What is it?
Fancy living life on the edge? Well, Ford is hoping you will. No discredit to the great marque, but it’s an edgy decision choosing the new Edge over more premium SUV rivals such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Would you be willing to swap four sparkly silver rings or the blue and white roundel for Ford's blue oval on the front of your coveted new SUV?
What if it offered more space, more equipment and better refinement, all for a sensible price? Then would you take the plunge?
The new Edge does offer all those things and plenty more besides. Take, for example, the noise-cancelling software, which uses microphones dotted around the cabin to sample the engine’s thrum before producing opposing sound waves, played through the cabin’s speakers to make the engine sound smoother. And there’s the optional active steering, which uses an electric motor in the steering wheel hub to add or reduce the lock that you apply through the column. It makes the steering more direct at parking speeds but less twitchy on the motorway. Clever stuff indeed.
All versions get four-wheel drive and use a 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is offered in two states of tune: 177bhp from a single-turbo unit coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, or a twin-turbo version with 207bhp and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The less powerful engine in entry-level Zetec trim costs £29,995. That’s about £4000 cheaper than a basic X3 but it comes with 19in alloys, a rear-view camera and a heated windscreen. You also get safety systems such as emergency city braking, lane assist and traffic sign recognition that are pricey options on its rivals.
Most customers are expected to go for Sport trim though, with the more powerful engine we’re testing here. At £36,750 it's pricier than the X3 or Q5, but you get that dual-clutch auto, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate and sat-nav. Add in 20in alloys, heated seats and that fancy adaptive steering system, and you've got a compelling package.
What's it like?
The Edge is a decent plodder for daily use, but even in this most powerful form it’s not quick. You need to really wind it up if you want to overtake on a country road, and give yourself a healthy gap. The gearbox doesn’t help, hampered by its six ratios – an X3 has eight – and a lazy bent compared to other dual-clutch designs.
When you’re forced to rev it out, though, it is smooth. Is that thanks to the trick noise-cancelling software, a naturally refined diesel, or the acoustic glass that also comes on this Sport model? A bit of each, probably, but the upshot is that if you’re pottering around town or cruising on the motorway you barely notice the engine, and there’s little road noise on 20in wheels, and there’s hardly any wind noise for that matter.
The suspension is also quiet and very comfortable. Okay, in the main our German test route was smooth, but there were patchy sections that the Edge pattered over without a crash or thud.
Sadly our route was also congested and plastered with 60km/h speed limits, so can we give a definitive handle on its handling? No, we can’t. The Edge felt heavy and less happy to change direction than an X3 – at nearly two tonnes it’s no lightweight - but it steered directly and wasn’t obviously wallowy through the bends.
What’s probably more pertinent to most prospective buyers is how much space the Edge offers; more than its rivals is the answer. My six-foot-plus frame fitted with room to spare on the comfortable front seats, while in the rear there’s plenty of leg room and space to fit three abreast, although the optional panoramic roof makes head room a little tight. The boot is huge, and easily eclipses those of its rivals.
The Edge uses the same basic interior layout as an S-Max, so it’s easy to use with loads of useful storage. Does it feel as premium as an X3 or Q5? No, but it definitely doesn’t feel cheap, either.
Should I buy one?
If we said the Edge is a barnstorming five-star car, would you rush to your nearest Ford dealer to order one? Some of you may, but many would still pop to Audi or BMW to sample their coffee and sales patter. And who could blame you? We’ve fallen for these brands because in the main they produce the goods.
Ford knows it’s got a battle on to compete with that, but it has produced a good car. No, it's not a class leader, but it is one that deserves your full attention. And it’s not just a cheap alternative: objectively it’s bigger, more refined and better equipped than its rivals. The big question remains: will that push you over the edge and tempt you into actually buying one?
Ford Edge 2.0 TDCi 210 Sport Powershift
Location Munich; On sale now; Price £36,750; Engine 4 cyls, 1997cc, bi-turbo, diesel; Power 207bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 332lb ft at 2000-2250rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1949kg; 0-62mph 9.4sec; Top speed 131mph; Economy 47.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 152g/km, 30%