Ford has completed its SUV line-up with a larger model, the Edge, a car that takes the brand back into the luxury part of this segment. Canadian-built, it's largely designed for the other side of the Atlantic, but the brand reckons it's also been tuned for the needs of European buyers too.
Ford's record in bringing us large, luxurious SUVs isn't one of the very best. The brand's last effort in this regard was the forgettable Explorer, a heavy, inefficient lumbering 4x4 that was fine for Stateside buyers but rather inappropriate for European ones. At last though, the brand has tried again in this segment and this Edge mode looks a much more competitive proposition.
It's built in Ontario, Canada but was designed from the outset to be a world car, rather than merely one to suit the Americas. Hence the efficient 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine fitted to all variants this side of the Atlantic. And cutting edge levels of technology.
The car is offered here with a choice of 180PS 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine with six-speed manual transmission, or a 210PS bi-turbo 2.0litre TDCi diesel with a six-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox. The Edge offers fresh Ford technologies, including Adaptive Steering, which automatically optimises the steering response according to vehicle speed, making it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds, while remaining precise and intuitive at higher speeds.
The Edge features Ford's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) technology as standard, delivering a seamless transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive performance to provide a more secure footing on the road especially in slippery conditions. Measuring how the car's wheels are gripping the road surface every 16 milliseconds - 20 times quicker than it takes to blink - the system can send up to 100 per cent of engine torque to the front or rear wheels. Strong refinement is achieved with acoustic windscreen glass and all Edge models are also equipped with Ford's Active Noise Control technology that detects unwanted engine noise in the cabin and cancels it out with opposing sound waves fed through the integrated sound system.
The Edge model's exterior is sharply sculpted and athletic with strong 'shoulders' and a muscular, quite compact bonnet. To improve efficiency, unique air curtains are positioned on the lower part of the fascia to guide air from the front of the vehicle, out through the front wheel wells and down the vehicle side.
The interior has been designed with pretty high-quality materials throughout, including soft-touch trims on the dashboard and centre console, high-gloss piano black surrounds on the switch bezels and a satin silver metal finish for the door handles, air vent bezels, glovebox trim and steering wheel detailing. The Edge is also offered with heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats from mid-range 'Titanium' trim.
All Edge models use a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel and feature All Wheel Drive. You'll pay from around £30,000 for the entry-level 'Zetec' 180PS version. You'll need a budget of around £35,000 if you want this engine in pokier 210PS guise. There are three trim levels, 'Zetec', 'Titanium'; and 'Sport' and on the 210PS version, you get a 6-speed Powershift auto gearbox.
The Edge is well-equipped as standard, offering Active Noise Control, Pedestrian Detection, a Ford DAB Audio system with SYNC 2 connectivity, privacy glass and 19in alloy wheels. The car debuts a segment-first 'Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection' system. This is a camera- and radar-based set-up that can operate at speeds from 5mph to 110mph to detect vehicles and people in the road ahead. The system can automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected and the driver does not respond to warnings. Plus there's the option of a Front Wide View Camera, which makes restricted visibility junctions or parking spaces easier to negotiate.
Ford is confident that the Edge meets the class standard for efficiency. By only delivering torque where and when it is needed, the car's Intelligent AWD set-up has minimal impact on fuel-efficiency and CO2emissions compared with permanent four-wheel drive systems. As a result, both 2.0 TDCi diesel powertrains aim to deliver 48.7mpg fuel efficiency and 149g/km CO2 supported by Auto-Start-Stop technology.
Early indications of residual values also look promising, with CAP's Gold Book expecting a 180PS 2.0-litre TDCi manual 'Zetec' variant to retain 56.6% of its new list price, after three years and 30,000 miles.
One thing's for certain: this is the most competitive large SUV that the Blue Oval brand has yet brought us. It's sharply styled, well equipped and as capable off road as it needs to be.
Of course, there are some drawbacks with the Edge. It doesn't offer seven seats to take on some of its key rivals and the six-speed automatic transmission can take a little longer to swap gears than we'd ideally like. But you know what? We can happily live with these foibles. Ford at last has a class-competitive contender in this segment.
Choose from 2 different Ford Edge grades.
Images for illustration purposes only