2019 Ford Edge ST first drive road test review


PARK CITY, Utah — We were expecting rain the entire time we were in Utah. Even after we landed, we had a truncated lunch in order to hit the mountain roads before the weather rolled in. The sun eventually shone through grey skies stretching from Salt Lake City to Park City, lighting a sea of red and yellow leaves resting atop newly paved switchbacks. With the storm looming, we attacked a great stretch of to push the new 2019 Ford Edge hard before the weather turned.

The Edge has been revised for , though this isn’t an all-new model like Ford would have you believe. Changes include refreshed styling, an updated powertrain, and new standard and optional equipment, building on what was already a strong midsize contender. You can check out our full review of the 2019 Edge right here. Still, the most notable addition for 2019 is the new Ford Performance-tuned Edge ST, a replacement for the Sport and the first crossover to wear an ST badge.

In the next year or two, the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus will all disappear from our market. That will leave the Mustang as the only car left on lots. With going all-in on crossovers and SUVs in the U.S., it needed a vehicle to carry on the practical-performance image currently embodied by the Fiesta ST and Focus ST and RS.

Like the old Edge Sport, the Edge ST is powered by Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Output for 2019 is 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, up 20 horses and 30 pound-feet over the Edge Sport. Power is sent to all four wheels through a new 8-speed automatic with standard paddle shifters. As with the standard Edge, the all-wheel system can decouple the rear axle to improve fuel economy — 19 city, 29 highway and 25 combined. The Edge ST hits 60 mph in fewer than 6 seconds, making it slightly quicker than the old Edge Sport and the Focus ST. Top speed is 130 mph.

The Edge Sport’s twin-tube shocks have been swapped out for firmer monotube units. The steering has more weight and is quicker than before. The $2,695 ST Performance Brake Package adds 13.6-inch front rotors, red brake calipers and black 21-inch wheels with Pirelli P-Zero summer tires, the only other wheel offering. All-season-wrapped 20-inch wheels are standard, though all of our testers had upgraded tire and wheel packages.

You’re not likely to mistake the Edge ST for the standard model. Ford designers ditched the chrome in favor of gloss-black accents on the grille, bumpers and window trim. The grill uses the same mesh pattern as other ST products. The front bumper has trim that resembles the Shelby GT350 and the rear bumper has squared-off exhaust outlets. Thanks in part to the surprisingly restrained use of ST badges (one in the grille and one on the hatch), the overall design is sharp and handsome. Some of Ford’s other crossovers look a bit fat, whereas the Edge looks sporty and lean.

Inside, the only real upgrade to the Edge ST is the addition of supportive-yet-comfortable sport seats. The sole interior color is black, and some of the trim pieces have been changed: There’s faux carbon-fiber on the dash and different stitching on the seats and doors. The door panel inserts look straight off the Mustang, an obvious nod to the pony car. There are ST badges on the seats and steering wheel and Ford Performance badges on the kick plates.

Unlike the Edge Sport, changes to the Edge ST have been led by Ford Performance, the same division behind cars like the Shelby GT350 and F-150 Raptor. The message was clear: Ford wants this to be a true performance car and not a crossover with a big engine and sporty pretenses. Unfortunately, that’s where the Edge ST starts to fall apart. Yes, it certainly feels different than the standard Edge, but it’s still missing the eagerness of the Fiesta and Focus STs. Try as they might, Ford’s engineers can’t overcome a 68.3-inch height and a 4,000-plus-pound curb weight. That said, even with the 21-inch wheels, the Edge ST handled broken pavement well and felt composed when you weren’t heavily taxing it.

The engine’s power is stymied by a transmission that’s all too eager to upshift. Mash the gas and there’s a second or so delay while the transmission considers its options. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost in the standard Edge can feel punchier despite being down 100 pound-feet of torque versus the ST. The smaller engine always seems to be right where you want it, so there’s no downshifting when you get on the power. The shift delay with the V6 seems to kill any on-paper power advantage. The Edge ST’s power appears to comes on strong and the engine gives a mighty roar, but passing isn’t as effortless as you want it to be.

The ride is firm, but the firmness doesn’t totally mitigate body roll. There’s still significant lean through corners and good amount of brake dive. It handles decently for a crossover, but this doesn’t feel like the Focus ST’s big sibling. Nor does it have the buttoned-down feeling of other performance crossovers like the Audi SQ5 or Porsche Macan, to which Ford compares the Edge ST.

The steering provides a decent amount of feedback, but, again, it falls short of the German competition. On the autocross course, the Edge ST wanted to push in the corners. Ford’s engineers haven’t dialed out understeer as much as they might have wanted. The stability control was eager to engage unless it was completely defeated. If you really want to push the Edge ST, its best to turn traction and stability control off and switch it to Sport mode, which adjusts the shift points and the throttle response. There are no change to the suspension or steering.

The Edge ST can be fun on winding back roads without too many tight corners, but it doesn’t quite deliver the same level of excitement as other Ford Performance products. The engine is let down by poor transmission tuning, while the firm suspension and brakes can only do so much to hide its sizable proportions. It’s not nearly as comfortable on the road as the standard Edge thanks to tire roar and a piped-in exhaust note that feels like it’s attached to an on/off switch below the gas pedal.

At $43,350, the Edge ST demands a $1,705 premium over the outgoing Edge Sport and a $3,805 premium over a 2019 Edge Titanium. Adding features like wireless charging, a hands-free liftgate and the brake package can push the price upwards of $50,000. But the regular 2019 Edge is impressively quiet, comfortable, and offers decent punch from its updated 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

There’s a lot on offer with the Edge ST. Its styling is handsome and restrained, and it does feel significantly sportier than lower-trim Edges. It’s also the only way to get the potent twin-turbo V6. But calling it an ST is problematic — it’s not fun to push hard like other STs. In a sense, it’s an appropriation of the ST aesthetic without the moves to back it up. The non-ST Edge is very impressive, even without the V6. We’re just not sure the Edge ST is a good value or that its ST credentials are enough to justify the badging. It’s the ultimate Edge, sure, and it’s a good crossover. It’s just not good at being an ST.

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