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Ford Edge: Edge your bets

  • Ford’s big SUV leaves us after just a month and 3,000 miles
  • Bold styling, roomy cabin and the way it drives will be missed
  • Gets a thumbs up from us if you can live with its diesel thirst

1. Welcome 2. What's it like to drive?
3. Economy and practicality
4. Farewell

Update 1: Welcome to Parkers

While much of the proliferation of SUVs plying Britain’s roads are styled apologetically so that they appear more like tall hatchbacks than chunky 4x4s, the Ford Edge is altogether more… in-yer-face.

Inevitably its brutally upright lines are exaggerated by this Sport model’s black grille, dark anthracite 20-inch alloy wheels and deeper, body-coloured bumpers.

And what a colour it is. If keeping a low profile is how you like to go about things, then Electric Spice (it may as well be called 'I’m clearly not having an affair, dear') is not a £545 option you’d want. Not that you can opt for it any more, as it was only available for the Edge in its first few months on sale in Britain.

It’s a Mondeo underneath

To put the Edge in context, it’s the second-generation model to carry the nameplate, but the first to be built in right-hand drive form. Primarily designed for sale in North America, the big Ford is built in Ontario, Canada and is based – like the S-Max and Galaxy MPVs – on a modified version of the Mondeo’s underpinnings.

Mechanically, this Edge Sport is almost identical to our outgoing Mondeo: a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel producing 180hp, but here the drive is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, rather than just the front pair.

Under normal conditions the power goes exclusively to the front wheels, the rears only engaging under harder acceleration or when those up front lose traction.

You can’t feel it going on, although you can use the screen in the centre of the rev counter to display the drive pattern in real-time. Hardcore 4x4ers will look in vain for a low-range transfer box or a way of locking first gear – neither feature here.

Despite its bullishly handsome looks, the Edge is an on-road car first, with limited off-road ability, what the marketeers feverishly call a crossover (to much grinding of teeth from this author).

There’s not much 400Nm of torque from 2,000rpm can do to overcome the physics of hauling 1,912kg of hefty Ford SUV around, so performance is adequate rather than living up to the Sport trim level’s name. Top speed’s 124mph, while the 0-62mph dash takes a yawning 9.9 seconds.

Officially Ford claims this specification Edge will average 47.9mpg – sounds an incredibly ambitious target to us – and emit 152g/km of CO2.

Imposing and Edgy

Despite its bulk suggesting otherwise, the Edge is only a five-seater – albeit a spacious one – but don’t expect it to compete with the similarly-sized Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento on the chair count. There’s no seven-seat option.

The interior feels similar to the Mondeo’s but, apart from the instrumentation and much of the switchgear, the design is no different. You will find the Edge’s dashboard in the S-Max and Galaxy, too.

Five occupants are served with plenty of leg-, elbow- and headroom – even with the optional panoramic roof – with the rear seats featuring a reclining function, mirroring the 60:40 split.

Up front, the seats are heated and air conditioned for extra comfort, and electrically adjustable, part of the £2,000 optional Lux Pack, along with the glazed roof.

Sporting Edge slots in near the top of the range

Sport is one rung from the top of the Edge hierarchy now that the line-up includes the plushed-up Vignale version, but it still has a generous kit count for the money.

For your £35,250 outlay you get:

  • Stiffer sports suspension – handling’s sharper but the upshot is that so is the ride quality
  • Parking sensors front and rear with a reversing camera that’s prone to harbouring dirt
  • Keyless entry and ignition, with an electric tailgate and 60:40 split-folding rear seat release
  • Sync2 multimedia system (the uprated Sync3 is now standard on new builds) with a 12-speaker audio pack
  • Acoustic (double-glazed) side glass and noise-cancelling software to make the cabin quieter

In addition to the vivid paint scheme and the Lux Pack, our test car’s been further garnished with a wide-view front camera (£150 – and it produces a grainy image) and an automatic self-parking function (also £150) which worked faultlessly on the occasions we tried it. All in all – as tested – it costs £37,345, so not exactly cheap.

So, with the Edge installed on the Parkers fleet and aiming to pull us away from the mainstream choices – let’s see how we get on over the next four weeks.

Overall mileage: 5,012 miles

Fuel economy: 35.7mpg (calculated)


 

Update 2: Taking the rough with the smooth

If our Mondeo had been a bit of a disappointment for not driving with much verve, the Ford Edge Sport has surprised us by being good fun to hustle around – within the large SUV context.

Just a few miles tooling along the winding B-roads that link to villages around me to Lincoln reveals a tall 4x4 that corners flatly, offers a heavier, meatier degree of feel through the steering wheel than the Mondeo, and doesn’t ride especially harshly despite the fact it’s fitted with stiffer suspension and 20-inch alloy rims.

Okay, it’s not cushiony soft – there’s no way to adjust the firmness through adaptive suspension – but you don’t climb out at the end of a long journey needing to pop each and every vertebra in your spine.

Sporty but more power wouldn’t go amiss

While the Sport moniker is appropriate for its on-road dynamics, the lack of performance does make it feel like its potential’s been squandered.

The only alternative powertrain is a 210hp edition of the same 2.0-litre diesel mated to a six-speed twin-clutch PowerShift automatic gearbox, although the extra oomph only shaves half-a-second off the 0-62mph time.

A quick browse of Ford’s Canadian website – the Edge’s home nation – reveals mention of a much fruitier 2.7-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol unit, which summons 315hp. Sadly, British sales would doubtless struggle to get into double figures – and the same would be true of the mpg, hence why the Blue Oval doesn’t bother. Shame.

Fuel for thought

We’ve spotted a couple of Edge curios that weren’t so obvious back on the UK launch during summer 2016.

During moments of rapid acceleration and deceleration, the acoustic glass and noise-cancelling software does such an effective job of masking the engine note that you’re aware of other sounds the car makes, not least diesel slopping about inside the fuel tank. It smacks of a lower-budget car.

The other’s only evident during downpours as the rain washes across the bonnet and around the windscreen pillars onto the front side glass. I’m no fluid dynamicist (wipe that surprised look from your face), but at a guess the kick-ups where the bonnet meets the windscreen increases turbulence, which results in little whirlpools of water partially obscuring the view of the door mirrors.

Occasional off-roader

Not being a bona fide all-terrain car, off-asphalt excursions in the Edge were kept to a minimum, and even then not across ground that was too rugged.

It dealt effortlessly with unmetalled farm tracks, woodland and grassy fields, providing the incline wasn’t too steep and that the verdantly lush under-wheel surface wasn’t too dewy. Few things make a large 4x4 sillier than being scuppered by a wet, grassy slope. 


The chief culprits are those low-profile road-biased tyres – it is a Sport model after all – which aren’t sufficiently knobbly for venturing too far across this green and pleasant land.

Back on the road and they do the business, providing ample grip that allows the Edge to maintain impressively high cornering speeds. More than once I saw the driver of a car behind struggling to keep up through a series of bends mouthing ‘what the fudge?’ in my rear-view mirror.

Penchant for diesel

Needless to say, all that harder driving doesn’t bode well for fuel economy and after 1,453 miles were chalked up in relatively short order the Edge has so far only returned a real-world average of 33.9mpg. Somewhat shy of the 47.9mpg official claim. Maybe a lighter right foot will help over the next week or so.

Overall mileage: 6,176 miles

Fuel economy: 33.9mpg (calculated)

 


 

Update 3: Haulin’ ass, suckin’ gas

Well, diesel, not gas(oline), but it’s clear that the Ford Edge Sport has one mighty thirst to quench, requiring frequent trips to the black pump to replenish its 69-litre tank. It’s not as if the engine still needs running in, so it should be suitably loosened-up for optimum economy.

In real terms it’s dropped to 33.4mpg during its time in the Parkers fleet. Climbing above a mildly respectable 35mpg is going to be tough.

In fairness to myself – I’ll say it as nobody else will – I have been driving with a little less vigour lately, so the fuel efficiency should be improving. What’s countering my endeavours is that lately the big Ford’s been called into service as a load lugger.

Underground, overground autojumbling free

There’s 602 litres of boot space in the rear of the Edge with all five seats in place, almost all of which I used when I filled it with old magazines for a rare appearance as a trader at a local autojumble.

To make the most of the space I removed the luggage space cover – an awkward procedure that will easily scratch the boot’s plastic sides if you’re not careful.

The roller-blind style cover has two clip-on flaps at the seat end, which latch onto the poles for the rear headrests. They’re necessary because of the way the back seat reclines, but it looks to be an inelegant Heath Robinson solution.

It also appears to be mounted at least three inches too low in the boot, sited well below the side window line, and the end of the cover rattles in its lugs whenever it’s fully extended.

Having threaded the 1,928mm-wide Edge through the vending hall between the stalls I parked up by my pitch. That electric tailgate caught the attention of other sellers who’d rocked up in their white vans (actually, the yellowness of the Ford probably made them stare even more) and I set about unloading, the boot floor usefully not being dissimilar in height to the trestle tables from which I sold my wares.

Special Christmas delivery

A few days later – having re-loaded the unsold magazines, put them back into storage and vacuumed-up the papery detritus from the black carpet – it was time for the Edge’s van-like capabilities to be called upon again, this time to swallow an eight-foot-tall Nordman fir.

Putting it on the roof would have been ideal but once the Lux Pack with its panoramic glass roof’s been specified, the roof rails are deleted from the equipment list, so inside it had to go. 

Just inside the boot on the left hand side is a rocker switch that releases the rear seat backs electrically. Or so the theory goes. The right-hand 40% portion drops on cue, but the remaining 60% of the seat on the left resolutely refused to budge. You can hear the electric motor whirring as the locking mechanism tries to release, but nothing else happens. Back to the manual lever on the side of the seat, then.

Conveniently the headrests don’t need to be removed or flipped forwards 90 degrees to allow the seats to tumble, but disappointingly, the boot floor isn’t completely flat, instead sloping upwards towards the front of the car. Still, that didn’t pose the tree in its net wrapping any issues, and it barely used a quarter of the 1,847-litre overall capacity.

For a tree that’s not supposed to drop its needles readily, the boot looked like a forest floor by the time I’d got it erected in the house. The Dyson got called into action. Again.

Overall mileage: 6,853 miles

Fuel economy: 33.4mpg (calculated)

 


 

Update 4: Farewell

Four short weeks with our Ford Edge Sport was enough to crank up 2,967 miles on duty for Parkers and, in all honesty, I was sad to see it go so soon.

Thanks to its eye-popping colour, sharply imposing styling, and that American-style full-width ribbon of red light across the back, it was a car that got noticed wherever it went.

Lots of passers-by approached me when I pulled up in car parks asking what it was and being complimentary about the design – if not the hue it was painted in.

Luxury SUV with a mainstream price tag? 

One guy summed it up rather aptly when he suggested it was like a cut-price Range Rover Sport (if £37,345 as tested can be described as a bargain).

He may have been onto something, though. Dimensions-wise, the Ford’s only just shy of the bulkier Land Rover, and it aims to combine the lofty SUV driving position, with a luxurious (in a blue collar way) interior and surprisingly agile handling characteristics. But there the similarities end.

But saying that isn’t doing the Edge a disservice.

Its heated seats (front and rear) were very welcome on the wintery mornings that have started to bite Lincolnshire, but the cooling function was effective, too – just not something you’d particularly take advantage of at this time of year.

Dealing with winter road filth

Less successful were the standard reversing camera and optional front camera, nestled just under that enormous Blue Oval on the grille.

Both are prone to gather road grime, requiring frequent rubbing, but the image from the one up front in particular is grainy. In all honesty, the parking sensors in the nose are sufficient enough to render the front camera superfluous.

One clever touch – although not one unique to Ford – is that the doors are deep and overlap the whole of the sills, ensuring that your legs will remain clean where they rub against the Edge as you get in and out.

Having had six out of my last seven long-term test cars fitted with super-bright LED headlamps, the Edge’s projector-type lights felt inadequate.

I’ve become a real convert to LEDs for night driving – it tends to be dark for almost my entire commute at this time of year, so if I was ordering one I’d spec that £1,000 option without giving it a second thought. The full-width rear light assembly is entirely made of LEDs, but it’s at the front where they benefit you the most.

Thirsty but appealing if you can live with that

What I’m less enthused about is the Edge’s overall economy which dipped even further to 33.1mpg – that’s almost 31% lower than the official claim of 47.9mpg.

Inevitably, having all of the Edge’s heating – climate control, seats and front and rear windscreens – cranked up much of the time, and the cold air temperatures making the engine take longer to warm up, will have dulled the Ford’s efficiency potential. But, such a low real-world figure will rule the Edge out of some buyers’ consideration even if they can afford to buy or lease one.

However, if you can live with the diesel bill, you’re left with a distinctive and spacious alternative to the established large crossover crowd, that’s engaging enough to satisfy the enthusiastic edge within many drivers and easy enough to pilot for those looking for straightforward family transport.

It’s not a class-leader but I can fully understand the rationale behind anyone deciding to run one.

Overall mileage: 7,686 miles

Fuel economy: 33.1mpg (calculated)