2020 Ford Edge ST AWD Review
Since crossovers are king at the moment it’s understandable that Ford, or any vehicle maker, would want to grab every niche within that market, hence the Ford Edge ST.
While the ST would welcome family buyers, as do the other Edge models, this one takes aim at the performance-oriented buyer that’s not afraid to spend a little, or more, extra for said performance.
So, while an entry-level front-wheel-drive Edge buyer may be happy to be economical and spend just $32,195 (MSRP with delivery), an ST buyer may be willing to part with $44,510 (MSRP with delivery) to even upwards of $50,000.
For the extra dough the Edge ST buyer gets a major bump in horsepower, much more responsive handling, a sporty stiff ride and AWD. The Rapid Red ($395 extra) test crossover added another $8,425 in options, so falls into the latter pricing category with a $52,935 sticker.
What’s it all mean from a driving and practicality standpoint?
Well, the big difference anyone would notice is power. The ST adds a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with 335 horses and a jolt of torque rated at 380 lb.-ft. That’s up from the 250 horses from the fine 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder in lower line Edge models.
So this one is quick if you get heavy on the accelerator, and there’s only a smidge of turbo lag.
As noticeable as the power though is its artificially heavy feeling steering effort. Yet that firmer wheel provides more precise steering that increases the driving pleasure on winding roads where there’s some back and forth action getting into and out of curves. Plus the ST remains stable and easy to control. Prefer lighter steering? Stick with one of Edge’s other three trims.
Firmness of handling and ride mostly comes from a sport-tuned suspension system by the Ford Performance team. The downside, as I mentioned in a previous ST review, is that it creates an overly firm ride that could be off-putting to a family on a road trip, or even around town if they live in pot-hole happy Wisconsin. The lower trim levels provide a more cushioned ride.
A plus in Wisconsin though is all-wheel drive, which is standard on ST. That’s a $2,000 option in the other trim levels, which are front-drive. All Edge’s now come with an 8-speed automatic gear box, which is two speeds up from previous models. It uses the power well and creates smooth shifts befitting the vehicle’s price.
The test crossover also added the ST Performance Brake Package, which adds vented brake rotors, plus 21-inch premium painted aluminum wheels and summer tires for $2.695. I gotta say that summer performance tires always provide more grip and with this much power may not be a bad idea. But summer tires mean you’ll also need winter tires to swap out, come Thanksgiving each year as summer tires do not perform well in cold, sloppy weather.
ST adds a smidge of exterior bling to help distinguish it from the family-oriented models, including a gloss black grille, dual exhausts to sweeten the engine tone, and fog light surrounds and headlight bezels.
Inside, the test vehicle’s interior was dark in that the seats, dash and doors are all black. That creates a sporty look, but if not for the giant panoramic sunroof the interior could get a bit gloomy. There is a bit of chrome trim on the dash, plus gloss black console and center stack face. Brake and accelerator pedals also have metal faces to exude performance.
Seats are black leather with suede-like inserts and gray stitching. The seats themselves are quite supportive, but I found the bottom cushion a little too snug in the hip and thigh areas. Seats are powered up front with three memory settings for the driver’s seat. Front seats also are heated and cooled and heated in the second row.
The sunroof and cooled front seats and heated rears are part of a $4,840 option package that also adds a wireless phone charger, smart cruise control, remote start, a voice-activated touchscreen with navigation, and evasive steering assist for safety.
The later steering system is what most folks would call semi-autonomous so that when you are using cruise control it helps keep the car in its lane. All you need do is keep a hand gently on the steering wheel. It works well.
Many other safety features are standard with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360, including automatic emergency braking, forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beam headlights and a lane-keeping feature.
Controls and dash layout are easy to understand. The touchscreen is a bit smaller than many these days, but simple to work and see. Climate control buttons on the stack are also on the small side, but again, easy to see and logically laid out. I also like the big bin below the center stack for phone charging and carrying sunglasses, notepads, etc. Ford also wisely puts a slot atop the console that holds a phone upright.
One of Edge’s main selling points through its run has been a spacious interior and that continues with oodles of legroom in the rear seats. Plus there is copious cargo room under the power hatch. This hatch is foot activated from outside, just wave your foot beneath the rear bumper’s center section and the hatch powers up. Great for when you are loaded with boxes or groceries. That feature is part of the big $4,840 option package.
This Edge also added a cold weather package for $495 that includes a heated steering wheel and better floor coverings. The wheel heater worked fine, but it was hard to find its on/off button illogically set on the infotainment screen’s home page. It’s a small on-screen button.
A couple odds and ends to consider. Ford uses a rotary dial shifter in Edge. It takes a few days to get used to but works fine. There’s also a 360-degree backup camera that aids in parking, rain-sensing wipers, WiFi connection for 10 devices, and remote start.
On the down side, the huge A-pillars partially obscure side to front views and the turning radius of Edge is 39.3 feet, larger than many other vehicles of this size. That makes parking lots more of a challenge as I found myself not being able to turn in as crisply as in other crossovers, so had to back up and rejigger to fit it between the lines. Two vehicles with better turning radiuses are the Hyundai Santa Fe at 37.5 feet and Subaru’s Outback at just 36.1 feet.
One other bugaboo for me is the stiff sun visors. They are hard to slide, which is annoying in winter when it’s much needed to flip a visor to the side, then slide it to block a low sun angle.
Gas mileage? I got just 21.6 mpg in about 70% highway driving while the EPA rates the ST at 19 mpg city and 26 highway. The Edge ST did lose about 29 lbs. from last model year, so that could help in the long run.
Again, there are three other trim levels of Edge, SE, SEL and Titanium, ranging from $32,195 to $39,195. The ST is a steep premium to get that racy engine and sportier, but heavier, handling, and firmer ride.
ST will not be for every crossover buyer, but one suspects the performance junkies will prefer it to the trio of family-oriented trims.
Overview: 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD
Hits: Premium power, sporty handling, AWD, roomy interior, panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charger, foot-activated power hatch, heated/cooled seats, heated wheel, 360-degree camera, supportive seats.
Misses: Overly stiff ride and heavy steering, huge A-pillars, big turning radius make parking in lots a chore, lower seat cushion snug in hips and thighs, sliding sun visor stiff, so hard to move.
Made In: Oakville, Ont.
Engine: 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6, 335 hp
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Weight: 4,525 lbs.
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Length: 188.8 in.
Cargo: 39.2/73.4 cu.ft.
Tow: 3,500 lbs.
MPG: 19/26, 21.6 (tested)
Base Price: $44,510 (includes delivery)
Major Options: Group 401A (perimeter alarm, garage door opener, wireless charging pad, evasive steering assist, panoramic vista roof, voice-activated touchscreen/nav system, foot-activated hatch, adaptive cruise control, remote start, auto-dim side mirror, heated rear seats, cooled front seats), $4,840
Rapid Red paint, $395
Cold weather package (heated steering wheel, floor liners, front/rear window de-icers), $495
ST Performance Brake package (21-inch premium painted aluminum wheels and summer tires, vented brake rotors), $2.695
Test Vehicle: $52,935
Editor's note: Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.