The swoopier electric SUV is also slipperier through the air for better range
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The Top Gear car review:Ford Edge
What is it like on the road?
To suit British tastes, Ford has understandably had a bit of a fiddle with what’s underneath. For starters, American Edges get big V6s, but ours aren’t even available with a petrol engine (though Ford admits it could easily slot one in). Not even some four-cylinder EcoBoost job. The choices are a 2.0-litre diesel with 178bhp and a six-speed manual transmission, or a 207bhp version of the same engine with a six-speed ‘Powershift’ automatic. Every Edge gets all-wheel drive, whether you want it or not.
So, just two 2.0-litre diesels for the Edge. And you need the more powerful one. Don’t expect anything even vaguely resembling ‘sprightly’ performance, though. Much as we’d like the big V6 in the UK, Ford wouldn’t sell any, so the point is moot.
The basic 178bhp version, which is impressive in other Fords, is working hard against physics here. Its claimed 9.9-second 0-62mph looks quicker written down than it feels in practice; it feels absurdly slow, particularly when you wish to overtake or merge safely from a slip road, and the six-speed manual’s ratios don’t help one bit. When the rest of the car’s dynamic behaviour is so skewed towards effortlessness, here’s a powertrain you really have to throw yourself at.
Think we’re just being fussy? Subtle motorway overtakes, the sort when you just want to clear a car that’s doing 60mph in the middle lane, require a drop down to fourth gear to avoid blocking the outside lane for an uncomfortable period of time. Now, that’s fine in a highly strung little hatch, but a pain in a big, comfy car like this.
The more potent, 207bhp version, which also comes with an automatic gearbox, does 0-62mph in 9.4seconds, with a maximum speed of 131mph. It’s a £2,250 upgrade worth taking seriously. You’ll net another 29bhp and an auto, which fits better with the Edge’s more laid-back way of going about its business. And the extra 38lb ft (taking the total up to 332lb ft) of torque isn’t to be sniffed at. Economy is the same whichever engine you go for: 48.7mpg and 149g/km of CO2 (on 19s), so it’s likely worth the extra spend.
Thanks to a comfortable suspension setup, The Edge a relaxing place to spend several hours. Which is also a polite way of saying it’s not very interesting to drive. Of course, it’s easy to argue that ‘interesting’ doesn’t really rate a mention in big SUV buying checklists; we imagine very few people who buy or test drive an Edge will be actively thinking of its dynamics. But its sheer softness is worth noting, because it shows Ford’s mentality has shifted.
You might remember the late 1990s and bulk of the 2000s, when Ford rarely turned out a car that wasn’t enjoyable to drive. Ka, Focus, Mondeo, S-Max… they all nailed the important, prosaic tasks they were designed for, while also feeling keen and athletic the instant you got in them.
As Ford aims for a more efficiently developed line-up of cars sold across the world, rather than individual models for specific regions, driving fun appears to have slipped down the to-do list, and nowhere is this more evident than the Edge. Understandable? Yes. But a little bit sad, too.