Automotive Affairs: The 2019 Ford Edge ST
Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ
As promising as the 2019 Ford Edge ST sounds, it's not exactly the kind of car you'd want to drive on a daily basis.
Since then, the “ST” badge has shown up on plenty of Focus and Fiesta models around the world and for the last few years, you could walk into Ford showroom in Canada and buy a Fiesta ST or a Focus ST. Starting in 2019, you can now buy a Ford Edge ST, so the question is, is this crossover worthy of wearing an “ST” badge?
Styling: From an appearance point of view, Ford’s designers have done a fairly good job of dressing up the hum drum Edge crossover. With blacked-out grilles, aggressive front and rear bumpers, the option of 21-inch gloss black painted alloy wheels (20 inch high gloss painted black wheels are standard on the ST) and dual exhaust tips finish of the sporty looks. So, if you’re into buying a crossover that just purely looks sporty, the Edge ST would do you fine.
Interior: Step inside and you’ll find that the interior is similar to any other Ford Edge, only the ST version gets sporty bucket seats in the front. You also get a rotary dial as your gear selector, an idea taken from Jaguar/Land Rover, which also has an “S” mode for when you want to do sporty driving, more of that later.
Apart from the minor touches, it is just like any other Edge model, which means it gets plus points for space, comfort, and plenty of standard features, but gets minus points for its touchscreen infotainment system which is fairly irritating to use. Nothing is more annoying than the fact that the heated steering wheel on/off switch is hidden in the touchscreen and not a hard button, like the type you get to activate the heated seats. This heated steering wheel button also requires some digging to find, as when I got in the vehicle, the infotainment system was on the “audio” screen and within a minute I felt the steering wheel get hot and I mean, really hot. So hot in fact, it was singeing my skin. I touched the screen where it looked like the symbol for a heated steering wheel, but it took me to the “climate control” screen and guess what, you couldn’t turn the heated steering wheel off from this screen either. Hands still burning, this steering wheel got uncomfortably hot, I found a small “home” screen symbol, pressed that and than I saw a tiny switch that looked like it would turn the heated steering wheel off. I pressed that, and finally, it went off. That was a lot of hassle for a simple function and given how much empty space the center console or the dashboard has, Ford could have easily fitted a “real”button for this important feature.
Yes, lots of new vehicles require a learning curve to figure everything out, but simple logic needs to be applied when designing car interiors, that’s all I ask for.
Powertrain: Under the hood of the Edge ST lies a twin-turbocharged (EcoBoost) 2.7 litre V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 380 pounds per foot of torque. Power is sent to all-wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Performance: Stomp on the throttle, and it’ll sprint from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in about 6.0 seconds, while top speed is electronically governed at 214 kilometres per hour. Fast enough to warrant an “ST” badge? Possibly!
Driving Dynamics: Numbers are one thing, how a vehicle feels is quite another. Driving feel is what’s most important, and this is where the Fiesta ST and Focus ST models truly shined. They might not have been the fastest “hot hatches” on sale, but they sounded good, and handled extremely well.
That’s what I was hoping with the Edge ST, as I climbed aboard, but it just didn’t deliver. First issue is with the gearbox, it whines and drones like a CVT, which is the biggest insult you can give to a normal automatic. Use this gearbox in “S” mode and than also use its steering wheel mounted pedal shifters (so you can control the gears yourself) and things get worse! The reaction time for the gear changes is too long and within a minute you’ll be so annoyed, that you’ll switch it out of “S” mode and drive casually in “D” mode.
Handling is the same, it is too heavy to be fun on back roads and the stiffer springs mean you just bounce and crash on less than perfectly smooth surfaces.
To me, the whole point of an “ST” is to get a vehicle that is fun to drive and this Edge ST just isn’t.
Fuel Economy: In my test cycle (170 kilometres of highway driving + 130 kilometres of city driving) the Edge ST consumed 12.7 litres per 100 kilometres. According to Ford, it should achieve 11.0 litres per 100 kilometres which I don’t think will be easy to achieve, unless you drive very softly; in the real world, my figure is probably as good as it gets, which means, it isn’t as fuel efficient as most of its competitors.
Pricing: Current base price for the Edge ST is $47,699. That makes it a fair bit cheaper than some of its proposed rivals, but then, you get what you pay for.
Verdict: The “ST” badge used to stand for a purely thrilling driving experience, one that was guaranteed to put a smile on your face. With the Edge ST, the “ST” badge is just a marketing gimmick and with an Explorer ST planned for next year, a further dilution of the once great “ST” label has begun, which for car enthusiasts, is a sad turn of events. And to answer the question posted earlier in the article, no, the Edge ST isn’t worthy of wearing the “ST” badge.
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PHOTOS COURTESY OF NAUMAN FAROOQ