The Ford Edge has gotten edgier for 2019.
The Edge has become the first crossover SUV in the Blue Oval group to wear the ST (Sport Technology) badge, featuring enhanced performance and sporty styling. Slapping that coveted badge on a midsize crossover may raise some eyebrows.
But it sure looks the part, with piano-black mesh grille (which also enables 40% better cooling) and its big brakes (rear rotors at 13.6 inches) with red calipers. It has aggressive headlights and neat hood creases and flares. "Ford Performance" is emblazoned on the door sills. Dual exhausts are integrated right into the bumper - all pretty cool.
And kudos to a new 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that puts out 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That's 20 more horses and 30 more pound-feet of torque than the previous Edge Sport. Step on the accelerator and 60 mph comes in 5.8 seconds, about a tenth better than the old Sport model. Top speed is listed at 130 mph.
Stiffer shocks (15% stiffer up front, 20% at rear) and a sport-tuned all-wheel-drive system add grip and minimize body roll. Ford's "Intelligent AWD" can send nearly 100% power to the front or rear, and its torque vectoring system can shift power from left to right for grip and stability on corners.
So what's missing? Well, the Edge somehow still lacks the energetic, horse-bucking feel we expect from an ST. First off, at 4,477 pounds, it's a big and heavy machine. That's great for families, with near class-leading cargo space, but it doesn't usually spell fun. It holds corners well enough but not with a mischievous grin.
The Sport button in the center of the rotary shifter gets it faster and louder, even if some of that engine noise is being piped in from the speakers. And an eight-speed transmission climbs through the gears smoothly though somewhat leisurely. Go with the paddle shifters for better throttle response and longer shift points, and more fun cornering.
But it's best to shop the Edge ST as a family crossover first, performance car second. It's quiet, comfortable and functional. It handles rougher roads wonderfully, even with the stiffer suspension. And it can tow nearly 3,500 pounds. Expect around 26 mpg on the highway, 19 mpg around town and 22 combined, according to EPA figures.
Inside, the five-seat Edge has ST logos on the seat backs and steering wheel. Bolstered leather seats with contrast stitching look good and can be heated and cooled. A panoramic sunroof is optional.
The gauge cluster looks a little dated but it does include ST-exclusive display modes for anyone thinking of weekend track runs. Ford's Sync3 infotainment system is among the best in the business - good graphics and easy to navigate through. Plus, with the FordPass Connect app, you can locate and start your car remotely or talk with Amazon's Alexa.
The Ontario, Canada-built Edge scores high on roominess when it comes to head- and legroom. There are sufficient storage cubbies, but a small phone slot in front of the center console is oddly placed and not easy to use when drink holders are in use.
Rear cargo space is generous: 40 cubic feet with the seats up, 73 cubes with them folded down. It has a hands-free lift gate, too - just swipe a foot under the bumper. But if space is a priority, consider that this is a five-seater and you could get a third row with more storage for about the same bucks. Options packages can hike the Edge's price over $50,000, too, well into the range of three-row SUVs.
A safety package ($5,585) includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go, evasive steering assist and lane centering, and automatic parallel parking. The bigger brakes come with 21-inch wheels for an extra $2,695.
The Edge offers comfort, decent roominess with a nice dose of performance on the side. Not a bad compromise for moms and dads who haven't forgotten that getting there is half the fun.
2019 Ford Edge ST (AWD)
As tested: $52,225 (Includes Equipment Group 401A with sunroof, evasive steering and park assist, $5,585; ST Performance Brake Package, $2,695)
What's all the excitement about? Edge wears the ST badge: More guts, power and swagger
Powertrain: 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, pumping out 335 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque
How's the performance? Improved acceleration - makes 60 mph in 5.8 seconds; All-wheel-drive and stiffer suspension improves handling
What about fuel economy? EPA-rated at 19 mpg city, 26 highway (22 combined)
ABOUT THE WRITER
Barry Spyker was the automotive columnist for The Miami Herald and editor of its Wheels & Waves section. Readers may send him email at email@example.com.