What is it?
According to Ford’s own research, exterior design isn’t simply one of the factors that drives SUV purchasing decisions; it is actually the most important factor. Never mind the badge on the nose, the quality of the cabin or the anything remotely connected to the driving experience. No, what most people in the market for a large 4x4 care about first and foremost is the way a particular model looks.
Ford’s biggest and most expensive family car has been overhauled only a couple of years after it first arrived in the UK. In line with its own research, Ford has worked especially hard to improve on what one senior designer described as the outgoing version’s ‘heavy-handed’ styling. The sculpted bodywork and sharply raked C-pillars remain, but the front end is more sophisticated now while the rear loses its full-width light strip at a time when seemingly every other manufacturer is beginning to adopt them.
The cabin has been reskimmed with smarter door mouldings and a slick rotary gear selector that does away with the previous model’s woefully outdated gearlever. This updated version is equipped with all the usual driver assistance systems you’d expect of a new large car in 2018 - think blindspot assist, front collision avoidance and automatic parking - which Ford collectively labels Co-Pilot 360, and there’s also Ford Pass Connect, which incorporates a full suite of connectivity options.
The three-strong model range is made up of the Titanium from £36,995, the new ST-Line from £42,995 and the range-topping Vignale, tested here, which starts at £45,995. That’s more expensive than the cheapest Range Rover Velar. Delve a little way into the options list and a Ford Edge Vignale could well roll out of the showroom costing £50,000. Ford has a long history of offering large, grown-up family cars that sit atop its line-up, but to choose a top-spec Edge ahead of any number of SUVs from premium manufacturers such as Land Rover, Mercedes, Audi and BMW, you would need to be a particularly devoted Blue Oval fan, or otherwise be wholly unbothered by brand, image, impressing the neighbours and all the rest of it.