One of the company's boldest designs to reach Europe in some years, the new Ford Edge crowns the firm's SUV range in Ireland. Those rugged looks are backed up by an all-wheel drive transmission as standard and a torquey diesel engine.
In the Metal:
Unlike the Ford EcoSport and Kuga crossovers, the Edge is an SUV that absolutely delivers in terms of presence. There is a distinct American influence in the styling of the exterior, even though it is parts of the company's 'One Ford' global model plan. It exudes a solid and chunky image and that alone is certain to appeal to some buyers. The large bold grille and headlights dominates the front of the Edge, though it has a short bonnet thanks to a more raked A-pillar and windscreen, the base of which sits almost in line with the front axle line.
The chunky image is helped by the 19-inch wheels that come as standard on Titanium grade. Ford Ireland will only offer this and a higher 'Sport' specification. Along the bottom of the front bumper there is an aluminium-look scuff guard, while the rest of the car's lower body wears protective black plastic cladding. A sloped C-pillar and rear screen add to the Edge's sportier look while the Titanium grade also gets silver roof rails. Even at the rear the Edge looks impressive, most noticeably by the light clusters that are linked across the tail gate by a brake light bar.
Opening the boot lid, which is electrically-operated, reveals a 602-litre cargo area when filled up to the retractable compartment cover. If you need to fill it up to the roof you will have 800 litres of volume at your disposal while folding down the rear seat backs gives up to 1,847 litres of luggage volume.
Inside, there is plenty of passenger space, especially in the rear. There is room for three adults and along with the two Isofix points there is just about enough space in the middle to squeeze in a slim booster seat. Up front it is a familiar affair for anyone that has sat in the current Ford Galaxy, Mondeo or S-Max. The SYNC2 touchscreen infotainment system is within easy reach from the driver's seat too, although the part-digital dashboard instrument display is very busy looking and isn't the easiest to read at a quick glance. Ergonomically, the controls are all well placed while rearward and side visibility from the door mirrors is good for the segment.
Ford is offering just two choices of drivetrain in the Edge: a 180hp manual transmission as tested here and a more powerful 210hp PowerShift automatic. Both use variations of the 2.0-litre TDCi turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine and the manual and automatic are six-speed transmissions. Ford is only offering the Edge with its Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which in the case of this lesser powered 180hp engine can lead it to feel a touch underpowered. Not helping matters is the manual gearbox that just doesn't feel as slick as it should. It is far from agricultural, but for a car costing upwards of €55,700 you would expect better.
On the move, you won't be mistaking the engine for a petrol one either - despite the presence of acoustic glass and a noise cancellation system that works just like some modern headphones to cancel out in-cabin noise. Under load the engine does produce a bit of a racket, though once cruising around it does quieten down. With 400Nm of torque on tap from 2,000rpm the Edge does get up to speed reasonably quickly and once it gets there the engine does settle down, happily cruising on the motorway at under 2,500rpm.
The ride is compliant and does a good job of absorbing most road surface imperfections. There isn't that much road noise transmitted into the cabin either despite the car rolling on 19-inch wheels. Carry some speed through a series of bends and there is a degree of body roll, though the suspension does firm up after a few degrees, while the level of mechanical grip never gives cause for concern. The Edge's steering, like in many of the current crop of Fords, is limited in how much feedback is transmitted back into the driver's hands. It is suitably weighted for a car of its size and in tighter urban confines the Edge still feels quite manoeuvrable.
What you get for your Money:
With only two high specification levels (Titanium and Sport) offered in Ireland, along with all-wheel drive as standard, the Ford Edge has a steep enough starting price of €55,700, based on the 180hp manual model in Titanium spec. In that guise standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a rear view camera, Active Noise Cancellation, Handsfree Power Tailgate and keyless entry and ignition, along with a navigation system and illuminated scuff plates. Despite the high level of standard equipment it is priced significantly higher than many other established rivals in the segment.
The Ford Edge will bring a degree of desirability to the segment for its looks alone, but with just one manual or automatic drivetrain option, not to mention the lack of a lower specification grade, it seems that Ford is limiting itself in attempting to present a more premium product. It may lag behind from a driving standpoint, but with generous levels of space and all-wheel drive it still ticks a lot of boxes for the family buyer.