So you currently drive one of Ford's excellent ST-branded hatchbacks and it's time for you to trade it in on a new model. Great. You probably can't wait to see how Ford has improved the Fiesta and Focus in the new generation with nicer cabins, more power... wait, they aren't coming to the United States? What the heck Ford? In case you haven't heard, Ford has decided to kill off all of its non-SUV and truck models in the US aside from the Mustang, leaving the ST lineup completely baren and devoid of any new products (even though there are brand-new versions of the Fiesta ST and Focus ST over in Europe).
But don't worry, Ford has replacements at the ready with new additions like the Edge ST and Explorer ST. Yep, that's right, the turbocharged, manual transmission hatchbacks you've grown to love have been replaced... by SUVs. Ford sent us a 2019 Edge ST to test for a week so we could see if this new direction for the ST brand is on the right track. Spoiler alert: it's not.
The Ford Edge ST enters 2019 as an entirely new trim within the Edge line-up, replacing last year's Sport trim and bringing with it updated front and rear styling, a tweaked suspension to offer better responsiveness, and a few interior enhancements, as well as bragging rights as being Ford's first-ever Ford Performance utility vehicle. Crucially it gets a bump in power, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 now developing 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, up by 20 hp and 30 lb-ft over last year's Sport derivative. For 2019, an eight-speed automatic replaces the six-speed that was standard before, while numerous driver aids - blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, and automatic braking - become stock inclusions, courtesy of the Ford Co-Pilot360 system.
$42,355 is the starting MSRP of the 2019 Ford Edge ST. This excludes a $1,095 destination fee, a $645 acquisition fee, and any licensing, taxes or registration costs. This makes it the most expensive Edge in the lineup, surpassing the Titanium by nearly $4,000. Various packages can also be added on, and incentives may be available, depending on the dealership. Our tester was equipped with the ST Performance Brake Package for $2,695 and the Equipment Group 401A Package for $5,585, bringing the as-tested price up to $51,730.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
On paper, the Edge ST should make up for its transmission's shortcomings by offering a fun driving experience. Sadly, this is not the case. The ST bodywork writes checks the Edge's aging platform can't cash. Anyone who has driven either a Fiesta ST or Focus ST will come away from the Edge ST with a frown on their face.
The steering is lifeless, offering no more engagement than a run-of-the-mill SUV. Ford has beefed up the suspension a bit, but the Edge still feels massive from behind the wheel and the tall ride height completely ruins any connection you might have felt with it. There is also a Sport Mode, which can be activated via the 'S' button on the rotating shifter. Sport mode sharpens the throttle response a bit but the most noticeable change is a loud, pumped-in engine sound that you will either love or hate.
ST-branded cars are meant to be the most enjoyable in the Ford lineup and sadly, the Edge ST falls short. You end up sacrificing a bit of ride comfort for straight-line acceleration, which is the only area the Edge ST feels impressive. So if you are the sort of person with children who enjoy a bit of acceleration in a straight line, perhaps the Edge ST could be the SUV for you.
Depending on your outlook, the 2019 Edge ST is either a fine SUV or an affront to Ford's ST name. If you think of the ST as simply the most luxurious and quickest Edge in the lineup, it starts to make sense. We can imagine someone walking into the dealership shopping for an SUV and walking out with an Edge ST simply because it isn't too much more expensive than the less powerful Edge Titanium.
It is only when we compare the Edge ST to its ST forbearers when it all starts to fall apart. If you are currently a Fiesta ST or Focus ST owner and you want to keep your business within the Ford family, the Edge will be a bitter disappointment - just go with a new Mustang instead if you want more performance. It is so unlike either of the old ST cars, it makes us question why Ford didn't just take a break from the ST name until an all-new Edge was ready to go on sale. Perhaps if your family is growing and the Fiesta or Focus just isn't large enough, you might consider upgrading. Just be aware, the Edge ST feels more like a glorified Edge Sport, just ST-ish.
Since there is only one Edge ST trim, the only decision you will have to make is which options to select. We think the 401A Package adds a ton of useful features for its hefty price but we'd skip the ST Performance Brake Package, which adds larger tires, better brakes, and summer tires. The Edge ST isn't a great handler even with this package, so we'd skip it to save $2,695, bringing the price to under $50,000.
|Ford Edge ST||335 hp||19/25 mpg||$46,485|
|Audi SQ5||349 hp||19/24 mpg||$56,500|
|Ford Escape||180 hp||TBC||$28,000|
A $10,000 difference in price is what sets these two SUVs apart right at the outset, with the Audi naturally coming in as the more expensive, premium crossover. But the SQ5 offers a bit more grunt from under the hood, with its 3.0-liter engine producing 349 hp and 369 lb-ft - 14 hp more than the ST, but 11 lb-ft less torque. In terms of fuel economy, both vehicles offer 19 mpg in city driving conditions and 21 combined - but the Edge ST offers slightly better highway gas mileage. It's obvious that the huge price discrepancy comes at the cost of something plush, and in this case, it relates to the magnificent interior which the Audi is equipped with, as well as the comfortable, smooth, and seamless drive behind the four-ringed aristocrat. Although the SQ5 doesn't quite have the cargo space the Edge ST does, it's better put together, with classic Bavarian attention to detail both inside and out. Additionally, the SQ5 can tow almost 1,000 lbs more than the Edge ST can and it's quicker from 0-60 mph by more than half a second. While both vehicles have their strengths, both also have their place in the market - depending on what your budget is, you can opt for either and be quite happy. If you have the money to spend on the SQ5 though, it's clearly the better vehicle.
Think of the Escape as the Ford Edge's baby sister, with the ST denoting the added rebellion of a plucky sophomore big brother. The Escape is smaller - a petite little SUV measuring ten inches shorter in length, two inches shorter in height, and three-and-a-half inches narrower. Despite its diminutive size, the Escape still boasts 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and offers only fractionally less headroom. Some clever design skills also mean the Escape has a smidgeon more legroom in the front. As is expected of a kid sister, the Escape is much less powerful though - at least in base-model guise - making only 168 hp and 170 lb-ft from the 2.5-liter engine. The result of this is much-improved fuel economy, but also substantially less vigor. Opting for the Titanium trim makes the Escape a little more of a contender, adding a 245-hp engine, and some prettier interior features. Even fully-loaded in the most expensive configuration, the Ford Escape costs around $8,000 less than the Edge ST, but it feels cheaper, too. The Edge ST is the one to go for if you need the space, the size, and the sweet ST attitude.
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