These people will like the fact that the Edge is good looking, well equipped and offered for the kind of money that normally, would only buy you a relatively compact car of this kind.
On the move, the two turbodiesel engines on offer here do a decent job of propelling the car along and are very much on par with rivals for pace. Both are 2. 0-litre TDCi units and only come mated to Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, 2WD being an option the company doesn’t think is really relevant on an SUV of this size. Users choose between two mechanical set-ups; a 180PS single turbo variant you have to have with a 6-speed manual gearbox; or the package we’re trying here, a 210PS twin turbo derivative only offered with 6-speed PowerShift automatic transmission. Handling through the bends isn’t as sharp as it would be in a smaller SUV, but the Edge compensates for that with supple suspension and impressive refinement that’s aided by a clever ‘Active noise control’ system that tunes out unwanted noise using sound waves played through the car’s stereo speakers.
Off the beaten track, as you might expect, the Edge is no Land Rover Discovery but by the more modest mud-plugging standards of other SUVs in this class, it acquits itself very well. A reasonable level of ground clearance – just over 200mm – certainly helps, as does the wheel angle flexibility of the all-independent suspension set-up. This big Ford’s ‘Intelligent All-Wheel Drive’ system is a permanent set-up and, like nearly all its rivals, uses ‘Torque On Demand’ technology to send power to whichever wheel has the most traction. Most potential buyers will be more interested though, in on-tarmac efficiency – which is surprisingly good for such a relatively heavy car. Expect up to 48. 7mpg on the combined cycle and 149g/km of CO2, regardless of which engine and transmission package you choose.
Previous large Ford 4x4s have looked very much what they were: SUVs primarily designed for American and Far Eastern markets. This Edge model is different, large and imposing but with far more of the kind of European feel it’ll need to take on established rivals this side of the Atlantic. That’s further helped by underpinnings very much developed for our side of the pond. Under the skin, the Edge sits on the same ‘CD4’ platform that Ford uses for the other large models in its passenger car range, the Mondeo and the S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs.
Time to take a look inside. Ahead of you through the leather-trimmed three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, there’s a classy, if rather cluttered, instrument cluster that in mid and upper-range models gives you this sophisticated 10-inch TFT set-up made up of various inset multi-function displays.
Anything this set-up can’t tell you will probably be covered by the feature that on all models dominates the centre of the dash, the 8-inch SYNC 3 colour touchscreen, there to play its part in reducing button clutter and giving the cabin a cleaner, smarter feel.
Time to take a seat in the back. As at the front, the doors open wide to make access easy, and once you’re inside, you’ll find massively more space than is provided by mid-sized SUV models at this price point. No other 4x4 priced remotely close to this one can comfortably seat three adults across the back seat, but such a feat is easily managed by this Ford, aided by a notably low-set central transmission tunnel. To some extent, the reason why it’s so spacious in the back is that surprisingly, Ford has opted not to add in a third fold-out seating row in the boot.
Where the five seat-only approach should pay off is when it comes to boot space, so let’s have a look at that. Avoid entry-level trim and you get this power-operated tailgate that can be activated merely by waving your foot beneath the bumper if you happen to be approaching the car laden down with bags.
Once it’s raised, there is indeed a quite enormous boot. Even if you only fill the space up to the window line, there’s room for 602-litres of cargo. Pack it to the roof and you can fit in 800-litres of luggage.
What we’ve established then, is that this is more than just another attempt by Ford to sell a big US-made 4x4 over here. Think of this Edge as an S-MAX or Galaxy MPV re-designed for the rough and you’d probably be closer to the mark. But it’s more than that too. On prolonged acquaintance, this car reveals itself as a very likeable, capable SUV that’s more than up to challenging the best in its class.
This model’s also very well equipped, smart to look at and media savvy. It is, in short, the first really credible large car that Ford has produced this century that wasn’t an MPV. An SUV that has a bit of an Edge to it. Try one and you’ll see what we mean.