Paul Horrell25 June 2014

This is Ford’s new global SUV

The Edge is coming to Blighty. Paul Horrell reports

Last year Ford sold 1.2 million SUVs around the world. This is the new Edge, and it's supposed to add substantially to that total. For the first time, it gives Ford a plausible big-SUV in our part of the world. It arrives next year, suitably equipped with local necessities including high-tech diesel engines and the steering wheel on the right.

Because it's a global car, Ford's European designers say they had an influence pretty well from the start. At the front, they made sure the grille, though bold, wasn't too brash, and added LED lighting. Along the sides they emphasised precise lines and surfacing. Oh and a stepped, black sill panel that's supposed to remind us of 'the athletic form of a cheetah'.

All versions are 4WD and diesel powered. The choice is either a 180bhp single-turbo 2.0 with a manual, or a 210bhp twin-turbo version with a new six-speed twin-clutch transmission. They sit either side of 150g/km CO2.

There's lots of tech. Active noise cancellation should keep the engine's efforts in the background, using three cabin mics to feed the hi-fi speakers with opposite-phase sound. A new optional active steering system doesn't just vary the steering ratio according to speed, but can also, say the engineers, make the Edge feel like a lighter car. It manages that trick by quickening the steering in the first part of a turn, then factions of a second later slowing it to stop things getting twitchy.

It's based on the same platform as the next-generation Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy, so that gives you an idea of the size. Length is 4810mm to be precise. There are no exact prices yet, but Ford people say it'll cost less than an Audi Q5, but has more interior room than a Q7.

It certainly feels that big when you get in, with a cavern of a boot and a rear seat that allowed three tallish motoring journalists, none of them strangers to the free lunch, to sit side by side and stretch their legs.

Over the next year Ford will be busy at the top of its range, with all-new versions of the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy, as well as the Edge. Ford of Europe's chief of sales and marketing Roelant de Waard told TopGear.com they will all overlap in price and none are exactly the flagship: "I wouldn't want to put them into a hierarchy." Anyway, top of the range will be the Mustang.

He also said the Edge had "No obvious competitor," because of where it sits in the price-to-size ratio. He said the Koreans don't have a rival because the Edge is more high-end and "charismatic", and has more tech goodies. What he didn't say, but we will, is that while the cabin trim is perfectly decent, it's not at Audi quality.

So Ford will have a three-crossover range, from the little Ecosport to the mid-size Kuga and big Edge. The Kuga is a good car and it's selling very well, and some 80 percent of buyers get the top-end Titanium trim. That means handy income for Ford. We aren't so taken with the Ecosport, which was built for South America and doesn't translate well. Let's hope the Edge is more like the former than the latter.

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