by Gerhard Horn
Is it worth shoehorning a powerful engine into a family-oriented midsize crossover? Heck, yes; these things are the Swiss Army knives of the automotive world, and none is more of a jack of all trades than the Ford Edge ST. When in school run mode, it's a comfortable cruiser with Ford's Co-Pilot 360 driver assistance features and Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS. After you drop the kids off, you can unleash the full fury of the 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine and standard all-wheel drive. Okay, so maybe 335 horsepower isn't furious anymore, but it's certainly better than a sluggish minivan. The Edge ST allows you to get more out of life. It has space for the kids and can get to 60 mph in less than six seconds, and against humdrum midsizers like the Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport, it's a reminder that you can still be a family man or woman and enjoy cars.
To keep it fresh and competitive, Ford made some minor changes that significantly impact driving comfort. The ST now comes with a 12.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Ford's latest SYNC4 interface. A heated steering wheel is now standard, as is a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat and rear parking sensors. To decrease wind noise, acoustic-laminated glass has been fitted to the front side windows. Very discreetly, Ford has also sought to fix the complaints about the previous gearbox, quite literally removing the 2nd gear to create a 'new' seven-speed automatic.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
Ford hasn't gone overboard with the ST's exterior styling. There's just enough to let other parents in the school parking lot know that your crossover is faster and therefore superior. ST-specific enhancements include 20-inch alloys, a black hexagonal grille, some fake vents, LED headlights and taillights, dual exhaust pipes, and a phony diffuser.
The Edge ST is a sizable crossover with an overall length of 188.8 inches, with a 112.2-inch wheelbase. It's 68.3 inches high, with 8.2 inches of ground clearance. Excluding the mirrors, the width measures 75.9 inches. The regular Edge has a maximum weight of 4,122 pounds, while the ST adds a significant amount of weight and comes in at 4,515 lbs. This weight difference is primarily due to the heavier V6 mounted under the ST's hood, compared to the lightweight 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the regular Edge.
There are seven colors to choose from, with five being no-cost options. Agate Black, Iconic Silver, and the signature Ford Performance Blue are standard, as are the new-for-2021 duo of Lithium Gray and Carbonized Gray, while Rapid Red ($395) and Star White ($595) cost extra. The 21-inch gloss-black alloy wheels are a $995 optional extra, but to fit them, you have to order an additional options package that retails for $4,840. That means the total cost of 21-inch alloy wheels is $5,835.
Ford's Edge ST is not powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as the rest of the line-up. Instead, you get a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 developing 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to an all-wheel-drive system, but for the new model year, Ford has cut a gear from the automatic gearbox, making it a seven-ratio unit in an attempt to rectify previous complaints. The process has quite literally cut the previous second gear from the equation, while all other ratios remain the same.
It's an excellent powertrain, but you have to wonder whether the weight penalty over the standard car is worth it?
Turns out it is because, according to Ford, the ST will accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds. So, the added power is more than enough to overcome the additional weight.
Power is nothing without control, and the ST is so much more than a larger engine and some ST badges. The ST is still a tall car, and you can feel it through the corners. Still, the upgraded suspension does an admirable job of keeping the body lean to a minimum. The ST is more fun than the regular car but far from giving you laugh-out-loud moments behind the wheel.
As for practical elements, the Edge ST has a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs.
The 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 in the ST produces 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. This V6 is not a rev-happy powertrain, and it makes the maximum 335 horses at 5,500 rpm. It's almost like a turbocharged diesel, with an additional 1,000 rpm to play with.
Last year, Ford received much criticism for the behavior of the eight-speed automatic, so this year the Edge ST has lost its second gear, with all other rations remaining identical. The goal of this is to improve the shift action, essentially bypassing what would've been the 2nd-to-3rd shift. It's worked wonders, and the ST now feels lighter on its feet and gets less confused. Instead, the turbocharged torque allows it to ride smoothly out of corners.
But this crossover is at its best when you drive it at around 70 percent of its ability. The final 30 percent is just annoying, thanks to the gearbox. The shifter has an S mode, situated just below drive. It allows for more revs but still changes up too soon. You then start engaging with the paddles, realizing soon after that they're merely there for decoration. Paddle shifting does not give you complete control, and the car will still shift up too soon. Downshifts are particularly slow with the paddles. However, the 2021 model is a marked improvement over the 2020 version.
Ford adds several enhancements to ensure the ST feels sportier than the standard Edge. These include thicker anti-roll bars for added rigidity, sportier spring rates, and a brake-based torque vectoring system. These systems work beautifully and keep the hefty body in check. Still, as with the engine, the handling is at its best when you drive at 70 percent. Any further than that, and it will respond like the hefty SUV it is.
Sporty crossovers and SUVs like this still need to be compliant and comfortable. The ST hits a nice balance between a semi-engaging driving experience and day-to-day comfort. Even with the optional 21-inch alloys, it can still iron out most imperfections.
The steering is nicely weighted, though there's not much in the way of feel - pretty much par for the course in this segment. Naturally, the ST also has bigger brakes, and they're easy to modulate. There's loads of stopping power, but it's easy to find that balance between slowing normally and doing a full-on emergency stop.
Ford's Edge ST is like every other ST product. A good amount of fun but still usable daily.
With two extra cylinders, it's no surprise the ST is the least efficient Edge in the line-up. Its EPA estimates are 19/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined. The 2.0-liter turbocharged Edge manages 21/28/23 mpg, for comparison. While you can notice the difference by looking at the figures, the gap isn't big enough to drive away eco-minded individuals. The Edge's 18.5-gallon tank should be good for 388 miles between refills.
In past reviews Ford was criticized for milking the interior design, so we're pleasantly surprised with the new portrait-oriented center stack. It boasts the same 12.1-inch touchscreen interface that made its debut in the Mustang Mach E. This elevates the interior quite a bit, but thankfully Ford didn't move all of the controls over to the touchscreen interface. The major sound system and climate control buttons are still separate.
The ST also adds model-specific bucket seats and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. The driver also gets dual 4.2-inch LCD screens in the instrument cluster, and the infotainment screen in the center console has been updated with the latest operating system.
The Edge is a five-seater, though the rear middle seat may be too constricting for a fully-grown adult on a long journey. Front passengers are treated to ten-way power-adjustable seats, with the driver getting a memory function. And while we don't particularly like the layout of the buttons on the center console, it's worth stating that they're easy to reach for and adjust without taking your eyes off the road.
The front legroom is 42.6 inches, while the rear legroom is still mighty impressive at 40.6 inches. The front headroom is a generous 40.2 inches, while rear passengers get a little more at 40.3 inches.
Big bucket seats tend to harm the rear legroom, but this is not the case in the Edge ST. The ST's front seats are beautifully executed, offering loads of support for brisk driving while still leaving enough space in the rear for passengers.
There's only one interior option available, but thankfully it's a good one. The base color is Ebony black, with the seat clad in leather with contrasting fake suede inserts with City Silver stitching. An ST logo is embossed on both front seats.
Quality-wise, it's good. Interior trimmings include polished metal, gloss black, and fake carbon fiber. It all comes together nicely to create a sporty space that's both comfortable and easy on the eye.
Cargo capacity is highly impressive. With the rear seats in place, the Edge has 39.2 cubic feet of space. Lowering the rear seats in a 60/40 split results in 73.4 cubes of cargo capacity.
Interior storage is just as good. Rear passengers get dual cupholders in the middle seat's seatback. Front passengers get a pair of cupholders, a large hidden storage compartment behind the center console, and a center armrest with a large storage bin. Making the Edge faster has had no impact on its practicality.
As the top-spec model in the Edge range, the ST is handsomely equipped. As standard, it comes with Ford's basic Co-Pilot 360, which includes hill start assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and forward-collision warning with autonomous braking.
On the comfort side, the ST is equipped with a remote start, keyless entry with push-button start, dual 4.2-inch LCDs in the instrument cluster, cruise control, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, auto LED headlights with auto high-beams, and wireless charging. Passengers will enjoy the dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, ambient lighting, and a hands-free liftgate, while a heated steering wheel is now standard for the new year.
Optional extras include adaptive cruise control, a 180-degree parking camera, and a panoramic sunroof. Ventilation for the front seats is also available, while the rear outboard seats can be heated and ventilated.
For 2021, the Edge is being upgraded to SYNC4. The new operating system first made its debut in the Mustang Mach E and allows for over-the-air updates. This feature is not available for the Edge, but the latest SYNC is faster and easier to operate, and the larger 12.1-inch screen, now oriented in portrait, changes the entire ambiance of the cabin. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, Bluetooth connectivity, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard, and Amazon Alexa is fully integrated, too. It's connected to a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. If you have younger kids, a dual-screen DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system is available at $1,995.
While the ST is not classified separately as far as recalls go, the Ford Edge range as a whole has been recalled a few times since its launch for the 2019 MY. The inaugural year model was recalled twice, the 2020 a further three times, and thus far, the 2021 model has been the subject of two - one for a malfunctioning driver's seatbelt assembly and the other for inadequate lubrication in the rear drive unit.
All Edge models are sold with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has a dedicated safety review of the Ford Edge ST, but rather the Edge range in general. The NHTSA gave the Edge an overall rating of five out of five stars, and it only scored one four in the rollover test. It was named a 2021 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, but only with the optional adaptive LED headlights.
Ford includes both standard safety features and driver assistance systems. The traditional fare consists of a hill-start assist, ABS, stability control, a rear-view camera, and seven airbags including a driver's knee airbag. The familiar Co-Pilot 360 adds forward collision warning with autonomous braking, curve control, post-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist. The options list includes park assist, 180-degree camera, and adaptive cruise control with evasive steering ability.
Some may look at the MSRP and wonder how a humble Edge could cost so much. We reckon it's not that bad, considering the generous amount of standard features you get. In addition to upmarket features like heated seats and a powerful sound system, you also get Ford's Co-Pilot 360, adding all of the most critical driver assistance features.
The idea of a performance crossover won't appeal to all, but we like the dual personality. On the one hand, it's a comfortable cruiser that isn't overly aggressive in styling. You won't embarrass the kids in front of their eco-minded friends when you drop them off at school with your performance SUV. On the other hand, it offers a pleasurable driving experience if you stick within the limits of what it's capable of. The acceleration is brisk enough to be entertaining, and the exhaust note isn't half-bad.
The Ford Edge ST SUV does more right than it does wrong, making it a good performance crossover in our book.
The price of the Ford Edge ST starts at an MSRP of $43,100, excluding the destination fee of $1,245 and the acquisition fee of $645. A fully-loaded Edge ST will cost in excess of $55,000, depending on how many options boxes you tick.
Ford's Edge ST is a standalone model within the model line-up. It's not just merely an ST-Line Package - which is also available on the standard model - but a thoroughly developed product with a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6. You also get model-specific suspension, brakes, and rigidity upgrades to cope with the additional power. The power is sent to an all-wheel-drive system via a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The standard specification includes 20-inch alloy wheels, a high-end sound system from Bang & Olufsen, leather seats with fake suede inserts, heated front seats, and a 12.1-inch infotainment system with Ford's latest SYNC4 operating system.
Ford's Co-Pilot 360 package is included, and it has all of the most crucial driver assistance features as standard. This package contains forward collision with automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist.
There are three notable packages available for the Edge ST. The first has no name but rather a factory code. It's called 401A. For $4,840, you get ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless charging pad, hands-free foot-activated liftgate, voice-activated navigation, and all of the driver assistance features missing from Co-Pilot 360. For $795, you can add the Co-Pilot Assist+, which adds advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and voice-activated touchscreen navigation. The ST Performance Brake Package ($2,695) adds the 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels and an uprated braking system painted in Colorado Red, but it can't be ordered as a standalone. The 401A is also required, bringing the total to $7,535.
The Edge ST is a standalone model, so the question is what optional extras you should add to it. Ford's 401A package is appealing, so we'd have it. The ventilated front seats and heated rear seats are excellent, but navigation is no longer an attraction in an Apple CarPlay/Android Auto world. The added safety is fantastic, but you can order that separately for $795.
Since the Edge ST is already handsomely equipped, we'd just add the Co-Pilot Assist+ and keep the asking price reasonable.
The Escape does not have a standalone performance model in its line-up, but it does have a model that can nearly rival the Edge ST, despite the two models being siblings. The top-spec Titanium AWD only has a 250 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot, which seems insignificant compared to the Edge ST's 335 hp. However, the Escape weighs less and can therefore sprint to 60 mph in an independently-tested 5.7 seconds. Retailing at $36,435, it's considerably cheaper.
The Escape is also a more modern product, featuring items like a digital instrument cluster, a more modern interior, and better use of available space. It's smaller than the Edge, but if you don't need the extra space and want similar performance and better fuel economy, the Escape is a good alternative.
Chevrolet's Blazer is a handsome SUV, taking design cues from the famous Camaro - one of the USA's original pony cars. In RS AWD guise, it's the closest thing to a competitor you'll find in a review of the Edge ST.
Chevy uses a later 3.6-liter V6 but without a turbocharger. The result is 308 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Ford's Edge is the clear leader when it comes to performance. The Blazer makes up for it by offering a more modern interior. It also has a touchscreen interface mounted high on the center console, but beneath that, you'll find two beautiful air vents with body-color bezels.
Ford's offering is more practical, is faster, and has more features as standard. The latest SYNC infotainment system is also vastly superior. For these reasons, we'd have the ST.
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