Ford has played it safe with the Edge, opting for the kind of comfort-orientated dynamic compromise that goes down well in the US.

Anyone moving up from the more firmly sprung Kuga may be surprised by the car’s laid-back, gentle-riding demeanour; likewise anyone who’s always bought a Ford because, for the past couple of decades, doing so has delivered a better-handling car than the class norm.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Progressive body control avoids head toss in the cabin as the car traverses changing cambers

The fact is, however, that big SUVs need to be comfortable – and a good-handling example is one that is not only compliant and refined but also precise, fluent, progressively controlled in its body movements and easy to place.

The Edge is most, if not quite all, of these things.

It’s certainly comfy – at least on 19in wheels. The Edge rides with a supple gait that smothers bigger bumps well, and while the suspension can fuss and check a little at low speeds, it rarely does so with any bite. The ride could be quieter, if only to match the refinement of the rest of the car, but it takes a coarse surface to really upset it.

The handling response, grip and body control are good enough to feel uncompromised by the suspension’s softness.

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It feels its size on a country lane but declines to roll much when you turn in, takes up your intended line quickly and then sticks to it, dealing with mid-corner bumps well.

It’s a shame, then, that Ford’s latest electromechanical power steering system shrouds all of that in a muddy, elastic feel and slightly pendulous, inconsistent weighting, just as it did with the Focus, but the failing was nothing if not predictable.

The bigger and heavier the car, the harder the power steering has to work – particularly in order to make for the lightness of control weight that luxury SUV drivers will expect. But it does mean that driving the Edge isn’t quite the simple, intuitive pleasure that it ought to be.

Having conducted itself quite tidily on the road, the Edge begins to show its limitations on a closed circuit. Admittedly that is in circumstances a long way divorced from those in which any owner will drive it, and even then it remains stable, controllable and secure.

The body roll that seemed minor on the road builds a bit as cornering speeds rise. It isn’t excessive or without purpose, because as the car leans, so it continues to develop greater lateral grip and be decently balanced.

The upshot is that you can carry plenty of speed if you need to, although the angle of the body does begin to take authority away from the steering, obliging you to do more in order to make the apex of any given corner.

The car’s four-wheel drive system delivers strong traction at all times, working pre-emptively to avoid throttle-on understeer on corner exit, although it’s nothing special in terms of the effect it has on the car’s handling.

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