First Drive: 2019 Ford Edge ST and Edge Titanium

“We don’t do bling,” says Edwin Krenz, Chief Functional Engineer at Ford Performance.

“Did you notice that the sill plates on the ST don’t light up?”

“Cost cutting?” I ask.

“No, it’s our way of letting ST buyers know we don’t put anything on the car just because it lights up,” he says.

Even the grille, itself an ST signature item, is functional. It allows up to 40 percent more air through into the engine bay for cooling.

It’s important to Ford that buyers know this is a “real ST”. It isn’t badge-engineered, it is legit. Krenz is the ST gatekeeper, making sure anything wearing that logo meets some minimum criteria. I couldn’t extract exact numbers out of him, except that the cars must outperform the vehicle they’re based on in terms of handling and power. He also said all STs must be able to do 20 consecutive minutes on track with no degradation factors. No brake fade, no overheating of any component, no suspension fade.

And while I wasn’t able to rip a 2019 Ford Edge ST on track for 20 minutes straight, I can tell you….

Update: Driving Impressions 

... that the Edge ST is a willing and lively dance partner. The stiffer shocks still offer up a decent ride, but on harsher roads are noticeably firmer and less compliant than the standard. Primary ride is excellent, and the ST corners far flatter than it has any real right to. Lateral body roll is negligible but there is a little more pitch under braking than you might expect. 

Is this an SUV you can hustle? We put one several times through an autocross track, complete with a pit stop to load boxes, because you know, its an SUV after all. 

The engine response is strong from mid-range, but lacks initial thrust, the throttle response is a little too delayed. The same issue is true of the transmission, which responds too slowly to commands via the paddle shifters. I think this is likely an issue of software programming more than anything else, and look forward to getting a final production unit in my hands to try – these were all pre-production units and there were a couple of software glitches. 

Braking feel is sublime with the upgraded brake discs and pads, but we dont get access to those in Canada. Thats because they come paired with summer tires, and Ford doesn't see that combo working well in winter. Other makes do offer summer tire options, Mini being one, so perhaps Ford will in the future. 

Edge ST: By the Numbers

The Edge ST is powered by a 2.7L turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine, good for 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (DCT). Flick the rotary dial over to “D” and press the little button marked “S” and the Edge ST will get to 100 km/h in less than six seconds, officially. As I said, the Edge ST accelerates with a surge, but only after a small delay in throttle response. After that initial hesitation, this is a strong lump, pulling hard to redline with a sonorous, electrically enhanced note.

Fuel economy figures for the Edge ST are 12.6/9.2/11.0 L/100 km city/highway/combined. That’s understandably higher than the 2.0L EcoBoost-equipped SE, SEL, and Titanium, which return 11.4/8.3/10.0 L/100 km. In SEL front-wheel-drive guise, the Edge is good for 10.9/8.0/9.6 L/100 km city/highway/combined.

Titanium

Standard with AWD and the 2.0L four-cylinder EcoBoost, the Titanium puts out 250 hp at 5,000 rpm and 280 lb-ft from 3,000. It’s a solid little engine that shifts the 1,781 kg Edge from on-ramp to merging speed in decent time.

The eight-speed transmission is smooth and unobtrusive, doing its job without whining about it. The Titanium rides comfortably, and Ford has done a noticeable job of improving wind and road noise from inside the cabin.

The Titanium’s seats are comfortable enough, but nowhere near as good as as the ST’s excellent, deep-bolstered seats. The seats in the ST are almost enough to justify the upgrade on their own. 

Edge Titanium is the comfortable, well-featured option that make the $6,300 jump to the ST a more difficult decision than it might otherwise be.

Safety and Equipment

All Edges now get Ford Co-Pilot360. In layman’s terms, that means: Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, including pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and brake support. Plus blind-spot warning and cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping, rear back-up camera, and automatic high-beam headlights as well.

That back-up camera, by the way, has its own little lens washer. The Titanium also gets Evasive Steering Assist, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go, lane centering, and park assist – the function that parks the car for you – almost. As my co-driver discovered, it is important for you to use the brake pedal when your Edge is parking itself. Failing to do so will result in a parking fail, or even a collision. You control the speed, the car controls the wheel.

The LED lights are standard, and unlike the ST, the Titanium does get light-up sill plates with the Edge logo on them.

Technology, Yo.

We live in an ever-more-connected world, and our cars are right there with us. Ford’s new Ford+Alexa app lets you control your Ford with Alexa. For those who don’t know, Alexa is one of the digital speaker boxes that lets you talk to the internet, literally. Sometimes it even talks back. You can tell your Alexa unit to open your garage door, and then ask it to start your Edge for you. The Alexa will tell you how much range you have left, whether or not you remembered to lock all your doors, and will even let you unlock the car with your voice.

Questions like “Is Jacob a good driver?” are met with a coy, “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that right now.”

The full suite of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and there is the de rigueur Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging pad.

Rear-seat occupants get a 115V household power outlet and 12V cigarette-lighter-style outlet, but no USB outlets.

Usability/Livability

The rotary shifter unarguably helps open up space in the centre console. I found it decent, but have to admit to preferring a proper shifter when moving quickly from drive to reverse and back again. Rotary knobs always seem to slow the process down. I’m fully aware that most people don’t mind those extra seconds, but I do.

The rest of the Edge is well set out. Sync3 is a great system for navigating through audio, navigation, and other infotainment systems, and the customizable instrument cluster is one of the best in the class. On my wishlist? A way to browse the channel guide according to what’s playing, so I can go right to the channel with the best song, instead of having to scroll through them. Other brands have this feature on otherwise inferior systems.

The front doors are wide and ingress is easy, but the back doors are a touch small. At 1,110 L behind the rear seats, cargo volume is generous, and the opening to the tailgate is good and wide. I appreciated the buttons to remotely lower the second-row seats from just inside the liftgate, and using them opens the cargo volume to 2,079 L.

Pricing

The $49,099 Edge ST is the top of the Edge lineup in price, bookending the SE AWD ($35,999). The SE is interesting. Despite being the base model, it is only available in all-wheel drive, while the SEL, which starts at $37,999, comes with front-wheel drive – AWD is another $2,000 addition to that model.

The Titanium is available in AWD only, at $43,399.

The Edge Sport is gone, replaced by the ST.

The ST is available in Blue or Ceramic White – the latter of which is hilariously an option. I was incredulous. “People pay extra, for a white car?” Apparently I’m out of touch, as 20 percent of Edge buyers opt for the more expensive white paintjob.

You can also opt for the black 21-inch wheels pictured in this story, but in Canada they are a separate option. In the US, they come part of a $2,000-odd brake upgrade package that includes summer performance tires. That package is not available in Canada, much to the chagrin of those of us gathered. Ford is likely to revisit this position though, so feel free to contact your dealer and request it if you want it.

Pricing for the various options is not yet released.

The 2019 Ford Edge is in some Canadian showrooms now.

Pricing: 2019 Ford Edge

Edge SE AWD: $35,999
Edge SEL FWD: $37,999
Edge SEL AWD: $39,999
Edge Titanium AWD: $43,399
Edge ST: $49,099

Updated with driving impressions. 10/9/2018 7:00:00 AM