The full size SUV segment is well represented on the Old Continent, even though Europeans aren’t real fans of big, hulking machines that don’t easily fit inside the standard parking space.
You can have vehicles in the luxury class such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE or Volvo XC90 – but according to studies, the popular SUV segment is more inclined to get successful with clients. Having the large SUV is a payoff on its own – so many customers, even if they have the financial means to go upscale, choose to go for one of the mass-market brands. The Blue Oval has had issues with the SUV segment in Europe – for years, they only had to showcase the Kuga. Now the issue has been amended – with one model in the subcompact class (EcoSport) and one in the fullsize segment – today’s test, the Edge. We’re going to refrain from commenting on the small model – which is not the best representative for Ford in Europe, coming with South American and Indian roots. At least they’re making amends and will be producing the facelifted version in Craiova, Romania – starting sometimes late next year.
Meanwhile, the Ford Edge is an entirely different story. Everyone knows that Ford is an American brand – yet in Europe they’re just as much considered Germans. This is due to the long running relationship with the continent’s largest economy and the fact that Ford established its regional roots there a long, long time ago. Now the One Ford strategy is delivering truly interesting models – the Edge is a good example, but of course, the first to spring in mind is the much-awaited official availability of the more than half-century old Ford Mustang muscle car. That’s the halo car for them now – especially in Europe where American culture is not without its numerous fans. But sports cars aren’t selling well anymore – due to the continuously rising popularity of the SUV segment. And while the Ford Edge has its own Vignale version for a more upscale feel, the true targets for the American-flavored fullsize SUV are popular models such as the VW Touareg and the Hyundai Santa Fe (and its larger sibling the Grand Santa Fe), as well as exotic appearances such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano. In all earnest, the Ford Edge is actually entering a niche – customers wanting for an American flavored SUV had no other choice in the past but to go for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now, although Ford likes to say its models are global offerings and as such don’t necessarily carry the regional DNA, there’s another American-flavored option on the market.
Design, Interior and Gadgets
It took them long enough to get the Edge on the market since it was first announced to become available as a Euro-spec model, but at least the passing time hasn’t diluted its stance. This is down to the design, which is arguably among the best in the segment – even when compared to luxury offerings such as the Audi Q7. In all earnest – we can see why Hyundai decided to snatch the size and general design of the grille – as the South Koreans were never able to establish a firm corporate image for their SUV models. But the Ford Edge has the corporate design firmly established after years of seeing the Aston Martin-inspired grille evolve. The Ford Egde is all new in its second generation and shares front end traits with the Ford Taurus or the larger Ford Explorer. But that’s about all that can be said about relationships within the SUV range – the Edge is one of the most dynamic SUV offerings Ford has in dealerships today. In my opinion, it even trumps in terms of dynamic styling the newly refreshed Ford Escape/Kuga thanks to the rear end design. Today Ford SUVs look forward to be part of the same family in terms of styling – and the Kuga – Edge duet are putting the basis. Fortunately, the Blue Oval has elected to stand clear of the recent German stance which has all models look almost the same – the Q7 is the best example to this evolutionary – rather than revolutionary – trend.
While the ensemble is well proportioned and great at hiding its relative size, I can’t say it’s without flaws. For example, it has rather large front overhangs (you do get sensors and a camera) and the protruding lines on the bonnet seem without any purpose when viewed from the driver’s place. On the other hand, the overall appearance is sporty even when selecting the Titanium version – which differs subtly from the Sport trim – and has more protective plastic cladding on the lower parts of the body (front and rear spoiler, side skirts). This is useful, because the Edge has an intelligent AWD system that can get you off the beaten path – thanks to its off-road credentials (203 mm ride height, 18.8/22.4/17.1 angles). These are not the best in the segment – the Touareg fights for the honor with the Grand Cherokee specialist, but they’re above what the Hyundai Grand Santa Fe or the Nissan Murano offer. Even here, Ford’s positioning is clear – as you’ll see as we progress – it’s an alternative to the Grand Cherokee in American spirit but also to the German Touareg because it brings more style and sportiness than both.
The dynamic trend is less obvious once you get into the driver’s seat. This is because you get a large, comfy seat that has almost nothing to do with lateral support. The interior dimensions are also on par with the competition – even though Ford still likes so much the “cab forward” approach to the front side of the cabin. The Titanium model we tested had all the necessary amenities – electric adjustment with memory, as well as heated and ventilated front seats. In all earnest, it’s not much you could ask the Edge to have additionally – except maybe a HUD in place of the LED’s from the driver assistance systems. The Edge is a true full size SUV offering – every equipment you can think about – from apps for the SYNC infotainment system to front collision, BLIS or lane keeping assistance. You can easily connect your smartphone, hook two USB media sticks and still have AUX-in as well as an SD card slot. The dashboard and instrument layout is a traditional Ford affair – the configurable 3D digital instrument cluster is the same as in the Mondeo, while the center stack gets the touchscreen display up front and the few remaining buttons below in a familiar layout. The design is accommodating to its dimensions, but the Edge is clearly a One Ford approach today when discussing the cabin – all buttons and controls are where you would expect if this is not your first Ford model. Inside, the global approach of the company is clear – because there are no American-feel elements such as the great looking taillights that unite to get your attention. The front seats are large and comfortable and the ample electric adjustments – including for the steering wheel – will get you soon in the best driving position.
Moving out back, the Edge shows its dimensions – it’s smaller in length than a Grand Santa Fe but has a longer wheelbase (2849 mm vs. 2800 mm), though again it’s not the champion (the Touareg boast 2893 mm and the Grand Cherokee 2915 mm wheelbases). But families with kids will have no problem fitting even three child seats – and the Edge might be the wisest choice in this respect because it offers the rear-seatbelt airbags. The bench is also 60/40 foldable and the backrest can be angled according to your needs. Three adults will have no problem taking long trips in the Edge as well, due to the width of the cabin and available knee and headspace. Speaking of long trips, the Edge has a 602 / 1847 liters boot with an electrically-operated tailgate. The specs compare favorably to its competitors: the Touareg has 580/697/1642 liters; the Nissan Murano just 402/1510 liters; the Grand Cherokee 457/1554 liters and closest is the Grand Santa Fe with 634/1842 when the third row is not in use.
Engine, Transmission and Handling
As far as the mechanics are concerned, there’s no other way around the bush – the SUVs in Europe need diesel engines. So the North American-produced Edge (built alongside its Lincoln MKX sibling at the Oakville Assembly Complex in Oakville, Ontario, Canada) gets a 2.0-liter TDCI engine in two stages of power – 180 hp with single and 210 hp with biturbo. The Ford, which is not even made on the European continent, is thus the best prepared model of the selected bunch for the European climate, which favors smaller displacement engines. Compared to it, the Santa Fe has a 2.2-liter four cylinder, the Murano a 2.5-liter four cylinder and the Grand Cherokee and Touareg make the jump to classic 3.0-liter V6 mills. We do agree that a V6 engine will always sound better than a four-banger, but let’s be honest – at this price level you’re expecting the engine to be a very discrete presence 99 % of the time. So, the Edge will allow a conscious buyer to make rather large savings in the long time when discussing taxation levels compared to its direct competitors. In addition, under heavy acceleration the engine – exhaust system assembly actually sounds better than expected since we’re dealing with a four cylinder, again bringing into notice the sporty attitude of the model.
The attitude is there, but the handling credentials do pay tribute to both the size and, arguably, the American DNA. The drive pattern is muffled under the exact – but bland steering – while the sharp turns will be negotiated carefully because the mass can overthrow any assistance system. With the large wheels in place and a suspension system that makes a great compromise between comfort and rigidity, the Edge can actually take you closer to your driving limits that you would expect – and I suspect this has to do with the well-balanced architecture of the crossover. There are also “tricks” working in your favor – for example the comfortable ride is enhanced with the Active Noise Control system that cancels unwanted noises, or the Adaptive Steering that adjusts the steering ratio according to the vehicle’s speed. The car-like handling credentials are also owed to Ford using the same architecture used in the Mondeo, galaxy and S-Max models. And there’s also a clever rear box-section sub-frame instead of the conventional U-section design. Overall, the handling aptitudes of the Edge do come close to the overall sporty appearance – so we can see the model being a target not only for families with kids but also active persons that need lots of interior room and a vehicle that is also adventurous, like the owner.
The Edge in Europe can only be had with the 180 hp version if you need the manual or just the 210 hp variant if you like automatic transmissions. The biturbo version we tested is also mated to a dual-clutch auto gearbox, as well as standard fuel efficiency techniques such as the already traditional Start/Stop or “Smart Regenerative Charging” – which reduces engine loads and enhances battery charging. This is the official version – because when you’re dealing with a two-ton SUV there’s no chance you’ll achieve the advertised fuel consumption average of 5,8 liters per 100 km. At least progress is being made on a daily basis and the official figures can be used for comparison purposes. The Hyundai Grand Santa Fe (197 hp) has an average fuel consumption of 7,6 l/100km, which is close to what the Grand Cherokee (190 hp) does – 7,5 l/100km. Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Touareg (204 hp) is the closest with 6,6 liters per 100 km and the Murano is way off with 8 l/100 km. This means the Edge should be consistently less fuel thirsty than its competitors under the same driving scenarios. And while the official figures are way off from what happens in real life, the Edge is more fuel efficient than its competitors thanks to all the tricks deployed – from the Intelligent All Wheel Drive system that can pre-emptively adjust torque distribution to avoid wheel spin or have a minimal impact on fuel-efficiency, CO2 emissions and tire wear to aerodynamic features such as the Front Aero Curtains that will direct the air through vertical slots in the front bumper and out across the outer edge of the front wheel.
Pro: edgy and sporty design, which is a treat in the segment – which either favors bland familiar choices or has an off-road inspiration. Interior space is at the superior limit of the segment, with great space in the back and in the boot. Fuel efficiency and overall handling, as well as comfort make an appealing package for both families and active people.
Against: some of the fitments show this is not a vehicle produced in Europe. Small displacement diesel engine struggles with the vehicle’s weight when full power is needed during kick-down maneuvers.
Starting price – Ford Edge 2.0 TDCI 180 hp M6 Trend – 41,600 EUR
Tested Version – Ford Edge 2.0 TDCI 210 hp Powershift Titanium – 46,850 EUR
Engine: 2.0L four cylinder, diesel, direct injection commonrail, turbo, intercooler (1997 cc)
Power: 210 HP (155 kW) at 3750 rpm
Torque: 450 Nm at 2,000-2,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch Powershift automatic / 4×4
Dimensions: length – 4,808 mm, width – 1,928 mm, height – 1,692 mm, wheelbase – 2,849 mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 69 L
Trunk Capacity: 602 / 1847 liters
Weight: 1949 kg
0 – 100 km/h: 9,4 s
Top Speed: 211 km/h
Fuel consumption: urban – 6,4L/100 km, highway – 5,4L/100 km, average –5,8L/100 km
Rating: 4.4 / 5