Big SUVs now rely on much more than interior roominess, a lofty ride height and a bit of leather to deliver their distinctive sense of comfort and luxury, and Ford’s recent record on perceived cabin quality – compared even with the likes of Volkswagen and Nissan, never mind BMW, Audi and Mercedes – hasn’t been great.
True to expectations, the Edge’s cabin isn’t one that’ll instantly make you feel good about forgoing ownership of a premium-branded German SUV.
It’s the spectre of exactly these comparisons that must have discouraged Ford from putting up cars at a premium price point so often over the past 20 years, but they’re nonetheless justified.
The Edge’s centre console plastics look plain, grey and ordinary. Its dashboard mouldings are mostly soft-touch, its fixtures and fittings solid-feeling and its leathers reasonably tactile and well stitched. But the material richness and attention to detail you get in an Audi Q5 or Mercedes-Benz GLC are notable by their absence.
Every chrome trim – from gear selector surround to door card to starter button – is a slightly different shade of silver from the last, while the seats look more comfortable than they are and the Sync 3 infotainment system is short of the required standards of usability and responsiveness that sets the best in the class apart - think BMW's iDrive, Audi's MMI or Mercedes-Benz's Comand infotainment systems. However, we hasten to add that it's a vast improvement on Sync 2 in terms of layout, responsiveness and usability.
The Edge’s multimedia offering starts at a slightly basic level but doesn’t stay that way as you progress upwards through the range.
All models get a Sync 3 colour touchscreen display which, in the Titanium model’s case, is fitted with a nine-speaker sound system, sat nav and DAB radio. Having downloaded Ford AppLink to your smartphone, the system allows you to access the likes of Spotify through the head unit — but it’s nowhere near being a proper mirroring system.
ST-Line and Vignale-spec cars upgrade the infotainment system with fitted SD card-based satellite navigation and a Sony audio system— which we found to be rather unresponsive when programming and slightly flaky and short on detail with its mapping. Same story as with the S-Max, Mondeo and Focus, then.