Want a Ford Edge ST? Con­sider these op­tions, too

The Standard (Elliot Lake) - - LAW - By DAVID BOOTH DRIV­ING.CA

you want a Ford Edge st: What a good choice! now that Ford’s st per­for­mance divi­sion has no cars to fet­tle — the com­pany, of course, fa­mously de­cid­ing to aban­don the sedan mar­ket in favour of trucks and suvs — they had to put the st badge some­where. That some­where turns out to be the mid­size 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 since both are pow­ered by Ford’s Eco­boosted 2.7-litre twin­turbo V6, the same en­gine that gar­ners so much praise in the (much heav­ier) F-150 pick-me-up. re­views of the new st have so far fo­cused on the V6’s gain of 20 horse­power (now to­tally an en­tirely cred­i­ble 335-hp) and 30 pound-feet (the new topof-the-line Edge now with 380 to­tal torques) as proof of the Ford’s per­for­mance creds.

and in­deed, a sub-sixsec­ond zero to 100 kilo­me­tres an hour ac­cel­er­a­tion time from a semi­cost-con­scious mid­size ute is to be cel­e­brated, but it’s the creamy smooth­ness of the power de­liv­ery that truly 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 the very least, equal to the var­i­ous Ger­man — BMW, audi et al. — that com­pete around this price point and size. Ev­ery time i drove the st, i was quite lit­er­ally blown away with 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 an­ti­sway bars, fairly gi­nor­mous, 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 does let down the plot some­what, of­fer­ing more feed­back than a gar­den va­ri­ety Edge, but not as much as those Euro­peans i was com­par­ing the st to a few lines ago. Those look­ing to ac­cuse me of ex­ag­ger­a­tion for com­par­ing the Edge to a Porsche will find some ve­rac­ity in its feed­back to the driver. none­the­less, the chas­sis is still a job well done for the st divi­sion, es­pe­cially since 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’s aids sys­tems — with the ex­cep­tion of fully bol­stered sport seats. as well as help­ing to con­tain your but­tocks in the afore­men­tioned off-ramp grand prix, i also found them more com­fort­able, so an­other bonus. it’s also worth not­ing that Ford’s sync sys­tem, once the poster child for how not to dig­i­tize a car’s man/ ma­chine in­ter­face, is now one of in­fo­tain­ment’s lead­ing lights. Con­sumer crit­i­cism be­ing the mo­ti­va­tion, ne­ces­sity re­ally was the mother of sync’s (re)in­ven­tion.

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 new­found fo­cus on suvs, then per­haps there is some­thing to cheer about. in­deed, the only neg­a­tive of the st’s per­for­mance is it now forces the ques­tion as to why Ford can’t make all its prod­ucts this good.

you’re bound and de­ter­mined to drive Ger­man: Well, it’s hard to go wrong with audi’s sq5. Fine han­dling with su­pe­rior steer­ing feel to the st, it’s also more comely, the Edge’s re­main­ing fault is that it looks like a bit of a par­venu to this el­e­vated com­par­i­son.

That said, its 3.0-litre tur­bocharged V6 doesn’t feel quite as sweet as Ford’s 2.7l ver­sion. it does boast a bit more horse­power at 354 hp, but a few less pound-feet of torque. Per­haps the Eco­boost’s truck roots are pay­ing div­i­dends in the grunt de­part­ment. 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.

PHOTO DAVID BOOTH/DRIV­ING.CA

Ford Edge ST

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