The Ford Edge SUV – appropriated from the American market and adapted for European tastes – has been on sale in the UK since 2015. It offers an unusual halfway house that sits between C-segment competitors such as the Honda CR-V, and the second rung of German SUVs like the Audi Q5.
For 2019, Ford has decided it is time to freshen up the Edge with a midlife aesthetic and technical update. The front has received a significant makeover, with a trapezoidal grille that no longer butts up to the headlight clusters, which themselves have been revised to incorporate new LED daytime running lamps. Adaptive Lighting with Ford Dynamic LED Headlights is now optional.
As well as the upper area of the Edge’s nose, the lower splitter and two outer air intakes have been revised, while around the back, the Ford SUV has – regrettably, in our opinion – lost one of its most distinctive features, as it no longer has a full-width light strip across the boot. Nevertheless, with five alloy wheel choices (up to 21 inches, on the ST-Line models) and four new paint colours, the Edge remains a handsome SUV.
Inside is much the same as before, save for the adoption of a rotary gearshift mechanism that has freed up enough space beneath the centre stack to allow Ford to offer a wireless smartphone charging pad.
The instrument cluster is now fully digital and has a fair degree of configurability, while the SYNC 3 infotainment system remains – it’s not a bad system, by any means, but it doesn’t feel like it can stand comparison to the cutting-edge software you’d find in some rivals, such as Sensus Connect in a Volvo XC60. No matter; SYNC 3 is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, so you can hook the Edge up to your phone if you prefer.
The SUV has also gained new safety technologies, such as a Stop&Go enhancement of its Active Cruise Control, as well as Lane Centring and Evasive Steering Assist features to build on the Ford’s extensive standard package of camera-based systems.
Power still comes solely from a range of diesel units – possibly a risky move, in today’s anti-diesel climate – but there’s a little more choice than before. The two pre-existing 178bhp and 207bhp engines have higher outputs, while Ford has also introduced a two-wheel-drive variant on the entry-level 148bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel, where it is teamed to an eight-speed auto box.
Moving up, the same single-turbo, four-cylinder engine can be had with 187bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox, plus Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. This allows the car to run in front-wheel-drive mode most of the time, saving fuel. Finally, the bi-turbo EcoBlue engine now delivers 237bhp and 500Nm, all through the automatic box and AWD.
It’s this 237bhp EcoBlue engine we drove in ST-Line trim. Ride and refinement are excellent, while the beefier, torquier engine provides more than adequate performance. However, as Ford is so famed for its sweet handling chassis, the Edge doesn’t appear to have the most sparkling underpinnings. It’s also saddled with steering that’s not rich in feel, even if it is reasonably well-weighted and consistent in its responses.
The Edge’s main problems, though, are familiar from the pre-facelift model. Firstly, it remains resolutely a five-seater; there isn’t even a cost option for a seven-seat model. And secondly, the range begins at a robust £36,995, with our ST-Line (only available with the most powerful engine) commanding an even steeper £42,995. That places it right on the level of its German rivals, rather than sitting it closer to the sub-premium fare with price tags that begin with a two.
However, the huge 602-litre boot (1,847 litres with the rear seats folded) remains to make the Edge a convincing package if a large load bay is your main priority. The new design is attractive and the interior has plenty of merits, while the less-than-stellar handling will unlikely matter to more buyers of this type of car.