Ford’s intention to expand further into the European SUV market must have come as unwelcome news to those manufacturers who have been making hay while the sun has been shining on the segment these past 10 years.
Any industry power with the Blue Oval’s dealer network and market share would be likely to enter a new sales niche about as gracefully as a hippopotamus vaulting into a bathtub, after all, and it could have a similar impact on those already enjoying those waters.
But European SUV sales aren’t entirely new to Ford, and neither is the idea of importing a large 4x4 from the US and selling it against Europe’s specialist and premium-brand alternatives, as it is about to do with the Edge.
Few will remember the effort Ford went to in the 1990s and 2000s when it imported the Explorer, which failed to deliver the kind of sales that would have made it better known over here.
But, thankfully, the Edge isn’t another body-on-frame, slab-sided, V6-petrol-only all-American truck.
It is, in fact, the biggest-selling crossover SUV in the US, and it’s here as part of a multi-pronged attempt to retain customers who’ve been leaving the Ford fold as soon as they’ve had proper premium-brand cash to spend on a large family car.
It might even be fairer to record that the Edge serves a purpose for its maker closer to that of the Granada Scorpio than any other model. The big Ford is back.
Crossover or not, it’s definitely big. Sitting at the top of Ford’s still-fresh, three-strong SUV range, the Edge is nearer the length of a Range Rover Sport than a Discovery Sport but goes on sale as a five-seater only, with a choice of two diesel engines and three trims.
We’re testing it in mid-rung Titanium trim, with the more powerful of the engines, a Powershift dual-clutch automatic gearbox and the ‘intelligent’ four-wheel drive that all UK Edges will come with.