The latest incarnation of a Ford favourite packs a punch that even Porsche would be proud of, finds Alvin Thomas.
If you have kept track of Ford’s offerings in the Middle East, you would know that the Ford Edge first graced the roads of Oman a decade ago, as a gorgeous-looking “lifestyle” crossover. However, as carmakers such as Nissan, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi followed suit and succeeded in winning over customers, Ford was soon forced to update the Edge with a radical redesign in 2011.
This certainly helped to increase sales: in fact, one of my relatives was so bowled over by its design that he even bought one. However, I was never a fan of the funky-looking Edge, until now.
Now in its third generation, the Ford Edge has certainly taken on a more mature yet youthful approach in terms of design and power. But has Ford actually pulled off the impossible here? Has it actually managed to dethrone its competitors from Europe?
Changes to the exterior of the Ford Edge aren’t what I’d call overwhelming. Everything is new and fairly sophisticated-looking. It is reminiscent of its predecessor but only in that it is distinctive as Ford’s flagship crossover.
The lines on the body are clean and simple, with no real curves. This translates to a very macho design and quite a bold statement overall. And since I was given the top-of-the-line “Sport” variant, I also received a tonne of body enhancements: a front lip, aero vents that open and close depending on the driving situation in the grille, side skirts as well as functional dual exhausts. Ford has also deleted the hideous chrome grille and plain bonnet from yesteryear in favour of a new blacked-out hexagonal grille, a flared bonnet and a pentagon-shaped LED daytime-running lightbar to round off the rather magnificent-looking exterior design.
If you’re familiar with the Fords of today, the Edge’s interior will feel just like home to you. Everything is laid out in a simple manner, with a 15cm touchscreen system sporting Ford’s Sync2 software and a Sony head unit taking centrespot. The steering wheel is beefy, and much to my liking, the seats are extremely soft and comfortable if a little lacking in bolstering.
The tester’s interior is cladded in leather, and the dashboard adopts soft-touch surfaces as well. Of course, from the knee down, there’s a bit of hard plastic but because the Edge is really voluminous, you rarely find your knees brushing against the sides. My tester also came with alcantara inserts on the seats, which I found to be quite a nice touch.
The rear of the Edge is quite spacious, with adequate space for three full-sized adults. If you want to accommodate more people, just chuck them into the massive boot, and lock them in – there really is that much space! On the entertainment front, you get two DVD head units in the back, which I couldn’t quite test. However, I tested the 12-speaker Sony audio system, and I’m happy to report that it is fantastic.
Now let’s get to the important bit: the drive. Powering the Edge for the very first time is a 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged V6 Ecoboost engine – mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode – pumping out an astounding 335hp and 542Nm of torque.
Yes; you heard that right. The Ford Edge is actually on a par with the Porsche Macan S and even the Jaguar F-Pace SUVs, but has almost 100Nm more torque than those two. So the Ford actually delivers more punch than both European competitors. The acceleration in the Edge Sport is absolutely savage as the torque really kicks in at roughly the 2,000rpm mark to hurl your head (and your internal organs) deep into the seats. It really is that powerful!
And because the Ford Edge Sport comes with massive 50cm rims that actually look like they belong on a Lamborghini, you get miles of grip. Throughout my test, I could neither squeal the tyres nor experience any form of understeer or oversteer from the car, meaning the Edge is actually very well-balanced.
You can really chuck the Edge into sharp corners with a lot of confidence without the fear of ending up in the bushes. I actually gave it the beans on the twisty road leading to Yiti, and found the SUV to be immensely spirited. It’s one of those point-and-shoot vehicles; dare I say, like a Mini Cooper?
This confidence-inspiring cornering can partly be attributed to the adaptive steering, and the fact that there’s a fair bit of feedback through the steering, something the Jaguar lacks.
Of course, on the downside, the gearbox is a tad on the slower side. Mind you, it isn’t as dimwitted as some of its rivals from Asia but there’s a chance you’ll find yourself in the wrong gear during an overtaking manoeuvre.
This, coupled with the turbo-lag (time taken for the turbochargers to spool up to deliver boost) means you’ll be making use of the paddle shifters more often to match revs for maximum boost during some spirited driving.
Overall, the Ford Edge is really a package to behold. It is gorgeous to look at, immensely fun to drive, and even stupendously practical. Actually, I think I’m in love with this car. How did I come from hating the Edge to loving the Edge again? This is why I love cars.
[styled_box title=”2016 Ford Edge Sport Specifications” color=”black”]
[styled_box title=”2016 Ford Edge Sport Features” color=”black”]