Ford Edge SUV (2015 - ) review
Ford of Europe is in desperate need of a full-size SUV to re-engage with customers who are deserting traditional saloon and estate cars in their droves. Is Uncle Sam’s Edge the answer to those European prayers?The Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.5 The Edge is well equipped, extremely spacious, fairly refined and comfortable too, so what’s not to like? Sadly, it’s not exactly the most engaging car to drive. Delivering sluggish performance and lazy responses, its extravagant dimensions can be sensed at every turn, and as a consequence, it fails to deliver the sparkle that we’ve come to expect from a Ford car.
- Generous equipment
- Excellent refinement
- Spacious cabin and boot
- Sluggish performance
- Counter-intuitive infotainment system
- High list price
At a glance
Don’t worry if you think the Edge looks vaguely familiar. It’s actually been on sale in the States for a number of years, although it was given a significant facelift and some substantial engineering tweaks before its European debut. Despite the changes, the Edge retains an unmistakable State-side presence, with a bluff front end that's dominated by a gaping, slatted grille, a billiard-table-sized bonnet (complete with a couple of sighting bulges to help you place the car on the road) and lots of chrome highlights on the outside. Based on the same underpinnings as the Mondeo family car and the S-Max MPV, in terms of both price and size, the Edge sits above the Kuga as the flagship model in Ford's SUV range. Although it costs roughly the same as the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, you get a fair bit more metal for your money, as the Edge is a good deal bigger in every direction than its German rivals - in fact it's actually longer than a VW Touareg.
Certainly, anyone familiar with the latest Mondeo will feel instantly at home in the Edge.
So, in much the same vein, while the main touch-points and all the buttons and switches look and feel of decent quality, some of the materials used elsewhere are less convincing. Items such as sharp edges inside the door pockets and the plastic on top of the stereo tend to let the side down. That said, by far the most frustrating aspect of the Edge’s cockpit is the SYNC 2 infotainment system, which isn’t the most intuitive or slick touch-screen system available. It does have plenty of features, at least, including DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and sat-nav. More positively, myriad deep storage bins, capacious cup holders and nice little touches like padded rear seat belts - no doubt, they'll be much appreciated by red-necked little uns - are all welcome additions.
With loads of legroom front and back, as well as an exceptional amount of space between the doors, the Edge will take three bods across the rear bench rear without them resorting to shoulder-charging tactics. With a capacity of 602 litres with all the seats in place, and more than three times that available when stacking to the roof with the seats folded, you’ve got to imagine that no one will ever complain about a lack of boot space. So as a five-seater, the Edge is almost as useful as a Mondeo Estate. Of course, the one glaring omission is its lack of an optional third row of seats, which are readily available in rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe. Given the Edge's questionable power-to-weight ratio, though, that’s perhaps not a bad thing.
Ride and handling
Be under no illusion; the Edge is, and always feels like, a seriously big car. While the positives include a quiet, compliant ride quality (once you get going) and impressive body control, with little discernible roll in bends, a defined delay between steering inputs and actual changes of direction means the Edge lacks the type of rapid responses that we’ve come to expect from well-sorted Fords. We also couldn’t help but notice a couple of other deficiencies, too, including a wooden brake pedal feel and the fact that you need to give the pedal a good old shove before retarding the Edge’s hefty kerb weight.
The Edge is available with a couple of 2.0-litre diesel engines: a 177bhp four-cylinder unit (using a single turbo and coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox) and a twin-turbo version of the same motor producing 207bhp, which is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. To be honest, it’s difficult to justify the premium for the extra oomph, as the higher-powered Edge doesn’t feel much quicker than the lower-powered car. What it lacks in extra speed though, it does make up for by being smoother and more refined, as you have to work the engine less hard - especially on the motorway. The dual-clutch auto is not the best example of its type though, with an odd shift strategy, and fewer ratios than rival transmissions from BMW and Audi - so it's best left in 'auto' mode. At least, both engines are reasonably smooth, only producing harsher vibrations high up the rev band; and, to their credit, are extremely hushed (at least from inside the car), thanks in no small part to synthetically enhanced tones that are piped into the cabin to help mask diesel combustion rattle - higher spec models also have double glazed front windows, to further mask the engine noise, a clever trick, but it definitely works.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Edge’s running costs is the fact that there’s only a minuscule difference between the fuel consumption of all four powertrains. Fitted with the higher- or lower-power output engine, and regardless of six-speed manual or six speed auto transmissions, all four variants return an official average within a whisker of 49mpg. That sounds low - but it's worth remembering there is no front-wheel drive version, so it's not fair to compare the Edge with cheaper, lighter and smaller European rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai. While some so-called experts are predicting residual values that will equal those of premium German SUVs, we’d be amazed if the Edge retains the same type of percentage ratings as an Audi Q5. That said, Ford is always happy to do a deal, so a determined spot of haggling could go a long way to off-setting the comparatively heavy depreciation. Rivals such as the Kia Sorrento and Toyota RAV4 also offer longer standard warranties than Ford, to give you greater peace of mind.
Ford is currently riding fairly high in the manufacturer standings of Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, and we can’t see any reason why the Edge would change this. If things do go wrong, being a Ford, parts and repairs will be pretty affordable. While the Edge’s interior materials aren’t as plush as those in some German rivals, everything feels dependable and sturdy, so hopefully the cabin should stay free from squeaks and rattles.
The Edge comes with an impressive suite of safety measures, including stability control, a plethora of airbags and a hill-start assistant. Ford also provides a collision mitigation system that warns of an impending low-speed impact and slows or stops the car if the driver takes no action. Inflatable rear seatbelts to help reduce bruising in the event of an impact are also included. Additionally, there’s a lane-departure system that helps you to stay in your lane on the motorway, as well as a blind-spot warning system and a 180-degree ‘Split View’ camera that helps you to see oncoming traffic when pulling out of tight junctions. This kind of technology played a big part in helping the Mondeo that it is based on achieve the maximum five-star rating; and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Edge also ended up with the same score.
Along with intelligent four-wheel-drive, Zetec trim gives you 19-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as automatic lights and wipers, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, rear privacy glass, SYNC 2 infotainment system and a Quickclear windscreen. As a consequence, it’s highly debatable whether it's worth upping the spec beyond this point. If you do step up to Titanium, you get sat-nav, acoustic side glass, a powered tailgate, heated front seats, illuminated scuff plates and a 220v power socket in the centre console. Go for a top-of-the-range Sport model, and you get black 20-inch alloys, an uprated stereo and sat-nav system, adaptive steering, firmer sports suspension and smoked black exterior embellishments. The Titanium definitely feels like a step up - but the Sport model (while it looks great) doesn't feel like it's worth the money.
It may not provide the finest drive, and it's certainly no ball of fire, but the Edge is big on equipment, comfort and refinement - all things that will appeal to plenty of SUV buyers. While its elevated ride height, large glass area and exceptionally spacious cabin provide airy, lavish accommodation for all the family. Providing you’re savvy and recognise that the Edge won’t retain its value as well as German rivals, then it could well represent a decent family car. Ford is not averse to offering attractive discounts, however, so be prepared to haggle hard to help take the sting out of the inevitable heavy depreciation.