“The bigger segments are naturally in a period of reduction, but that has mostly been felt in the Mondeo segment to make room for SUVs,” a source said.
“The SUVs complement the range, but they are not a replacement for the MPVs in Ford’s future.”
The Edge is described as an "upscale utility vehicle". It is an all-new design based on the same global C/D platform as the new Mondeo and S-Max models and will in effect become Ford’s European flagship.
Previewed in concept form at the LA motor show in November 2013, the prototype shown at the Paris motor show in 2014 indicates that Ford is planning to stick closely to the design of the concept. A large, multi-barred grille can be seen at the front, as well as a muscular front bumper and raked rear windscreen.
That large grille is believed to include new active shutters, which automatically open and close to help control temperatures inside the engine bay.
The Edge will slot in as the third SUV in Ford’s showroom line-up above the Kuga and the recently launched EcoSport. Ford says the utility segment of the European new car market grew from 10% in 2008 to 21% in 2013, with sales of the Kuga said to be up 38 per cent year on year for the first five months of 2014. The first generation of the Edge was a US-market-only car but was a significant success for the brand.
Ford says the Edge has been designed “from the ground up to be visually athletic and to meet high expectations for quality in Europe”. It describes the car as “upscale, refined, technologically advanced and spacious”.
Ford’s European marketing chief, Roelant de Waard, said the Edge offers more passenger space than similar-sized SUVs that cost considerably more. “The styling and suite of comfort, convenience and safety technologies rival the premium offerings in Europe,” he added. Ford also promises its characteristic handling prowess for the Edge.
The new technologies offered on the Edge include Adaptive Steering, Active Noise Cancellation and Front Split View Camera. Ford says its Adaptive Steering system continually changes the steering ratio with the vehicle speed, which it claims optimises the steering response anywhere between parking speeds and motorway cruising speeds.
The Active Noise Cancellation system features three cabin-mounted microphones which it uses to help generate opposing sound waves via the audio system’s speakers. These sound waves act as cancellation against unwanted engine and road noise in the Edge’s cabin.
The Front Split View camera system helps the driver at difficult junctions and when manoeuvring out of parking spaces. It uses individual camera units set to view at 180deg across the front of the car. Additionally, along with familiar technology such as automatic city braking and blind spot warning, one of the more unusual options are inflatable rear seatbelts, which have an airbag inside the webbing strap that runs across the passenger’s chest.
Like the Mondeo, the Edge uses a sophisticated independent rear suspension system. It also comes with the option of an all-wheel drive system that can incorporate Torque Vectoring Control and Curve Control.
Ford the engines on offer are both 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel units. One version, which produces 177bhp and 295lb ft, drives a six-speed manual gearbox, while the other makes 207bhp and 332lb ft, and drives a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Both versions are equipped with a stop-start system, and are claimed to deliver 48.7mpg and 149g/km CO2 output when fitted with standard 19in wheels. On 20in alloys, Ford's claimed CO2 figure rises to 152g/km and fuel economy falls to 47.9mpg.