Pros-Fast. Good handling. Stylish. Roomy. All-wheel-drive. Many safety features.
Cons-Rear seats need more thigh support. Poor rear vision. Heavy
Bottom Line-Costly with key options. Good combination of performance and practicality.
Leave it to Ford to come up with a relatively affordable hot rod SUV such as the new 2019 midsize Edge ST. After all, it makes most of its vehicle money with trucks.
The $42,355 ST (Sport Technologies) is the first SUV from the automaker's Performance team. It has a specially tuned 2.7 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine generating 335 horsepower and 380 pound/feet of torque. The estimated 0-60 m.p.h. time ranges from 5.6 to 5.8 seconds.
The ST fits in what Ford calls a "white space" in that it really has no direct American rivals. Opt for such powerful SUVs as the Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and you're looking at $60,000-plus. However, although the ST is generally well-equipped, load it with extras and you can top $50,000.
The ST certainly looks the part. Its got distinctive front and rear styling, a wide mesh grille for optimal cooling and a tougher look, deep side skirts and beautifully integrated dual exhaust outlets. It definitely isn't your ordinary looking SUV.
The fastest performance comes when you hit the "S" (Sport) button in the center of the large console's easily used space-saving rotary dial transmission shifter. Doing that makes a small digital tachometer magically appear near the speedometer and holds the gears longer for faster acceleration-and more engine noise-besides generally firming up the handling. There wasn't enough time with the ST for me to see how much the S mode significantly altered this SUV, but it has to help on such things as winding roads.
In normal mode, the steering is quick and precise, although it's not as firm as it might be, and the anti-lock brakes bite early and hard to allow sure stops. My test ST had the $2,695 Performance Brake package with upgraded front brakes rotors, red-painted calipers and performance brake pads. This option also includes extra radiator cooling.
The engine shoots power to a responsive 8-speed automatic transmission with two overdrive gears for better fuel economy. Also helping in that regard is an automate start-stop feature that shuts off the engine when the ST comes to a stop and automatically starts it when the brake pedal is released.The transmission has steering wheel shift paddles, but I found it best just leave the quick-shifting ST in "Drive" mode via the console's rotary dial shifter.
A standard all-wheel-drive system with a disconnect feature switches automatically between two- and all-wheel drive in a faction a second, using a form of artificial intelligence to sift through information including wheel slip, road conditions, vehicle speed, windshield wiper usage and outside temperature.
Estimated fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 19 in the city, although premium-grade fuel is needed for the best performance.
Handling is quite good for a tall vehicle that weighs approximately 4,200 pounds. But then, the ST has a sport suspension with such items as increased spring rates and more roll stiffness. Standard are Roll Stability Control and Curve Control. Also standard are large 20-inch tires, but my ST had the optional 21-inch tires.
The ride of my test ST was supple, even with the larger tires, although certain bumps will let occupants know this is, after all, a truck and not a big sedan.
The ST comes standard with lots of drive-assist technology. It includes Forward Collision Warning; Dynamic Brake Support; Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection: Cross-Traffic Alert; Lane-Keeping Assist and Alert; Auto High Beams, and Hill-Start Assist.
Dual-stage air bags, side-curtain air bags, rain-sensing wipers and a rearview camera are standard, while front and rear ultrasonic sensors, 180-degree front camera and Enhanced Active Park Assist are options. You can get adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go lane centering to help keep the ST a comfortable distance from vehicles ahead.
Evasive Steering Assist helps drivers steer around stopped or slower vehicles to help avoid collisions. It works at city and highway speeds, using radar and a camera to detect slower-moving and stationary vehicle ahead and provides steering support to let drivers maneuver around a vehicle if a collision is imminent.
Front doors with big handles, inside and out, open widely to allow entry to the front extra-sportive sport seats, which have additional side bolstering. The ST's interior is upscale, with nice stitching throughout and high-grade plastics. There's a push-button start and gauges are easy to quickly read. But the climate control dashboard buttons are very small, although clearly labeled.The steering column has a somewhat awkward power button on its side that causes it to tilt and telescope.
There's a good amount of soft-touch materials in the spacious cockpit. However, the rear seats would be more comfortable with additional thigh support. However, even the center seat area, which can be occupied by a fold-down armrest with cupholders, is soft enough to be comfortable for a third person. Occupants sit fairly high, but driver rear vision is poor without use of the large power outside rearview mirrors..
There's plenty of storage areas front, with extra-large beverage holders, and a roomy area where cell phones can be recharged.
The rear hatch swings up smoothly on twin struts, and the cargo area has a low, wide opening. The cargo area is impressively large, and it becomes even more so when the rear seat backs are folded forward, allowing a whopping 74.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The seat backs can be powered forward and the rear hatch can be power operated.
The words "Ford Performance" are put on door sills and even the engine cover. Ford's Performance team has a right to show off with this one.