Long-term test review: Ford Edge SUV
Final report: the Ford Edge SUV has undeniable appeal, but it struggles to disguise its American roots
The Edge is a big, comfortable car that is a great companion cruising on the motorway. Elsewhere, though, there are too many compromises to allow it to battle for a place at the top of the large SUV class.
Mileage: 14,112Economy: 39.4mpg
Some things make more sense in America. That’s the overriding impression left by the Ford Edge as we bid it farewell after a year on our fleet.
As the US political scene has shown over the past two years, some of our American friends have very different tastes and needs to us – and in many respects the big SUV reflects this.
And while the Edge may not be quite as polarising as President Trump, there’s no denying it’s a car that’s more at home across the pond, as you would expect given that it was developed there.
Take the styling, for starters. There’s a chromey brashness about it that those of us who prefer to fly under the radar find a tad unappealing. The dimensions, too, are clearly more suited to a country where there is a vast amount of space, rather than our congested island.
And on the move, it’s clear that the Edge was designed to be in its element cruising in straight lines, on the freeways of Idaho or Iowa. This has its benefits on long motorway trips, as I discovered on a couple of excursions to the north-east of Scotland.
Ploughing up the M6 and M74, it proved perfectly good family transport, with loads of space for my daughters to relax in the back, and the 207bhp four-cylinder diesel engine more than capable of propelling the hefty 1,949kg Edge along at an adequate pace.
On tight B-roads, though, it feels leaden-footed, offering little in the way of fun, and in town it’s hampered by those vast dimensions. The picture on the opposite page highlights an all-too- common occurrence – manoeuvring into tight car park bays is possible, but getting out of the car, due to its 1,928mm width, is extremely difficult.
At £42,020 (with options fitted), our car isn’t cheap, either, although the Titanium model comes generously equipped. Some of the kit is really worthwhile; other bits less so. I was impressed with the Sony DAB Premium Audio with Navigation (£450) – it was intuitive to use, sounded excellent and provided sensible routing.
Specify this, and you also have the option of choosing the Lux Pack (£2,000), which we did. This offers some real pampering by way of variable climate leather seats, a panoramic roof – which gives the cabin an airy feel – and heated rear seats. This is a box worth ticking, if you have the cash.
I’d also be tempted to part with the £675 required for the Exclusive Ruby Red paint. It helps the Edge stand out well from the hordes of silver and white cars on the road. I’d be less inclined to pay £175 for the Inflatable Rear Seatbelts, though. They’re designed to offer extra protection in a crash, which is fine in theory, but they’re chunky items which are harder to fit into place, which means using them becomes quite tiresome.
I wasn’t a fan of the Lane Keeping Aid, which is also standard on Titanium trim, either. Switch lanes too quickly and it seems to assume that you are tired and flashes a driver fatigue alert. This became so intrusive that I eventually disabled it, which defeats the purpose of having it in the first place.
We had one or two reservations about the quality, as well. You don’t need to look too far to find some hard plastics – on the door panels for example – while by the end of the Edge’s 12 months with us there were one or two unexplained noises.
So all in all, a bit of a mixed bag. The Edge has its strong points, but as with President Trump, I suspect some of its appeal is simply lost in translation.
Ford Edge: fourth report
The Ford Edge SUV scores on a lengthy trek to Scotland
Mileage: 13,823 Economy: 36.7mpg
The Ford Edge hasn’t always scored with everyone during its time on our fleet – but it hit the back of the net when I took it on a 500-mile trip from North London to my home town of Montrose in Angus a few weeks ago.
The motorway is where this car is in its element as a spacious, comfortable, family-orientated cruiser. Straight roads and big mileages are its forte – no surprise, really, given it’s a car that was developed in the USA.
One thing I’d been concerned about before taking the keys was how family-friendly it would prove – specifically the £175 inflatable rear seatbelts, which I had problems with when I ran a Mondeo for a while in 2015. Although they offer safety benefits in a crash, they weren’t compatible with my younger daughter’s child seat, which meant getting another – a frustrating exercise.
Having just taken delivery of Cybex’s excellent Solution Q3-Fix – a fantastically well made, high-back seat that retails for around £190 – for my eight-year-old Isla, I was keen to avoid a repeat in the Edge. The Q3-Fix attaches via Isofix points, so there was no problem there, but I was mightily relieved that the belt itself was long enough to loop around Isla and keep her in place.
Back in London, the Edge’s sheer size is a help – and a hindrance. I’m doing up my new house at the moment, and the 602-litre boot has proven invaluable for carrying all sorts of materials around. But at 1,928mm wide the car feels really ungainly on city streets and I’ve had a sharp intake of breath on a couple of occasions when oncoming traffic has looked likely to scrape the side.
The Edge is much more at home out of town.
Ford Edge: third report
Ford Edge SUV has some useful tricks up its sleeve, but its bulk can be a problem at times
Mileage: 11,443Economy: 38.7mpg
Just how close to the edge can Ford’s big SUV go? Certainly not quite as far as a Discovery Sport, but over the past few months it’s clear to me that it’ll take you as close as you could reasonably want.
While the sales brochure makes passing reference to the Edge’s intelligent four-wheel-drive system, the reality is that its safety, comfort and practicality will be more important to most buyers.
Nevertheless, it has a reasonable amount of ground clearance, as well as electronics that can send torque to the front or rear wheels when needed. That means the Ford is perfectly adequate for the mild off-roading expected of it.
That helps ensure the Edge is great for family adventures. Its styling might make it the textbook US ‘soccer mom’ car, but it hides some touches that make life with the big Ford exceptionally easy.
The Edge’s doors cover the sills, meaning they stay clean and dry to avoid transferring mud on to your trousers. The boot opens electrically via a press of a button or by waggling your foot under the bumper, and there are parking cameras front and rear.
It’s an equally effective package inside, where there’s space for a small umbrella behind the centre console and the leather seats fitted as part of the £2,000 Lux Pack are heated. More than all this, my four-year-old daughter loves the high-up seating position and the opening panoramic sunroof.
There’s certainly no shortage of interior space, and nor should there be in such a huge car. Impressively, there’s enough room for an adult to sit between my daughter’s high-back booster seat and my son’s baby seat. One word of caution though: the optional £175 inflatable rear seatbelts make it slightly more awkward to fasten as they don’t reel like a conventional belt.
While the space is useful, the car’s overall width isn’t. In parking spaces its 1,928mm is exacerbated by thick doors, which require the snakehipped ability of a Strictly Come Dancing contestant to negotiate. Far better to climb in, move the Edge out of the space and load up with passengers and luggage.
That width counts against it on narrow country lanes, too, but at least the lofty driving position enables you to peer over hedgerows to spot oncoming traffic.
One of the Edge’s biggest failings is that some of the interior trim feels flimsy. It’s certainly not what you’d find in a similarly priced, if more sparsely equipped Audi Q5. The primary culprits on the trim front are the door panels, centre console and a surprisingly cheap-feeling gearstick.
Still, with the exception of the rear door stays, nothing feels ready to fail even after more than 11,000 miles of wear and tear we’ve given the Edge so far.
Ford Edge: second report
Ford Edge SUV’s tech gives our man a quiet life, but its sheer size still holds it back
Mileage: 7,842Economy: 36.1mpg
If only the Active Noise Control in the Ford Edge worked to eliminate all unwanted noises... sadly, it only cancels out wind, road and engine roar, but it does it effectively. Microphones inside the car monitor the nasty stuff, and the audio system then generates sound waves that are played out through the speakers to cancel them – all without interfering with the decent sounds from the Sony stereo. The Edge is a seriously quiet and clever car.
It’s also huge – plenty of other large SUVs fail to offer the amount of space in the back that the Ford does. With three adult-sized children to carry on occasion, the Edge does it better than many – although the £175 optional inflatable rear seatbelts can be a bit of a pain to click into place.
The boot is similarly large, making the Edge a firm favourite with the Auto Express team when it comes to holidays, cycling trips or just moving stuff. And it’s the longer journeys where the car really excels – the quietness, space and comfort on the motorway really come into their own.
As does the kit list – Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is easy to use and comes with Apple CarPlay included (which makes many of the standard functions obsolete), while there’s plenty of standard safety kit, too. I’ve also found the keyless tailgate, which you wave your foot under the bumper to open, surprisingly useful.
But as is often the way when you knock on the door of the premium world, the options on our model are costly. They total the best part of £6,000, taking the price of our test car to a grand total of £41,545. That puts the Edge up against some serious rivals with – let’s face it – more prestigious badges.
That’s not to say the Ford isn’t well built – it’s nicely put together, with plenty of squishy plastics that have impressed friends. However, in day-to-day driving on smaller, more congested country, town and city roads, the Edge just feels, well, big.
It’s not only the size that’s an issue – the inadequacies of the ride come to the fore. My local roads, I’m sure, are some of the worst in the country for potholes, and they’re best avoided in the Edge – ouch!
But if there’s space to swerve around them, the Edge will lean and wallow before you’re back on track. Similarly, you’ll be hanging on to the steering wheel if you take a roundabout or sweeping bend swiftly.
That all points back to the car’s origins – this is an SUV designed for the US market. It looks it, too, although I quite like the big, bold chrome grille. For long trips, the Edge is superb – plus reasonably efficient. But unless space is your ultimate goal, there are better SUVs for the school run.
Ford Edge: first report
Ford's big SUV, the Edge, joins our fleet to see if it can match up to the existing 4x4 competition
Mileage: 4,352Economy: 35.3mpg
So can the Edge start to position Ford as a major player in the lucrative SUV sector? We’ve added one to our fleet to find out.
The Edge is a product of the ‘One Ford’ global strategy, so it’s no surprise there’s a distinct North American look and feel to it. From a quality point of view, though, you’d struggle not to think the car was European.
However, catch a glimpse of the Edge in a shop window as you pass by and it’s a large car, dominated by a very American chrome grille. Still, it’s not unique; with my mind elsewhere, I recently approached a Hyundai Santa Fe thinking it was the Edge – they’re quite similar!
Our car is the Titanium model – one up from Zetec with a similarly-priced Sport model alongside it and the Vignale luxury special at the top of the range. At £35,845 and with plenty of luxury and safety kit on board, it’s not bad value, while some choice options like the £2,000 Lux Pack give you exactly that; a touch of luxury.
With the addition of adaptive LED lights (£1,075), adaptive cruise control (£500), that lovely Ruby Red metallic paint (£675) and a few other added extras, the price tops £41,000. Making a comparison spec for spec with the posher Vignale model, a difference of less than £2,000 is a bit too close for comfort; we’d be tempted to look longingly at the Vignale and haggle.
We collected our car from the impressive Trust Ford showroom on the Edgware Road in North London – the largest Ford dealership in Europe.
New car sales business manager Daniel Neal introduced me to our Edge and took time to talk me through everything from Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment to the powered tailgate, which can be operated by waving your foot under the rear bumper. It’s already proven its worth when carrying my Under-16s football team’s gear to matches; of course, my two sons never help with this.
They are happy in the back, though, because the width of the car means plenty of space. But while the inflatable rear seatbelts (£175) are a great safety feature, their hefty buckles are difficult to clip into place.
As well as ferrying my family around, the Edge has been used by my colleague James Burnay for his annual skiing holiday, where its space and comfort came to the fore. The car excels on longer trips; it’s quiet (helped by Active Noise Control to cancel unwanted noise) and will cruise comfortably.
Away from the motorway, there’s no disguising the Ford’s size. It’s a big old beast to manoeuvre around town, while the ride feels a little bit lumpy, too. The steering isn’t especially responsive, but take it easy and the automatic box slips through gears easily and the diesel engine is reasonably hushed.
The Edge may be easy to live with, but its biggest problem is the choice in the SUV sector – including some hugely talented rivals. So let’s see if it can worm its way into our affections in the coming months.