CAN FORD’S NEW SUV GIVE YOU THE EDGE?

De­signed to ap­peal to au­di­ences on both sides of the At­lantic, Ford’s Edge is the big­gest SUV to come from the brand in sev­eral years

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - MATT KIMBERLEY

WHAT’S NEW?

From the con­cept to the end prod­uct, the Edge is a new thing. It’s Ford of Eu­rope’s first large SUV, based on Mon­deo un­der­gar­ments, but with four-wheel-drive, two pow­er­ful diesel en­gines (with more un­der con­sid­er­a­tion) and a new, pre­mium shtick with which the Amer­i­can com­pany wants to poke the Ger­man lux­ury brands.

It’s part of the One­ford pro­gramme, so it’s built in North Amer­ica and ex­ported all over the globe with mi­nor changes to suit dif­fer­ent mar­kets. We awk­ward Euro­peans with our bumpy B-roads and our der­e­stricted au­to­bahns had a big say in how the sus­pen­sion and han­dling were tuned.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

If you’re think­ing it looks a bit ‘Muri­can in the pic­tures, you’re not alone. But the blocky styling and slightly in­y­our-face dark wheels and de­tail­ing of the range-top­ping Sport model sing a pretty good tune in the metal.

The Ti­ta­nium model is a bit more re­served; a bit more mid­dle-ofthe-road. It’s im­prob­a­bly wide, though, with a high and highly-shaped bon­net, so it looks even big­ger than it ac­tu­ally is.

While the build and ma­te­ri­als qual­ity is for the most part a big step up for Ford, it’s com­pet­ing with S line Audi Q5s and midgrade BMW X3s. Even the en­try-level Jaguar F-pace is a ri­val. Next to those badges, the Blue Oval can’t re­ally com­pete.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

Where the Edge scores points is for its clever de­sign, which squeezes loads of use­ful­ness into its 4.8-me­tre length. There are bag hooks in the boot, a spare wheel, a cabin wide enough for three kids to sit side-by-side on bean bags and enough clever stor­age spa­ces to make it a night­mare for cus­toms of­fi­cials at bor­der cross­ings.

The amount of empty air around the front seats is amazing. Even the cur­rent Mr Uni­verse wouldn’t have shoul­ders broad enough to fill the width. In­clud­ing the stubby mir­rors, the Edge is well over two me­tres wide, and it feels it on the road, but it does cre­ate an im­plau­si­bly spa­cious cabin.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Driven back-to-back, the more pow­er­ful diesel of­fers no­tice­ably more low-down punch. The twin­clutch au­to­matic gear­box helps make the most of that, too, only kick­ing down when your throt­tle pedal in­puts clearly ask for it. The 2.0-litre diesel might not be the most re­fined on the mar­ket, but Ford’s sound­proof­ing and stan­dard-fit Ac­tive Noise Con­trol sup­press wind and road noise like you wouldn’t be­lieve. The quiet at motorway speeds (and be­yond) is uncanny.

The Sport’s vari­able-ra­tio steer­ing is frus­trat­ing, as is ev­ery other sys­tem like it. Ap­proach the same cor­ner at dif­fer­ent speeds and you’ll need two en­tirely dif­fer­ent steer­ing in­puts to ne­go­ti­ate it. The stan­dard set-up is slower to turn the car, but feels more con­sis­tent, de­spite a strong urge to self-cen­tre. Nei­ther trans­mits any mean­ing­ful road feel.

Sport mod­els have a harder sus­pen­sion sys­tem that per­mits less body roll, but rides with a jig­gly edge on its 20-inch wheels that’s miss­ing from the Ti­ta­nium and its 19s. As a trade-off the Sport feels more planted in cor­ners, and has the more sup­port­ive seats for the job.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The model to go for is the Ti­ta­nium with the Lux pack, the more pow­er­ful en­gine and the au­to­matic gear­box, al­though to cre­ate it you also need to add the full-fat and rather bass-heavy Sony stereo sys­tem. All of a sud­den it’s a £37,000 car. Add LED head­lights for an­other £1,000 on top of that. The panoramic roof is £800. The £40,000 bar­rier is within fairly easy reach. Ouch.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

Clearly a Ford en­thu­si­ast, of which there are many, will look at the Edge as a proper fam­ily car. And it is. It’s Amer­ica-big, so feels a bit wide for a lot of mi­nor Euro­pean roads, but the amount of space and practicality is in­cred­i­ble. If the Ger­man op­tions just don’t light your can­dle, the Edge of­fers a new choice.

THIS CAR SUMMED UP IN A SIN­GLE WORD: STA­BLE

If this car was a...: myth­i­cal fig­ure it might be Her­cules: broad, stead­fast and with many strengths

FACTS AT A GLANCE Ford Edge 2.0 Du­ra­torq 210PS AWD Ti­ta­nium, from £34,495 En­gine: Four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel pro­duc­ing 207bhp and 332lb/ft Trans­mis­sion: Six-speed au­to­matic driv­ing all four wheels Per­for­mance: Top speed 131mph, 0-62mph in 9.4 sec­onds Fuel Econ­omy: 48.9mpg (19in wheels) Emis­sions: 149g/km (19in wheels)

The all-new Edge is welle­quipped, of­fer­ing Ford in­tel­li­gent all-wheel drive as stan­dard

The all-new up­scale Ford Edge en­ters the UKS surg­ing SUV mar­ket priced from £29,995

Ford Geneva

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