Ford’s latest performance-based offering is not a Focus or a Mustang. Instead, it’s the new 2019 Edge ST, a tidy SUV engineered to combine utility with driving excitement. Not your normal hot rod, the Edge ST creates fun factor with a 335 horsepower twin-turbo V6 that boasts 380 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost engine puts the power down through an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system that’s tuned for impressive performance and excellent driver feel.
To see if the Edge ST hit the mark, we headed to Park City, Utah and spent two days reviewing the boosted cruiser on highways, canyon roads, and on a tricky Autocross track.
One of the biggest challenges Ford faced was to infuse the larger vehicle (it’s not a Fiesta or Focus) with adequate “ST” acceleration, handling and braking. To rightfully wear the ST moniker, Edge needed the right DNA. “ST is much more than a badge,” said Hau Ti Tang, Ford Global Head of Product Development and Purchasing. “Clearly it’s a differentiated series—it has all the right appointments, but it’s an experience. It’s something that gives our enthusiast customers what they want, which is the joy of driving.”
Tang is right. Before Ford Performance engineers stamp a vehicle with ST badges, it must meet self-imposed criteria. It must have suitable driving dynamics, supreme braking capability, enhanced cooling, proper seats, performance-based transmission and shift quality, and most importantly, horsepower and aggressive sound.
It must also look good, so the Edge ST was updated with sporty styling. Up front, there’s a wide mesh grille for optimal cooling, and astute enthusiasts will recognize the subtle Shelby GT350 cues on the lower front fascia. The huge grille allows 70 percent more airflow than the Edge Titanium fascia to support the ST engine and transmission coolers that keep things at operating temperature while you’re enjoying boost. The rockers feature deep side skirts and the rear gets smart-looking dual-exhaust outlets. There’s also smattering of high-gloss ebony black, which provides a nice contrast to the Ford Performance Metallic Blue or White Platinum Metallic paint, and all the chrome trim has been replaced with black. Lastly, unique 21-inch wheels are available, along with Pirelli tires, and an optional performance-braking package. Every Edge ST can tow up to 3,500 lbs. thanks to the standard towing package.
“It had to have performance that delivered on the ST brand,” said Tom Ozog, chief engineer Ford Edge. “It also had to give you an engaging driving experience and have style on the exterior and interior,” he added. “So, we started out with the 2.7L twin-turbo EcoBoost engine. You get the acceleration that you want and need, and you can really enjoy the driving experience. We’ve done a number of things on the chassis, especially when you look at the underbody. We’ve taken our front stay-bar from a tubular design to a solid. We’ve taken our springs and stiffened them 10-percent in the front and 20-percent on the rear, and the team has also changed the rear shocks from a twin-tube to a mono-tube design. A lot of what we’re doing with dampening control is to give you good body control and better overall driving dynamics,” Ozog stated. “For braking performance, it was very important to have good thermal efficiency, so the front and rear rotors are both vented. And we’ve upsized the rear rotor from a 316 mm to 345 mm,” he added.
Formerly, ST models were only available on select cars, but with Ford switching its focus to Crossover and Sport Utility Vehicles (save for the Mustang), we believe the Detroit automaker will begin offering more models like the Edge ST and that’s one reason we were anxious to get behind the wheel.
Horsepower By Boost
Under the hood is a 2.7L DOHC 24-valve EcoBoost V6 that’s enhanced with a pair of turbos developing the aforementioned 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. A forged crank and steel rods lives in a 60-degree compacted graphite aluminum block with lightweight, cast, high-strength pistons that have a low-friction skirt coating and steel ring carriers. Compression ratio is 10:1. The block is mated to aluminum cylinder heads that are fed by a split-plenum composite intake and the turbochargers are integrated into the exhaust manifolds.
Mashing the gas from a dead stop gets you moving quickly, and the 8-speed auto, which features a 4.48:1 First gear ratio, upshifts nicely, but it’s not lightning quick. Ford claims the 0-60 time is 5.2 seconds and the top speed is a brisk 130 mph. This should equate to a high-13-second quarter-mile around 95 mph. We found the power was enough performance for spirited driving, but wanted a little more off-the-line grunt. And keep in mind, Park City, Utah is located up in the clouds at 5,000-8,000 feet above seal level. And… finding a much quicker in-segment vehicle will set you back far more than the base MSRP of $42,335 on the Edge ST. In fact, Ford Performance purchased a Audi SQ5 and Porsche Macan to benchmark the competition.
One thing we really liked was the front seats. They are styled nicely and provide a fantastic mix of comfort and bolstering. The perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel is also nice and felt comfortable in our hands. Ford has tuned the Edge ST to give you firmer response from the steering, and the ST suspension was flat in the sweeping corners with a nice amount of balance and control.
Tapping the “S” in the rotary shifter engaged Sport Mode, which flipped the digital portion of the instrument cluster to show us a tachometer. It also gave us faster throttle response, more aggressive shifting and it held each gear longer to keep the engine in the meat of the curve. We also liked the rev-matching on downshifts and the slight burble from the twin pipes, even if some of the sound was pumped through the speakers. In Sport Mode you can also use the paddle shifts or let the computer do the work.
Furthermore, Edge ST is outfitted for dynamic handling with selectable traction control. “With the simple press of a button, drivers can use electronic stability control to select one of four AdvanceTracTM modes,” said Ozog. “By selecting normal, traction control off, AdvanceTrac sport/track, or AdvanceTrac off, drivers can create the driving experience they desire. Drivers can also manually shift using the steering wheel-mounted SelectShift® paddle shifters.”
Technology and Connectivity
Along with performance, today’s buyers expect their vehicle to help them connect to the world. Ford has packed the five-door full of technology that’s will enhance your driving experience with connectivity and fantastic features. “Ford Edge, the pioneering mid-size SUV that has introduced Ford drivers to technology such as available Enhanced Active Park Assist and a 180-degree front camera, is at it again,” said Cristina Aquino, Edge brand marketing manager. “The entire 2019 Edge lineup makes a host of driver-assist technologies standard, and introduces the intelligence of all-wheel-drive disconnect to Ford vehicles,” added Aquino.
Edge becomes the first Ford SUV to offer Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of five driver-assist technologies that come standard on every Edge model. In addition, standard equipment on the new Edge includes FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that gives internet access to up to 10 devices.* Using the FordPass app, drivers can also use their smartphone to start, lock, unlock and locate their Edge. Available SYNC® 3 with AppLink is compatible with Ford+Alexa and Waze.
The package includes:
Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, which includes pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and dynamic brake support
Blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert
Rear backup camera with built-in lens washer
Auto high-beam headlamps
The new Edge also offers the following Ford driver-assist technologies:
Standard on all 2019 Edge models, post-collision braking can help reduce the impact of a potential secondary collision by automatically applying moderate brake pressure when an initial collision event is detected
Evasive steering assist, an available feature, can assist the driver to avoid a collision with a slower stopped vehicle ahead by providing steering support when the collision cannot be avoided by braking alone.
Also available is adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centering. ACC with stop-and-go can help bring the vehicle to a stop when traffic slows, and can accelerate back up to the pre-set speed within three seconds if the vehicle in front moves forward. With lane-centering, the feature also helps the vehicle remain centered in its lane
Inside, a redesigned center console is accentuated by an all-new rotary gearshift dial that frees up space, allows easier access to the available wireless charging pad, and enhances the vehicle’s modern, sophisticated feel.
We tried the variety of driver assist features and found the adaptive cruise and lane centering to work exceptionally well. While not an autonomous system, the pairing allowed for reduced fatigue on the highway.
Standard on any all-wheel-drive-equipped 2019 Edge or Edge ST is all-wheel-drive disconnect. This first-for-Ford technology uses information received from dozens of high-tech sensors and artificial intelligence to determine within 10 milliseconds whether all-wheel drive is needed, and then seamlessly shift between FWD and AWD without the need for driver input.
The system interacts with the traction control system to detect wheel slip, and receives inputs from the anti-lock brakes to learn if that system is active. It even detects if the windshield wipers are on, whether the Edge is towing a trailer, and the outside temperature. All-wheel drive equipped Edge models have EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive vehicles have EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined. Edge ST, with standard all-wheel drive, has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/21 mpg combined.
A number of equipment upgrades are available for Edge ST, including an ST Performance Brake Package, Cold Weather Package, Convenience Package, 21-inch wheels and summer-only tires. When fully loaded, Edge ST reaches a maximum price of $54,010.
Day Two of our Ford ST test drive gave journalists a chance to compete in a really fun autocross competition. A total of 80 scribes, V-bloggers, and photographers jumped at the challenge, and Ford threw us a curve. This was no ordinary autocross. Being the Edge ST is, well, a SUV, Ford added the challenge of a pit stop where we had to exit the vehicle, load boxes, then hop back in for a second hot lap. This required driver to complete a hot lap, pull in the pits, get out, and load boxes in the rear of the ST. Then, quickly shut the hatch, hop in, click the belt, and run another hot lap. This required tight maneuvering, and perfect choreography. Any shot at the title would require a squeaky clean run because knocking off a cone or failing to load the boxes came with huge time penalties.
The stakes were high (relatively speaking!); the top three winners (from each of the three waves) would take home prizes like an Alexa or wireless headphones. The grand prize for the overall quickest time was a giant 12-foot stuffed bear that Ford used in recent 2019 Ford Edge TV commercials.
We got our chance on the final day, so we had a good idea how quick we’d need to run. The time to beat was one minute flat and a few seconds, set early in the day. Our first attempt was a 1:05:66. That run was followed by a 1:26, as your humble scribe fumbled with the hatch button while opening and closing it. On track the ST is a confident performer. We experienced a bit of understeer at the limit, but we expected it considering the damp conditions and ultra tight corners. It’s not likely you’ll cut corners so aggressively, unless you plan a day at your own autocross track. Acceleration was pretty good on the course, especially once the boost came on, and the brakes (we had the upgrade) worked amazingly well. A lone ST was used all day, with dozens of journos cycling through, and it never blinked in terms of brake fade or overheating.
Thankfully the Autocross was open all day so we came back after lunch for another attempt. When it was our turn, we climbed in and ripped off a quicker 1:03:45, still with some fumbling. Our driving was smooth, but we botched the pit stop, again. Not satisfied, we gave it one more try, and that run was a winner. We slithered through the course, somehow missed all the cones, rocked the pit stop liked a seasoned F1 team, well, not exactly, but either way, it was clean and the time was a beast-of-the-event 58:56. It was only a press event autocross, but nevertheless it was fun taking HOT ROD to the top of the chart.
More importantly, we came away with a new respect for Ford’s hot new Edge ST. It’s an impressive handler for an SUV, one that can take your family to the beach and put a smile on your face in the curves.
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