Cabin comfort was exemplary; Lux pack enhanced it
Huge boot sealed the Edge’s role as a fine workhorse
Relaxed powertrain made the Edge a fine long-distance tool
Last year Ford declared that we should ‘unlearn’ what we believe the Blue Oval stands for and embrace its new worldwide strategy.
Three cars headed up this brave new venture: the Focus RS hot hatch, the GT supercar and this new Edge. Now, the low-numbers performance cars are probably safe bets, but the Edge? Ford hasn’t had the best track record of importing large SUV from the US. Remember the Explorer? Exactly.
This time would be different, we were told. Forget the flabby, body- on-frame, petrol-only US ‘trucks’, because the Edge is a truly global model, a claim substantiated by the fact that UK cars weren’t even available with a petrol engine. In addition, suspension tuned for European roads, some new bits of trim and more technology, such as LED headlights, were designed to appeal to European buyers.
And yet the Edge failed to impress our road test team when they got their hands on it last summer. Although they found it was well-equipped and refined, they said the Edge was “within touching distance of being the best large SUV the company could realistically have made” but it was “still a hard sell”. Damning with faint praise, indeed.
Perhaps its qualities would grow on us. Six months on the road test fleet looked like a good way of getting properly acquainted. So we set about specifying our ideal ‘easy-to-live-with’ SUV. With the price of a 207bhp 2.0-litre diesel Edge in Titanium trim starting at a reasonable £34,495, we reckoned there was an opportunity to add some choice options.
The additional equipment on our Ford added up to almost £5k, and while we suspected we might decide some of the extras were unnecessary in the long run, Ford was confident most Edge buyers would be opting for high-specification models.
The biggest cost was the £2000 Lux Pack, which also required us to part with an extra £450 to get the Sony audio and nav system. The pack added a number of nice-to-have luxuries such as electrically adjustable, heated and cooled leather front seats, heated rear seats and a panoramic sunroof. We also went for metallic £545 Nautilus Blue paint.
Our Edge came in just shy of £40k, but even with the extras, it didn’t feel in quite the same league as an Audi Q5 or BMW X3, both of which are swathed in soft-touch materials and feel better put together. That said, with the Edge measuring a touch longer than a Volkswagen Touareg, it has a larger cabin and load bay than both the Q5 and X3. It’s something I was quick to take advantage of.
Not a day went by without the Edge being filled to the brim with people and camera gear. Be it awkwardly sized tripods or heavy lighting rigs, the Edge swallowed it all. Loading and unloading was a breeze: drop the rear seats and you’re presented with flat floor and virtually no load lip – features that bring unbridled joy to anyone whose lifestyle or profession requires them to cart around tonnes of gear everywhere they go.
There was quite a bit of storage space elsewhere in the cabin. The glovebox and front door bins were a decent size and there was a small cubby beneath the heating and air-con controls. Most useful of all, however, was the pair of USB ports and 12V socket under the front armrest. They were perfect for charging phones, cameras and external flashes. As a workhorse, the Ford was top class.
But what about this Ford’s tuned- for-Europe handling? Well, there’s no doubt that the Edge’s near two- tonne weight blunts the dynamics somewhat, and it’s certainly less happy to change direction than, say, an X3. However, on twisting country roads, and in spite of its size, the Edge takes up your intended line Faults quickly and deals with mid-corner bumps well. That high-speed stability, together with excellent refinement and an impressive cruising range, made the Edge the consummate long-distance car.
With the 207bhp twin-turbo TDCi engine barely audible and the dual-clutch automatic gearbox going quietly about its business, I struggle to think of another car I’ve driven that offers such a relaxing motorway experience. Fuel stops were also less frequent than expected, thanks to a decent 36mpg average (I suspect others could do better – I’ve hardly got a light right foot).
Longer journeys also highlighted how well Ford’s dashboard layout works. There are some similarities between the controls of the Edge and the S-Max (a previous long-term test car), something some buyers might be disappointed with. But the similarities proved useful when it came to finding my way around the Sync infotainment system, which can confuse the uninitiated.
Really, our only disappointmentwas that Ford doesn’t include a third row of seats in the Edge, unlike the seven-seat S-Max. However, even that complaint faded into the background with time; sitting on the Edge’s roomy back seat made it clear that Ford’s priority here was to offer enhanced rear passenger space rather than offer two barely usable third-row seats such as those found in the Skoda Kodiaq.
So, despite the Edge looking like a sub-standard large SUV on paper, in reality there’s no denying that it’s a truly likeable car underpinned by solid fundamentals. And that’s my abiding memory of the big Ford. It was good at so many things, but best of all, it was just a superb car to spend time in.
VAST LOAD BAY - Even compared to those of rivals, the Edge’s boot is truly massive.RIDE COMFORT - The Edge has no right to ride as well as it does, especially on 19in wheels.LUXURY PACK - £2000 Lux Pack, with its climate-controlled seats, was a life saver during the winter.
SIZE MATTERS - With the Edge measuring a little longer than a Volkswagen Touareg, it feels huge on country roads.TONNEAU COVER - It left a large gap between it and the back seats. Not ideal for security.
FORD EDGE 2.0 TDCI TITANIUM AWD AUTO
Price £34,495 Price as tested £39,215 Economy 37.0mpg Faults None Expenses None
Early fears that the Edge wouldn’t be practical enough for my requirements have proven unfounded.
In fact, I’ve found it to be a capable all-rounder. As the number of photo shoots ramped up on the approach to Christmas, not a day went by without the Edge being filled to the brim with people and my camera gear. Drop the rear seats and you’re presented with a flat floor and virtually no load lip, making it easy to load anything from awkward tripods to heavy lighting rigs.
Most impressive of all,though, was its ability to accommodate the nine sets of 222cm-long wooden slats required for my new living room floor. It wouldn’t have been possible with a front passenger, but with the rear bench folded in its 60/40 arrangement, there was still enough space for my wife to perch on the remaining rear seat. Perfect.
Elsewhere in the cabin, there’s quite a bit of storage space. The glovebox and front door bins are a decent size and there is a small cubbyhole beneath the air conditioning controls. Most useful of all is the central bin between the front seats. Despite having a 12V charger, aux-in and USB sockets in it, there’s still enough space for gloves, a hat and a large bottle of water.
Not that I necessarily need to wrap up warm. The Edge’s electrically adjustable, heated and cooled leather seats have made winter mornings all the more bearable. That said, I’m still unconvinced that the £2000 Lux Pack, which also includes a vast panoramic sunroof, is good value.
Still, after only a month of running it, the big Ford SUV is already proving itself to be a functional, practical and comfortable addition to the fleet. In fact, I’m already dreading the idea of having to let it go. Who’d have thought it?
FORD EDGE 2.0 TDCI TITANIUM AWD AUTO
Price £34,495 Price as tested £39,215 Economy 37.0mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 30.11.16
Read our previous reports here