– Strong engine
– Cabin space and features
– Fairly comfortable ride
– Pricey with options
– Steering too light
– Some hard cabin plastics
Ford is pretty much the only non-premium carmaker that is serious about offering a modern line-up of turbo-engined cars in the GCC region. From the Fiesta to the Expedition, there’s a turbo engine in each of them. But while some of the offerings concentrate on saving fuel, a few are offered as performance models. One of them is the new Ford Edge Sport.
The new Ford Edge is a more contemporary vehicle than the one before it. It won’t turn any heads, but in Sport form, it gains body-coloured lower exterior panels and massive 21-inch smoked alloy wheels that may raise an eyebrow or two. It is strictly a family crossover, yet it’s hinting that it is hiding a secret under the bonnet that will back up its looks.
The doors now wrap around along the bottom which reduces the width of the door sill, making it much easier to step in or out of the new model than before. Once inside, you are greeted with a simple layout, but we appreciated the use of leather upholstery and soft-touch surfaces generously all over the dash, doors and centre-console. Hard plastics are relegated to the lower half of the cabin. But while the build feels more solid than any Honda, a couple of the cabin panels and trim bits don’t line up.
The front features mildly-bolstered ventilated power-adjustable seats. In the back of this 5-seater, there is good legroom and decent headroom. The 60:40-split rear seatbacks recline or fold flat under electric power using buttons in the boot, which also has a power-operated tailgate. The good-sized boot came with a rubber mat in our tester, while there are more storage spaces under the boot floor next to the spare wheel. There are numerous storage options and cup-holders throughout the cabin, including a shelf within the deep centre-armrest cubby up front.
Tech features include the more-responsive MyFord Touch multimedia touchscreen with voice controls and a user-friendly button layout below the screen (instead of touch buttons like in the previous model). Basic functionality is easy, such as radio-station selection and Bluetooth pairing, but on the move, it is easier to use the buttons or the long-winded voice controls. In an odd move, Ford continues to offer an aftermarket GCC navigation system that uses the same touchscreen but exits the MyFord Touch interface when in use.
Further features include dual LCD screens with individual controls on the steering wheel, a strong 12-speaker Sony sound system with subwoofer, a power tailgate with hands-free opening with the wave of a foot, an automated parking system for hands-free steering, seven selectable ambient LED lighting colours, a rear camera, a 180-degree front wide-view camera that can see around corners, smart keyless entry and start, power-adjustable steering column and a good dual-zone climate control a/c with rear vents.
The Ford Edge packs a variety of safety features in their top-spec model, including Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection which applies braking if a collision is imminent, Side Parking Aid for alerts to obstacles around the vehicle, Cross Traffic Alert that warns drivers when reversing out of a parking space, blind-spot monitoring and various lane-keeping assists, as well as a full set of airbags along with two of Ford’s unique inflatable seat-belts in the rear outer seats only. Those thick seat-belts are a massive pain when installing certain child seats, so we had to use the rear-centre seat with the regular non-inflatable belt. Alternatively, get a pricier child seat that supports ISOFIX latches.
Available in several trim levels, the 2.7-litre EcoBoost turbocharged V6 on the Sport model is massively more powerful than the other two motors on offer, making 335 hp at 4750 rpm and 542 Nm of torque at 2750 rpm in GCC-spec tune. Keeping it simple with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission with little plastic paddle-shifters, it’s enough to turn the Edge Sport into a bit of a rocket. We clocked it in the 0-100 kph run at 7 seconds flat during our October afternoon run, although it feels much quicker thanks to its strong low-end kick, once you get past the minor turbo lag. However, it loses steam a bit at the top end, so don’t start any highway drag-races beyond the speed limit.
Fuel economy averages out to about 15 litres/100 km with a bit of aggressive driving mixed in with mostly casual cruising.
The Ford Edge rides comfortably with some firmness mildly felt only over sharper imperfections due to the low-profile 265/40 tyres. It has well-tuned suspension, a stiffer new body, more sound-deadening materials, and even Active Noise Control technology that works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones to minimise engine noise. The irony is that a muscular engine note is fed into the quiet cabin through the speakers as well, although we have to admit it sounds good.
Driving it around town is made easier with better all-round visibility, cameras, parking sensors and an adaptive steering system which lightens up and reduces the ratio at parking speeds for shorter turns lock-to-lock. At higher speeds in ‘Sport’ mode, the steering firms up and adapts the ratio so it doesn’t feel twitchy.
Even with mild steering feel, the Edge is one of most entertaining crossovers around, with good handling that’s aided by a quick-acting all-wheel-drive system. Body roll in corners and floatiness over uneven terrain are both minimal, the steering is well-weighted, the brakes are good with decent pedal feel, and there’s tons of grip from the wide tyres.
The new Edge also has better ground clearance than the old model, and with its responsive all-wheel-drive system as well as some skilful driving, it can tackle mild sand dunes rather well. It has better ground clearance than before, but no low-range gearing, so getting stuck means waiting for a passing Nissan Patrol to pull you out.
The Ford Edge is quite the all-rounder, and does very little wrong. But as cool as the Sport version is, it’s hard to get truly excited over the boosted version of a family crossover that crosses into premium territory in terms of pricing. However, if expensive mundane cars such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 and the Lexus RX are on your shopping list, we’d say skip those and get this boosted Edge. Nobody is going to think you’re rich because you’re driving a little crossover with a premium badge, so you might as well spend that money on something that is more fun and more practical, like this larger, faster Ford Edge Sport.
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