2019 Ford edge ST
The Edge ST is possibly the best Ford on the market and a bargain in the performance crossover segment
You want a Ford Edge ST. What a good choice! Now that Ford’s ST performance division has no cars to fettle — the company deciding to abandon the sedan market in favour of trucks and SUVs — it had to put the ST badge somewhere. That somewhere turns out to be the mid-size Edge crossover and the result is an amalgam of utility, performance and sophistication seemingly beyond the Ford nameplate.
Officially, the ST is a replacement for the previous Edge Sport, the linkage obvious because both are powered by Ford’s EcoBoost 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6, the same engine that garners so much praise in the (much heavier) F-150 pickup. Reviews of the new ST have so far focused on the V6’s gain of 20 horsepower (now 335hp) and 30 pound-feet (the new topof-the-line Edge now has 380 lb-ft) as proof of the Ford’s performance cred.
A sub-six-second zero-to-100 km/h acceleration time from a semi-costconscious mid-size ute is to be celebrated, but it’s the smoothness of the power delivery that impresses. This is probably the lowest NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) ever achieved by any Ford SUV, regardless of size, price and engine configuration, and at least equal to the various German competitors at this price point and size.
Every time I drove the ST, I was blown away by the powertrain — which includes a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission — that seems almost a perfect match for the performance sub-segment of this class. We’re talking Porsche Macan lite here.
If the handling doesn’t quite match the urge, it’s not for lack of trying; the Edge is a crossover, after all. Nonetheless, thanks to stiffer springs and anti-sway bars, low-profile 20-inch tires, and a rejigged steering calibration, the ST acquits itself quite well in the Bayview exit off-ramp boogie. Body roll is minimal, grip semi-prodigious and the balance between front and rear quite nice indeed.
The steering offers more feedback than a garden-variety Edge, but not as much as the European competition. Nonetheless, the chassis is still a job well done for the ST division, especially as the ride hasn’t been much compromised. Indeed, the firmer damping seems to quell some of the undulating I remember from the previous Edge I drove, so consider that another bonus.
Inside, the ST is mostly stock Edge — albeit fully loaded with maximum infotainment and digital driver-aid systems — with the exception of fully bolstered sport seats. As well as helping to contain your buttocks in the off-ramp grand prix, I also found them more comfortable, so another bonus. It’s also worth noting that Ford’s Sync system is now one of infotainment’s leading lights.
The Edge ST, as I think you’ve gathered by now, impressed the heck out of me. It is, by quite some margin, the best Ford I have driven. Indeed, I may still not agree with the company’s decision to drop passenger cars, but if this is the result of the company’s new focus, then perhaps there is something to cheer about. Indeed, the only negative of the ST’s performance is it now forces the question of why Ford can’t make all its products this good.
If you’re bound and determined to drive German, well, it’s hard to go wrong with Audi’s SQ5. Fine handling with steering feel that is superior to the ST, The SQ5 is also more comely. That said, its 3.0-L turbocharged V6 doesn’t feel quite as sweet as Ford’s 2.7-L version. It does boast a bit more horsepower, at 354 hp, but there is less torque. Overall — and yes, I expect all manner of grief for this evaluation — I find Ford’s take on the turbocharged V6 superior to Audi’s. I’m as surprised as you are.
Those looking to justify the Audi’s price premium — the SQ5 starts at $61,300, while the ST is pretty much all in at $49,099 — will get their revenge inside. Audi, as always, is the master of the luxurious interior, with impeccable fit and finish. The ST simply can’t compete in this arena.
You want sexy? Well then, you need Range Rover’s Evoque. Newly refreshed and expected to arrive soon as a 2020 model, Land Rover’s style-setting compact crossover is still the sexiest thing that can pretend to go off-road. Plus (and this makes it fairly unique in the segment) the Evoque really can adventure out in the boonies. All Land Rovers, even the cute little ones aimed at inner city poseurs, are able to ford a stream or climb a rock if so challenged.
As for performance, the 2020 model is newly invigorated, the P300 mild hybrid version now offering 296 hp. But it’s still an in-line four and, though a fine example of the breed, unlikely to trouble the ST in the NVH sweepstakes. That said, like the Audi, the Range Rover clearly edges the Ford — sorry, dear reader, I couldn’t help it — inside with more sumptuous leather and avant-garde styling. There’s also some pretty cool technology, including the ClearSight rear-view mirror that lets you see behind you when you’ve loaded the Evoque’s trunk to the brim. Current Evoques are about the same price as an Edge ST, but we’ll have to wait until the Montreal auto show January 18-27 for finalized 2020 pricing.
You want the very best ST-badged vehicle of all time? Well, you’re going to save a whole bunch of money because the best car in Ford’s performance division is also, at $26,358, the cheapest. I am talking about the Fiesta ST, the little bomb that Ford crafts out of what most people looked upon as a bargain-basement econo-hatch, and not a particularly good one at that. The Fiesta ST may have only a 1.6-L turbocharged four under the hood, albeit with a fairly decent 197 hp, but it is the finest handling front-driver I have ever tested. As I commented at the time, the Fiesta ST is as much fun as a Lamborghini Aventador for hooning around Ontario’s Calabogie Motorsport Park. The ST’s incredible balance lets you choose between speed-scrubbing understeer and tail-happy oversteer with the mere stab of its responsive throttle. Indeed, timed right, you can manage both in the same corner.
2019 Ford Edge ST.