PLUS POWER ALPHABET: AMG, M, RS, Type-R, V, SRT, STI, Polestar and N are the alphabet soups for their respective automakers’ in-house tuner pinnacles. More recently, even sport enhanced standard models have been appended by some of these renowned letters.
BLUE OVAL TUNE LETTERS: Currently Ford Performance serves as the skunk works for Shelby-ized pony cars and a GT supercar. Souped up passenger cars such as Fusion Sport or Fiesta / Focus ST are no longer for the North American world. As no small consolation, the second largest American nameplate has begun slapping red “ST” emblems on their fortified, sport tuned crossover SUVs.
Offered just below the 3-Row Explorer ST in their SUV performance grid the 2020 Ford Edge ST aims straight at the heart of premium European brands as the sole American mid-size crossover in adrenalized tune.
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WHAT: 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD , series CD539, assembled on the brand’s CD4.2 platform.
Standard Power: 2696 cc, twin-scroll turbocharged, direct injection 2 x Ti-VCT DOHC 24V V-6 cylinder gasoline engine, start-stop idle = 335 hp/ 380 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm + 8-speed planetary automatic transaxle. -1 No selectable drive modes.
Standard Drivetrain: PTU to viscous multi-clutch differential all-wheel drive.
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: 2019 brought mid-cycle facial tweaks to this upscale aspiring mid-size crossover sport utility vehicle. Those include emotional expression creases in the hood valley, the wider, thinner pentagonal darkened chain-link grille, thinner headlight brows, darkened large lower front fascia pseudo corner inlets. Last year, Roadblazing.com tested a more luxuriated 2019 Ford Edge Titanium 2.0T AWD.
Ford Edge was already adorned by a tall greenhouse, sporty exaggerated D-pillar kink, lower body cladding, a rising belt-line commencing below the hood-line, an exaggerated D-pillar kink meeting short sloped backlight to form a floating roof, a prominent Kammback liftgate meeting a low load floor, mid liftgate wraparound trapezoidal LED taillamps, a layered muscular lower rear bumper cover with dual verticals corner vents and exhaust outlets, and front, rear simulated skid plates.
ST STANDS APART FROM TITANIUM: all glass and accent trim darkened; full body and wheel arch dark lower cladding; ST emblems lower right front grille and rear liftgate, right side; darkened bold font “EXPLORER” lettering on hood overhang.
WHY: OUT with the old SPORT nomenclature and IN with the new ST emblem for Ford performance crossover SUVs.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2019
WHERE: Ford new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
WHERE TO: √ Front-wheel biased all-wheel drive, electronically transmits up to 100% of torque rear-wards; √ side-to-side ABS torque vectoring; √ 8.1″-inches ground clearance; √ Inclement weather survivor; -1 No AWD lock; -1 No terrain modes.
The only Sport mode is that obtained by depressing the 8-speed transaxle’s center console rotary knob center button, but it gets the aggression out. After a brief hesitancy the automatic gearbox (co-developed with GM, but missing one gear ring), throttle blips, tames the turbo lag, and heads straight for the 6500 rpm redline snorting hoarsely along the way (with the assistance of audio amplification). Momentary darts during casual motoring can catch Edge ST twin turbos lightly napping with lag. Expectations for better fuel economy returned by the small displacement six-banger were dashed.
Perhaps owing to its shorter wheelbase on a platform dating to Ford Volvo’s EUCD of the mid 2000’s and making do with conventional dampers, Edge ST suffers from slight impact perturbances which the larger Explorer ST seemingly brushes off. Even equipped with optional sport compound pads racy red brake calipers are responsive on the street but a tad meek for real track duty. Springs are stiff and performance Pirelli P Zeros are tenacious. Yet as the Edge ST becomes more spirited there is a reminder that it hoists nearly a quarter ton more poundage than an Edge 2.0T AWD. A sensation of top heaviness and premature understeer is found en route to expectedly quick turn in.
- +/- Twist dial console transaxle position selector
- – Thin rimmed “sport” steering wheel
HOW FAR: 23 combined miles per gallon fuel economy. 480 miles highway range.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: This mid-size crossover, which splits the segment’s dimensions, totes 5 well-fed grown-ups around briskly.
√ Ford Edge ST wheelbase = 0.5″ < Chevrolet Blazer RS , 3.3″ > Hyundai Santa Fe
+1: 40.6″-inches Row 2 legroom = 1.0″ > Blazer RS, 0.3″ < Santa Fe
HOW USEFUL: √ Tall load aperture; √ remote cable release 60/40% split fold 2nd Row seatbacks; √ Low load floor adjusts to 2nd Row seat incline fold; √ Floating center console storage + deep armrest bin; +1 Hands-free power liftgate; -1 Thick A, D pillars hinder forward, rear visibility; +1 Decent front & rear door pocket storage; +1 Tow Rating: 3500 lbs.
+1 Cargo space (max.) = 14% > Chevrolet Blazer RS; 3% > Hyundai Santa Fe
HOW SAFE: STANDARD: √ 8 airbags; √ Rear camera w/ predictive grid; √ Audible rear park assist; √ MyKey restrictive access; Ford Co-Pilot360: √ Blind Spot, rear cross traffic Warning; √ Post collision S.O.S. alert; Lane Departure Warning & Steer Prevention; √ Forward collision, pedestrian detection warning w/ avoidance braking; -1 Dim headlights
Available: ♦ Rain sensing windshield wipers; ♦ Automatic high beam headlamps
Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus: Full adaptive cruise control; Emergency evasive steering, Lane center steering.
Active Park Assist: +/- Does a decent hands-free parallel park job, but struggles with perpendicular parking
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: √ Heated, cooled leather & sueded cloth sport seats, 10-way power, 3-position memory driver’s, 6-way power passenger; √ 4 power windows = front full express; √ Heated, tilt & telescoping, cross-stitched leather wrapped steering wheel; √ 2-zone Automatic climate control; √ Easy access left lower dashboard dimmer & rotary light switch; √ Heated, tilting 2nd Row seats; √ Panorama moonroof; +1 Wind & road noise isolation; -1 Narrow front footwells, -1 No center console knee padding; –1 Narrow front seat cushions;
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Metallic rotary transmission position selector; √ Floating center stack; √ Configurable color LCD dual flanking gauge cluster MFD.
Details Done Right: √ Soft dash top, door arm & hand area inserts; √ Mirror chrome bezels & housings; √ Blue-green night switch illumination; √ Large, precision machined metallic audio volume & transmission selector rotary dials; √ Variable color cabin door, foot-well and console ambient illumination.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Hard dark grey plastic everywhere; Scuff prone cargo area dark hard plastics; Add-on, non-distinctive sub-horizontal steering wheel spoke cruise control switches; Driver’s door window switches located too far forward; Low cabin color contrast; TFT Gauge cluster tachometer obscured by steering wheel rim.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ Dash-top 8.0″-inch Sync3 3-pane capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; +1 Large icons; +1 Extensive voice commands; √ Voice learning hands-free communications; √ 12-speaker, 800 W Bang & Olufsen Play w/ streaming audio & HD radio; √ Mobile powered Android Auto/ Apple Car Play application & navigation overlays; √ Pandora mirror application.
√ Subscription based: Sirius XM radio (90 day free trial); √ Sirius TravelLink traffic, weather, sports scores, movie listings, fuel prices, ski conditions apps (5 years); √ WiFi hotspot;
√ USB x 2, 12V x 1; 110V 2nd Row outlet +1 Covered lower center console wireless device bin;
+/- Native navigation won’t operate with Android Auto activated.
HOW MUCH: $52,935 = 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD, including one track instruction day at the Ford Performance Racing School in Grantsville, Utah.
WHAT’S MISSING: 2nd Row USB port; Greater cabin panel contrast; Sport drive modes
ANY COMPETITION: DIRECT? NONE. INDIRECTLY: Audi SQ5, BMW X3 M40i, Mercedes Benz GLE 450
BOTTOM LINE: A little badge slapping never hurt a performance import crossover SUV.
(Contributing Editor: T. Paluch)