PARK CITY, UT – A tap on the brake pedal and the ’19 Ford Edge ST’s 8-speed automatic transmission performs a rev-matched downshift and holds the gear as speed and revs climb during a mile-long descent into this mountain ski village.
Transmission algorithms in “Sport” mode are responsible for that dependable powertrain response, as is gear-holding in cornering when the Edge ST’s yaw sensor detects forces in excess of 0.25g. The goal, says vehicle integration engineer Reza Elahi, is to avoid upsetting the vehicle’s balance during aggressive driving maneuvers.
The Edge gets a significant midcycle refresh for ’19 including a host of new driver-assistance technologies, drivetrain improvements and the introduction of the Edge ST, the first CUV tuned by the Ford Performance division. The ST replaces the Edge Sport in the automaker’s lineup.
Like the Sport, the Edge ST is powered by a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 2.7L V-6, but gains an extra 20 hp and 30 lb.-ft. (41 Nm) of torque to 335 hp and 380 lb.-ft. (515 Nm). The power increase is achieved via engine calibration to take advantage of the new transmission’s ability to handle higher output.
The Edge ST is the company’s quickest ST model ever, capable of hitting 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 6.0 seconds, Ford says.
While the relatively wide-bodied Edge always feels a bit bulkier than many midsize CUVs, attention to body control gives the ST more svelte handling, while engine response is immediate and powerful. Running through the gears via the paddle shifters produces quick shifts and rapid reaction, eliminating any lag we encounter when allowing the 8-speed to respond on its own.
The aforementioned gear-holding is especially evident when rallying the Edge through tight corners, the transmission staying put to allow for smooth weight transitions via the accelerator pedal and engine speed.
The ST also gets the automaker’s first application of disconnecting all-wheel drive as standard, performance brakes and sport-tuned suspension including monotube rear shocks and beefier front and rear antiroll bars.
The disconnecting AWD draws on sensors and the operation of headlights and windshield wipers to determine whether to switch from front-drive to AWD when extra traction is needed. When AWD isn’t needed, a clutch in the front power takeoff unit and a low-friction rear coupling remove parasitic losses that would be caused by continuing to rotate the driveshaft.
Another significant powertrain revision for ’19 is default-on stop/start standard across the lineup; we find it unobtrusive in its fuel-saving operation, unnoticeable on shutdown and barely vibrating the vehicle on restart.
In previous years, stop/start was optional and rarely chosen by customers, but is now standard to qualify for fuel-economy credits. Other measures added to improve fuel efficiency and obtain off-cycle credits include active grille shutters, full LED lighting and a transmission warming circuit running off the engine’s cooling system.
Twin-turbo 2.7L V-6 gets power boost.
The rest of the Edge family, the premium-trim Titanium, high-volume SEL and base SE, all are equipped with the carryover 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 offering an additional 5 hp to 250 hp and 275 lb.-ft. (373 Nm) of torque, now mated to the 8-speed automatic. Disconnecting AWD is optional on non-ST models.
The fuel-efficiency efforts help the 2.0L AWD Edge achieve 21/28 mpg (11.2-8.4 L/100 km) city/highway while the ST is rated at 19/26 (12.4-9.0 L/100 km), a 2-mpg (0.87-km/L) improvement over the ’18 model for both powertrains (on premium fuel). Thanks to the disconnecting AWD, the Edge sees just a 1 mpg (0.4 km/L) penalty compared to front-drive models.
Technology upgrades include Ford’s first application of full-range adaptive cruise control with camera-based lane centering in the Edge and its stablemate, the Lincoln Nautilus. The optional system builds on the automaker’s first SUV offering of Co-Pilot 360 that includes an array of standard driver-assistance features: pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection; blindspot and cross-traffic detection; lane-keeping assistance; rear camera with a lens-washing system; and automatic high-beam headlights.
The lane-centering system is a pleasure to use, keeping the vehicle well inside either lane marker and able to handle the steering work unassisted for 10-15 seconds before it alerts the driver to grab the wheel.
The ACC does a good job of holding speed and distance and is highly capable of bringing the vehicle to a complete stop and then restarting again if the vehicle ahead moves within a few seconds. We’d like some larger telltales indicating exactly what’s happening with the assistive systems, but at least the smaller instrument cluster icon shows when the Edge “knows” there’s a vehicle ahead.
As for some of the other systems, such as Active Park Assist that automatically guides the vehicle into a parallel or perpendicular space, we’re still not sold. Some drivers could use the help with their parallel-parking skills, but we think angling into a straight-in parking space is just as well left to the person behind the wheel.
Pricing for the base Edge SE starts at $29,995, SEL at $32,970 and the Titanium at $38,550. The Edge ST starts at $42,355 with a fully loaded model topping out at $54,010. Prices do not include a $995 destination charge.
The Edge is built at Ford’s assembly plant in Oakville, ON, Canada.