and Ford’s PowerShift twin-clutch auto. We’ve 207bhp, 332lb ft of torque (the lesser engine is 0.5sec slower to 62mph but marginally cleaner and more efficient) with all-wheel drive (standard on all Edges) and PowerShift.

Titanium trim brings some key hardware over and above Zetec including keyless entry, powered bootlid, 9-speaker infotainment with nav and DAB, parking sensors front and rear (Zetec pilots must berth the beast using a rear camera and The Force), acoustic side glass and nice-to-have stuff like mats, some chrome exterior trim and illuminated scuff plates. Thrusting, aspirational Sport trades 19s for 20s, lobs some incongruously sporty plastic bits at the car, re-tunes the suspension for less squish and throws in ‘whoah there’ adaptive steering.  

Ford Edge interior

Additional equipment on our made-to-make-life-easy Ford adds up to more than £5k of additional spend – I’m sure it won’t be long before a good chunk of it feels unnecessary. Leading the charge is the Lux Pack (climate front seats, heated rear seats, openable panorama roof), ably assisted by adaptive LED headlights (£1075), adaptive cruise control (£500), park assist (parallel and perpendicular, £150) and entirely forgettable nautilus blue premium paint (£545).

There’s nothing like a three-star review to set your pulse to absolutely no higher than it is when you’re fast asleep. Chris Chilton ranked the Edge very definitely not first in our Quick Group Test back in October, admitting the Ford was roomy and ‘pretty good to drive’ before handing out higher ratings to the Mercedes GLC (the winner) and seven-seat Land Rover Discover Sport thanks to the Ford’s paucity of charisma and pace. Deep-dive the spec sheet and certainly there’s little cause for optimism in the 1949kg kerbweight or the 9.4sec 0-62mph time. Then you look at the price. The Edge range starts at a fiver under £30k, and my Titanium a palatable £34,495 before options. That Mercedes it lost to? £39,595. You’ll need more for a decent Discovery Sport.

So the Ford might just be good value. It’s certainly massive (602 litres rear seats up, 1847 with them folded) and as Chris alluded to, the badge promises a more interesting drive than, say, Kia’s terminally disinterested Sorento. Ford’s long prided itself on glossing even humdrum machinery with a little welcome dynamic flair and the Edge was re-tuned for European roads and British tastes. A go-anywhere, carry-anything tool unafraid of a few quick corners? Promising.

Plans? To subject the Edge to the rigours of life without a second thought and watch it sink or swim. There’s also a towbar itching to have a trailer and a Caterham hitched to it, European nav mapping just begging to be pointed at the Alps (four of us, in February) and some dog-related accessories in the brochure the at least part-domesticated Labradoodle can’t wait to destruction test. And if the born-in-the-USA Edge can come through that little lot unscathed that’ll be the biggest surprise of all. 

By Ben Miller

Click here for all of CAR's Ford Edge articles and reviews

Keeper Ben Miller and CAR's Ford Edge long-term test review car

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three

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