New Hot-Rot Ford Edge ST Aims To Shakeup The Crossover World

Crossover

And the Detroit auto show hasn’t even started yet….

Of all the adjective and verb-laden names in Ford’s SUV lineup, Edge stands as the lifestyle player, dedicated to those who can spend their time and money on themselves rather than on raising a family. It has nether the space constraints of the budget Escape nor the bulky but family-friendly dimensions of the Explorer. Instead, it sits in the lineup as the SUV that does FoMoCo’s bidding in the premium crossover segment, which has seen a Bitcoin-rivaling explosion these last few years.

The reign of the sedan is over—mowed down by the fuel-sipping Escapes and EcoBoost-powered Expeditions—and it’s for that reason that Ford decided to funnel its R&D money into the all-new Edge crossover. A glance at its new face and specs sheet will tell you that there’s still an upgraded powertrain, new tech, and pretty styling present to make this look like your seasonal run-of-the-mill upgrade, but rest assured it’s anything but. The 2019 Edge represents a paradigm shift for Ford because for the first time ever, there’s an ST model available to tackle the track after dropping the kiddos off at school—proving that yes, even the most outlandish wants and needs of the consumer have fully migrated to the SUV platform.

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Not that the base model will be a slouch, though. Standard on all but the Edge ST will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Whether or not the buyer choses to relay that output to the front wheels or feed all four in an Edge spec’d with all wheel-drive, power will first be fed through a Ford-developed 8-speed automatic transmission. To free up space in the cabin, Ford removed the standard gear selector and replaced it with a knob that automatically shifts into park if doors are opened to prevent an FCA-like rollaway fiasco. Given that the engine only makes 5 extra horsepower over its predecessor yet features stop-start technology, expect the majority of improvement to be seen in fuel economy.

A new front and rear end will differentiate the 2019 Edge from previous models with help from sleek new headlights, a new hood, and a freshly sculpted front fascia. Along with a new sleek grille these features help the Edge look shorter and wider, more like a sports car than a top-heavy SUV, and help give the Edge more modernity by rounding off the, ahem, edges. Four new body colors and an equal number of new wheel choices ensure that customers can differentiate their Edges from the rest with ease, all the while standard LED headlamps as well as LED taillights and optional LED fog lights add a touch of newness and ensure that there’s no confusing this with a car from yesteryear at night.

For those eating this crossover’s dust, the new liftgate complete with gloss black and chrome accents as well as dual-exhaust openings could be considered consolation. Edge owners with a penchant for collecting speeding tickets will surely enjoy feeding that dust to the competition behind the wheel of the Edge ST rather than a lower trim. Go ahead and squint if you’d like, but that’s no typo. Ford, keen on finding out if the crossover craze and the innate gearhead love of performance have an intersecting point on the vehicular Venn diagram, decided to kick things up a notch by offering the new Edge in ST trim. The 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 under its hood kicks 335 horsepower—20 horses more than the Edge Sport that precedes it—to the wheels.

All wheel-drive is standard on the ST and gets help from a water-cooled transfer unit in order to help horsepower and all 380 lb-ft of torque find the grippiest tire. Both hardware and software are tuned for maximum performance, with ST-tuned sport suspension and Pirelli P-Zeros hugging the corners while the optional performance brakes can handle the heat if the sport-tuned stability control system can’t cope with driver aggression. Speaking of that, Ford ensured that no novice would go without looking like a superstar behind the wheel of the Edge ST. Cycle the through the selections and you’ll find a Sport mode that can tell traction and stability control systems to chill out and let performance-seekers have their fun.

The exterior upgrades to the Edge ST are as unruly as the SUV’s target demographic, with the mesh grille and front fascia both enabling the two turbos to breathe better and making the SUV appear ready to swallow Mercedes-AMG GLA45s for breakfast. Lowered side skirts reduce drag at speed, but your ears will never know the difference thanks to upgraded oval exhaust outlets that unleash a louder roar when sport mode is active. Available 21-inch wheels round off the souped-up Edge’s intentioned look, but Ford made sure to throw plenty of “ST” badges around the interior as well as paddle shifters and bolstered seats so occupants don’t forget that this is actually a full-blown performance model, not just an overpowered grocery-getter.

Despite the attempt to turn what was once a tame transporter for suburbanites with active lifestyles into a badboy racer, the engineering department ensured that safety systems and technology were abundant. New for the Edge is a post-collision braking system that applies the brakes after the airbags have gone off to ensure leftover kinetic energy doesn’t lead to another crash. Meanwhile, Evasive Steering Assist attempts to prevent a crash in the first place by using radar and a camera to sense if the Edge is about to smash into an object in front of it. If it determines that to be the case, the system significantly reduces the amount of steering effort needed to maneuver the Edge around an object, allowing drivers maximum maneuverability.

Angelenos and Bostonians are sure to rave about the Adaptive Cruise Control system that features stop-and-go and lane centering, all features that are sure to make our increasingly clogged freeways less of a headache to deal with. While the 2019 Edge is practically driving itself, a driver can play with the numerous tech toys inside the cabin such as the wireless phone charger or WiFi hotspot—or if stationary—scare the neighbors by using the FordPass Connect smartphone app or Amazon Alexa to start the 2.0-liter/2.7-liter and toggle various vehicle functions. Thankfully Ford is waiting until this summer to put the 2019 Edge on sale so that those ST buyers can toy around with their new performance crossovers without the risk of wiping out on a patch of ice.

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