What is it?
The Ford Edge is the final piece in the Blue Oval's SUV puzzle, but as the head of the range it has been given the difficult remit of squaring up to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
We have some idea of what to expect from the Edge, as we have already been a passenger off-road and driven it on its chief rivals' patch, and on both occasions we were impressed. Now the big Ford has the chance to make a lasting impression as it tackles UK roads - specifically those in the Scottish Highlands.
To move this near two-tonne SUV, every Edge comes with four-wheel drive and a 2.0-litre diesel engine. There are two different power outputs and a choice between a six-speed manual and six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes. We have already driven the 207bhp bi-turbo Edge, and now it’s the turn of the single-turbo 177bhp version.
Ford believes that 50% of Edge sales will be top-spec Sport models, with an estimated 60% opting for the bi-turbo engine and the dual-clutch auto ’box.
What's it like?
Well, it isn't especially quick on faster stretches of road, but bearing in mind that the Edge weighs nearly two tonnes and is marginally longer than a Volkswagen Touareg, that's not really surprising. But in and around town the engine feels more than sprightly enough to keep up with traffic.
Out on the open road the 177bhp engine needs to be worked quite hard to build up momentum, but at least the slick six-speed manual gearbox gives you the flexibility to do so. Surprisingly that's not to the detriment of cabin noise, but whether that's down to Ford’s clever noise-cancelling software, which produces opposing sound waves from the speakers, the double-glazing or good old hard engineering is hard to say. Probably a combination of all three, but the upshot is that you barely notice the engine whether you're in slow traffic or cruising on the motorway.
Even so, we'd say that the 207bhp diesel engine is easier to live with on a day-to-day basis, giving the extra poke needed to ensure the Edge has the added urgency for overtaking.
The Sport's suspension is largely quiet and comfortable, although over particularly bad broken surfaces it does allow vibrations to reverberate around the cabin, while bigger potholes and drain covers cause a sizeable thud.
The suspension feels happier at higher speeds, at which it is better able to dampen the road's imperfections. Off-road on loose gravel tracks it remains relatively composed, and even with its sport-tuned suspension the Edge doesn't crash and bang from rut to rut quite as you may imagine.
Back on the road, it feels less at home than a BMW X3 when the going gets twisty. Despite steering being weighty and direct, the Edge does lean heavily in the corners, although its all-wheel drive system ensures everything is kept in check.
The amount of space inside will never be a problem for Edge owners, and using the S-Max’s blueprint means it can gain some valuable points back from the X3 and Q5. Cabin and boot space both outstrip the Edge’s German rivals and it is filled with useful and different-shaped cubby-holes.
There is plenty of space up front and making it easy to get settled and comfortable, while the rear seats come with plenty of leg and head room adn will accomodate two adults, although if you opt for the panoramic sunroof then expect head room to be compromised slightly. The interior is well laid out and appointed, but it doesn’t quite have the premium feel offered by its closest rivals.
Should I buy one?
By attempting to break the monopoly that Audi and BMW have built up, Ford has given itself a tough task with the Edge. It's a valiant effort, with a practical interior, space in abundance and distinctive styling. And on this evidence it's understandable why Ford believes most will opt for the more powerful diesel engine, because it gives the greater flexibility.
The question is can theEdge lure buyers away from Audi and BMW dealerships? That depends on your version of premium. But Ford has been pushing for motorists to unlearn what they know, and with the Edge expected to have strong residuals and low PCP payments compared to its nearest rivals, we certainly think it's deserving of your attention.
Ford Edge 2.0 TDCi 180 Sport
Where Scotland; On sale Now; Price £34,500; Engine 4 cyls, 1997cc, diesel; Power 177bhp; Torque 295lb ft; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1949kg; 0-62mph 9.9sec; Top speed 124mph; Fuel economy 48.7mpg (combined); CO2 rating/BIK 149g/km, 20%