Ford’s performance-oriented ST trim makes its way to the brand’s mid-size crossover SUV.
Located east of Salt Lake City, Utah, Emigration Canyon Road is a mass of twisting and turning tarmac that spans 7.8 miles and features an elevation gain of nearly 1,500 feet. It’s a route suited for a spirited stint in a sports car. Or a performance-oriented crossover SUV?
The 2019 Ford Edge ST is the first crossover SUV from the Blue Oval to wear the ST badge (the next-generation Explorer also welcomes an ST trim). Although the bar is rather low, the Edge ST is a dynamically superior alternative to its conventional Edge counterpart. Whereas lesser Edge models rely on a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine for motivation, the Edge ST makes haste courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6. Previously offered in the 315-horsepower Edge Sport, the engine adds an extra 20 horses to its stable for its turn in the Edge ST. Torque is up, as well, to a haughty 380 pound-feet – 30 more than last year.
All that oomph gets to the ground by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission that swaps cogs as smoothly as Lewis Hamilton lapping Monaco. All in, Ford claims the Edge ST can scoot to 60 miles per hour in less than 6.0 seconds.
All in, Ford claims the Edge ST can scoot to 60 miles per hour in less than 6.0 seconds.
As in the standard, four-cylinder Edge, the eight-speed gearbox is hesitant to downshift at highway speeds. However, the additional power and torque of the V6 manage to move the Edge ST with reasonable pep, even if the transmission’s lethargy makes the crossover feel less powerful in passing situations than its 335 horsepower suggests.
Tapping the “Sport” button improves the reaction time of the transmission (it also amplifies engine noise in the cabin courtesy of the stereo speakers’ active noise cancellation technology), although the setting all-but eliminates the gearbox’s urge to tap into its overdrive ratios. A set of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters allows me to take control of gear-shifting duties, however, the chintzy plastic paddles prove slow to respond to my frenzied pecking. Better to leave the transmission in “Sport” mode and let the Edge ST shift for itself during more spirited drives.
Revised front and rear springs and model-specific monotube shocks work with available summer-rated 21-inch Pirelli P Zero rubber, as well as improved brake pads and front rotors crafted of more fade-resistant materials. The tires and brakes are bundled together in the $2,695 ST Performance Brake package, and the combination provides the Edge ST with plentiful grip and a reassuringly firm brake pedal. The ST’s suspension changes notably lessen the amount of body-roll through turns and the amount of squat at takeoff relative to the four-cylinder Edge. However, the front-end of the Edge ST dives noticeably under heavy braking. Steering feel is conspicuously missing from the ST, although there’s an artificial heaviness to the tiller that does little to boost my confidence as I saw at the thick-rimmed steering wheel.
No amount of summer rubber can hide the immense heft of the Edge ST. Weighing in at a reported 4,477 pounds, the six-cylinder Edge ST packs an extra 353 pounds of mass compared to the run-of-the-mill, all-wheel-drive Edge. When push came to shove, the Edge ST ultimately gave into its understeering tendencies.
No amount of summer rubber can hide the immense heft of the Edge ST.
Although the limited behind-the-wheel engagement of the Edge ST will surely disappoint fans of the all-engrossing Focus ST and Fiesta ST that came before, consumers seeking an extra dose of civility will appreciate the Edge ST’s commitment to quiet comfort. Like lesser Edge models, the Edge ST benefits from a stiff chassis, quiet cabin, and generally cushy ride. While the ST suspension is stiffer than other Edge models, the top-of-the-line trim manages to soak up road irregularities with surprising poise – an even more impressive feat given my White Platinum (a $595 option) test car wore a mammoth set of 21-inch wheels and tires (20s come standard). A pair of ST-specific leather-lined bucket seats combine long-haul comfort with chunky bolstering that successfully keep the driver and front-passenger in place once the road begins to bend.
Along with standard items such as dual-zone climate control, automatic high-beam headlights, a blind-spot information system, and a lane-keeping assist system, the Edge ST I drove between Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah included additional opulence thanks to the inclusion of the $5,585 Equipment Group 401A option package (in-dash navigation, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, adaptive cruise control, a lane-centering system, and more) and the $495 Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel, windshield wiper de-icer).
Ford wants consumers to view the $42,355 Edge ST as a budget alternative to performance-oriented crossover SUVs such as the $54,300 Audi SQ5 or the $56,250 Mercedes-AMG GLC43. Alas, the Blue Oval’s entrant lacks the tactility and dynamic poise of the pricier premium products. With plentiful power, a bounty of standard safety and convenience features, and a reasonable starting price, the Edge ST is sure to draw its share of fanfare. Nevertheless, those with the means ought to spend the extra coin to step into a more dynamically engaging – and pricier – premium performance-oriented crossover SUV.