The 2019 Ford Edge ST is certainly quicker than its more pedestrian stablemates, but it lacks the raw performance capabilities of its smaller, more famous cousins, the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST. As a more-exciting-than-stock family car, it does just fine, even if the asking price is a little stiff.
(Full disclosure: Ford loaned me a fully-fueled Edge ST for this review.)
As far as crossovers go, the Ford Edge is a pretty good one. That’s because it’s boxy like a station wagon, but not bloated like an Explorer. Granted, I’ve only tested Explorers up to the 2019 model year. The new generation might be better, so I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve spent some time with it. Ford’s ST designation has, until now, meant “fast,” but don’t let the moniker fool you into believing Blue Oval engineers (or, more likely, product folks) have created a muscle crossover.
Aside from a smooth ride and unobtrusive styling, the best asset the Edge–any Edge, not just the ST–puts forth where parents are concerned is cargo space. A three-row crossover it is not, but that works to its benefit, because the cargo space behind the rear seats is cavernous. And now that it’s pumpkin patch visiting, holiday shopping and house project season, that could come in handy for any modestly-sized one or two-child family.
In terms of its footprint, the Edge is not a particularly large vehicle. It’s less than 16 feet long, a little over 6 feet wide and at 5'8" tall, it’s an inch shorter than the average American male. But its shape is angular by modern standards, which translates into a lot of usable interior space. Parents, rejoice.
The front seats are roomy and comfortable if a bit firm and the back seat is big enough to fit multiple junior astronaut chairs (a.k.a. child safety seats). The rear door openings are large enough to easily get writhing progeny in and out when you’re trying to stuff them into a car seat with a bag or two of groceries on one arm. Unlike some other vehicles someone interested in the Edge might consider, like the Kia Sorrento, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, and Dodge Durango, the Edge isn’t available with a third row. But for smaller families, that’s just fine, and as I mentioned, translates to more cargo volume behind the two rows of seats you do get.
Cargo area behind the Edge’s rear seats is generous at just over 39 cubic feet. That expands to 73.4 cubic feet with the back seats folded flat, making it one of the more voluminous crossovers in its class. Both the Chevrolet Blazer (which will be available in an extended, three-row version in 2020) and the Hyundai Santa Fe (which can already be had with one) offer less cargo space than the Edge.
It may not be apparent when viewing the Edge in profile–its rear quarter windows are tiny–but its load floor is large, making it easy to load in non-stackable items like flattened strollers and big grocery hauls. Also, pumpkins, which would fall out of a small-floored, high-roofed crossover as soon as you opened the rear hatch.
My son is only a year and a half old, but I’ve already attempted to introduce him to the world of understatement and modesty. The Edge is a good transportation platform for such a lesson, particularly in its interior. The ST’s cabin aesthetic isn’t tautly spartan in the way a Volkswagen’s is. But it is unpretentious, with some well-placed upholstery stitching and aluminum vent bezels to lend an air of basic quality without dipping into ostentation. Junior, take note: simple is good.
Inside the Edge, the main drawback is the design of the LATCH child safety seat anchors. They’re those cushion-embedded metal loops I’m sure parents everywhere have grown to hate. Once you get used to them, they’re OK, but every time you have to re-clip the seat straps, an awkward wrestling match ensues that, at least in my case, most likely results in furthering junior’s education in the use of blue language.
If you’re looking at the ST version of the Ford Edge, there’s a good chance you have some expectation of an exciting driving experience. After all, Ford’s ST line has coughed up some of the more compelling hot hatches on the market. But the introduction of the ST nameplate into the crossover realm falls short of the performance cred for which ST has previously been known. The Edge ST is certainly more capable than its Edge Sport predecessor and of course it’s more aggressive than other trim levels in the Edge line. But don’t expect a Focus ST aura acceleration and handling from a 4,477-pound crossover, and what is essentially a warmed-up version of the plain-Jane Edge.
Its soft suspension and unremarkable road manners aside, the Edge ST is sprightly for a crossover of its size and weight, owing to a 335-horsepower 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6. The engine’s full 380 lb-ft of torque comes on at 3,000 rpm, relatively low in the power band, making for strong pulls away from stop signs, traffic lights and the like. If your definition of “safety” includes being able to rocket onto the freeway with enough hustle to convert the headlights of approaching vehicles into fading pinpoints of light, well, you’re solidly halfway there in the Edge ST. It had the ability to make my son giggle from his car seat and my wife chide me about driving irresponsibly, so there’s that.
Handling is a little soft. I’d even dare to say not worthy of ST badging, but good for someone whose primary concerns are less focused on shuckin’ and jivin’ and more so on shuttling offspring safely to and from school and activities.
In general, spongey-ish handling a softer ride makes. Braking was similarly ho-hum–not the stuff of a performance car (not nearly), but enough to get the job done under the driving conditions to which most parents are subjected.
Fuel economy is predictable for a 335-horsepower vehicle with a curb weight of nearly 4,500 pounds... so-so. The EPA rating is 19 mpg city, 26 highway with a combined average of 21 mpg. In other words, it’s on par with other crossovers in its class. In the real world, in which an ST badge and a twin-turbo mill compelled me to press my right foot a little harder to the floor on a regular basis, my average hovered below 20 mpg in mixed city and highway driving. A more conservative driving style would likely yield more thrifty numbers, but why pay extra for ST oomph only to drive it like a Prius?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Edge top marks in all of its crash tests and in its evaluation of active safety features. But it gave a “Poor” rating to the lights and just an “Acceptable” rating to the LATCH anchors. As I mentioned earlier, the LATCH anchors aren’t the easiest type to use. (The easy ones usually have a little plastic access door that flips out of the way to reveal unshrouded LATCH loops.) The Edge has a five-star (out of five) safety rating from the federal government, with five-star marks in all crash testing categories besides rollover, in which it got four stars.
On the surface, the Ford Edge ST is a perfectly adequate family car that hauls ass with a dash more aplomb than most in that category. It’ll scoot to 60 mph in less than six seconds while satisfying the mundane demands of the workaday progenitor with ease–roomy back seat, plenty of cargo space, halfway decent fuel economy.
Where the ST version falls flat, though, is in terms of price. At nearly $50,000, the one I tested was solidly in BMW X3 and Audi Q5 territory. Those are vehicles with styling and resale values buyers may find more attractive. For not much more, you could get into a similarly-optioned X3 xDrive30i that will take a few fractions of a second longer to get to 60 but will probably handle better. The Bimmer doesn’t have as much cargo space as the Edge, but it’s a little more fun to drive and has a much more polished interior.
The Edge ST isn’t bad, but I can’t imagine paying luxury car money for a gussied-up Ford crossover. This vehicle just doesn’t have the bite or beauty to stand out, which it really needs in such a crowded segment of cars. But maybe it will find its niche of buyers, though. More importantly, it’s an interesting milestone for Ford’s ST line and what that will look like in the future. The Explorer ST is already coming soon for 2020, and of course, the Focus and Fiesta have been sunsetted.
The Edge ST can Baby better than either of Ford’s canceled-in-America hatchbacks, but it’s not up to filling the hole those cars left in our hearts.