The market for SUVs continues to boom, and Ford is keen to get in on the action, so it has introduced its largest model yet, the Edge. The new car sits above the Kuga and EcoSport in the brand’s SUV range, but rather than being a good-value alternative to premium-badged offerings such as the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, it’s competing on the same terms as those rivals thanks to its £30,000-plus price.
In fact, our top-spec Sport model costs £34,500 as standard, but add the Electric Spice orange paint, active park assist and cruise control and Lux Pack (which includes electrically adjustable, heated and cooled front seats and a panoramic roof) and you’re looking at £37,845, which is well into premium SUV territory.
The Edge certainly matches the Germans for style, with its chunky proportions and wide grille at the front. In Sport trim it comes with 20-inch Dark Tarnish alloys, which look great, and the small bonnet bulges are a nice touch that you can see from inside the car as well.
Inside, the Edge is certainly well put together, and while it’s nowhere near as smart as the exterior, it doesn’t completely let the side down. The design is bland and there are some cheap-looking materials used in some places, plus some gloss black plastic on the centre console that’s nothing more than a ‘fingerprint magnet’. It’s a pleasant place to sit, but Ford’s effort is still nowhere near as plush inside as an equivalent Mercedes GLC.
Of course, the Ford is better equipped than the equivalent Audi or Mercedes. Automatic lights and wipers, a rear-view camera and DAB radio are all fitted as standard on Sport spec, but leather is an option. Traffic sign recognition and lane-keep assist are included, too.
There’s loads of space inside, which gives the Edge, well, another edge over the competition. The 602-litre boot increases to 1,788 litres with the rear seats down, which is more than any of its German rivals can muster. It’s a usefully shaped space, and the electric tailgate makes access easy.
“Passengers may not have an issue with the space on offer, they might with the ride”
Rear-seat passengers will be pleased, because there’s enough legroom for adults behind even tall drivers. The optional panoramic sunroof impacts on headroom, but there’s still enough for a six-footer to sit upright. It’s disappointing that there’s no seven-seat option, though.
While passengers may not have an issue with the space on offer, they might with the ride quality. The Sport model is firm, and it gets unsettled on our uneven streets, although its larger wheels and tyres don’t quite crash into potholes. We tried a Titanium-spec model on slightly smaller wheels without this suspension set-up, and it was definitely better.
In corners the Edge isn’t as composed as you might expect, given the stiff ride. It’s not too bad, but there’s some body roll and you can feel the car’s near-two-tonne weight shifting around. The steering is quick but could be sharper, and the limited feedback doesn’t inspire confidence.
The 178bhp 2.0-litre engine is fairly smooth, and with 400Nm of torque it feels punchy enough provided you’re in the right gear. You may need to change down to overtake, but the six-speed manual box is easy and pleasant enough to use.
This Edge Sport model takes 9.9 seconds to go from 0-62mph, which isn’t exactly impressive, and neither is its claimed 47.9mpg especially economical – officially, a BMW X3 xDrive20d manages 52.3mpg. Plus, the BMW takes just 8.1 seconds to cover the sprint from 0-62mph, and emits 1Og/km less C02.
Despite its shortcomings, the Edge does still have some appeal in the UK, but as an interesting left-field alternative rather than a frontrunner in this competitive market.
The Edge is far larger than the Kuga, so there’s much more space in the back, as well as a big 602-litre boot. Ford is missing a trick by not offering it with seven seats, though.
Sport spec is the top of the range, so you’ll find 20-inch alloys, a Sony navigation and sound system, a DAB radio and noise-cancelling tech. Leather is part of a £2,000 option pack.
The Ford Edge is practical, well equipped and looks stylish, especially in this top-spec Sport trim. However, the high price, absence of a seven- seat option, firm ride and dull driving experience mean that it’s hard to recommend over the similarly priced BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC, both of which are more composed and have a better image. Still, get a good deal or lease and you could be on to a winner.
Ford Edge 2.0 TDCi 180 Sport
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
ON SALE: Now