2019 Ford edge ST

The Edge ST is pos­si­bly the best Ford on the mar­ket and a bar­gain in the per­for­mance cross­over seg­ment

Calgary Sun - Autonet - - FRONT PAGE - driv­ing.ca/pho­tos

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.

CHris BalCerak

2019 Ford Edge ST.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.