The Ford Edge is a popular, quick, and genteel crossover that slots in size between the Escape and Explorer. Known for its user-friendly driving dynamics, it’s been around for 12 years, now in the fifth year of its second generation. For 2019 it gets a long list of improvements, including handling tweaks, a refined cabin with better controls, new 8-speed automatic transmission, 5-horsepower increase in the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a 20-horsepower increase in the twin-turbo V-6, and a suite of safety technology in every model, including forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, active lane control and blind-spot monitors.
There’s also a new model, ST, that gets a sport-tuned suspension and transmission, sport seats, black trim, and red-and-black badges. It uses that twin-turbo V-6, and is intended to run with Lincoln and Lexus crossovers. That competition is a bit more exciting than the rivals for the 4-cylinder Edge, including the likes of Hyundai Santa Fe, for example.
The old naturally aspirated V-6 has been dropped from the engine lineup. In its place is the 2.0-liter turbo-4 now making 250 horsepower, mated to an 8-speed automatic, with either front- or all-wheel drive.
The Edge ST replaces last year’s Edge Sport, which also used the twin-turbo V-6, but it’s been improved for the ST. At 2.7 liters, it makes 335 horsepower, and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under 6.0 seconds.
The Edge is appreciated for its smooth ride, even with the big 20- or 21-inch wheels on the top two models.
The EPA rates the turbo-4 Edge at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, 25 combined with front-wheel drive, or 21/28/23 mpg for all-wheel drive. With the twin-turbo V-6 in the ST, those numbers drop to 19/26/21 mpg, on premium fuel.
The NHTSA gives the Edge a five-star overall rating for crash performance, with five stars on every test and four stars for calculated rollover resistance.
The IIHS gives the Edge its top â€œGoodâ€ rating in most of its test, but just â€œAcceptableâ€ in small-overlap driver-side impacts.
Edge models are SE, SEL, Titanium, and ST trims. The standard equipment list is thorough.
The $30,990 Edge SE has cloth upholstery, cruise control, power features, air conditioning, and an AM/FM/CD player with Bluetooth audio streaming. For 2019 it gains an 8-speed automatic, in-car wireless data (with subscription fees), Sync 3 infotainment, satellite radio, LED headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
On the $34,085 SEL, Ford adds rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, automatic climate control, and power front seats. Major options include heated seats, navigation, and B&O Play audio.
The $39,545 Edge Titanium has leather upholstery, HD radio, a hands-free tailgate, wireless smartphone charging, B&O premium sound, and remote start. Options include heated rear seats, cooled front seats, navigation, a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control, a tow package, and 20-inch wheels.
The $44,345 Edge ST gains a sport-tuned suspension and transmission, and sport seats. Options include a performance brake package with 21-inch summer tires. With all the options it can hit $54,000, so it not only competes with Lincoln and Lexus on the road, but also in price.
The styling is uncluttered and spare, and gently BMW X5-ish, especially in the back, whether that’s deliberate or not. Its reserve is unique in the Ford family of six SUVs, which is definitely deliberate.
Its good looks are generic. Edge designers go along with some of the more popular global design themes, while avoiding the trendy ones. No floating roof panels here. The six-sided grille could come from a European carmaker.
The elements fit together smoothly. The pillars are substantial but not too thick, the glass is rakish but not extreme, and the grille doesn’t try to make the Edge look like either a truck or a wagon.
On the ST, black trim runs down the sills and gloss-black wheels stand out in a subtle but still striking kind of way. We would say they make the Edge look lower, but at 20 or 21 inches, that’s not possible. If they were chrome, it would look ridiculous.
The cabin has been dressed up, without drama, no lush layers of wood like on the Mercedes GLC. The mix of tightly grained black plastic and brushed metallic trim is smooth, if less distinctive than before. The best part might be a return to knobs and switches, after a fling with touch-swipe controls in the prior version.
Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system is a major improvement over past MyFord Touch systems. It’s easier to operate, has better voice recognition, and more streamlined menus, although its low screen resolution is disappointing.
There’s ample storage for small things, although it’s not convenient everywhere. A bin behind and under the climate controls is hard to reach. The door pockets are deep but a bit narrow, so it takes a skinny arm to reach bottom; same for the center console, which might be perfect for flowers in a vase. Inside, there’s with wireless phone charging on some models.
The cloth seats in the SE could use more bolstering and leg support in the front buckets, and thicker cushions front and rear, where headroom is tight for taller people, largely because the seat is raised for better forward visibility.
The Titanium and especially the ST seats are much better. The ST sport seats are power-adjustable, and snug up around the driver and front passenger.
The step-in height is fine, and rear door openings are wide. The three-person flat rear bench allows the middle passenger to slide across easily, although contour in the rear seat will be missed on long trips. Some padding at the front under the lower thighs make it more comfortable than the bench in the middle row of the larger Explorer.
With no third row, the rear passengers have very good leg and foot room. The available panoramic roof will bring down headroom when it’s closed, but the reclining backrests help.
There’s plenty of space inside for five passengers with cargo; behind the rear seat there’s 39.2 cubic feet, and it folds nearly flat to provide 73.4 cubic feet. Some rivals have clever two-level cargo floors, but the Edge doesn’t really need that.
Unlike the base engines in the smaller Ford crossovers, the standard 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the Edge has enough pull to make its mark. Now making 250 horsepower and mated to a new 8-speed automatic, it can shoot the Edge from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, while getting 25 miles per gallon with front-wheel drive. And it can tow 3,500 pounds with the tow package.
The ST gets the hot twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 making 335 horsepower, which is 20 more horsepower than it made last year. Its 8-speed automatic shifts quicker than that in the turbo-4, and it has paddle shifters. It can punch it way to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds, and keep punching through the middle range, but it’s not a high-rpm engine.
The exhaust note is noticeably louder than the turbo-4. There is a Sport mode that amplifies that sound and pipes it into the cabin–too much, we think.
With an independent suspension on standard 17-inch wheels and tires, with electric power steering, the Edge delivers a well-controlled ride, good body control and precise road feel. Better than the Hyundai Santa Fe, a rival that’s praised for its handling. It’s much like the soon-to-be-departed Ford Fusion sedan, in the way it steers crisply into corners and tracks easily down the interstate, and in the way it holds a tight rein on body motion over bumpy roads.
The Edge’s brakes can seem a little touchy at first, but they provide strong, reassuring stopping power.
The Titanium’s 20-inch wheels that don’t inhibit the well-weighted steering and on-center feel, once it gets up to moderate speeds. Ford had offered an adaptive-steering system on the Edge in prior years, but it’s been deleted, since its benefits in low-speed parking-lot maneuvers were minimal.
The Edge ST shines on curvy roads. It uses its own 20-inch wheels and tiresâ€”21-inchers and summer tires on some editions. Sport mode stiffens the suspension adds resistance to the steering. It’s very firm, but choppy pavement doesn’t upset it.
The 2019 Edge, with its substantial improvements, is well worth considering. It’s always been handsome, and now it has a cleaner cabin, stronger powertrain, better infotainment and impressive standard safety equipment. The new ST isn’t cheap, but it has a killer motor with sharp paddle-shifting 8-speed automatic, and can compete with the best European and Japanese sport-SUV crossovers.