The Ford Edge has always been a bit of a wallflower. Competent, capable, and a decent seller (142,603 units in 2017), it simply fails to generate much raw enthusiasm. Ford tried to change that perception when it plopped a version of its feisty 315-horse EcoBoost 2.7-liter V-6 under the hood of the second-gen Edge Sport; we appreciated the additional thrust, but never did we consider the Edge a candidate for the full ST treatment. Then again, who could have predicted a show about sweaty guys making knives would be a hit?
It’s tempting to dismiss the 2019 Ford Edge ST, which replaces the Sport model in the lineup, as a crass attempt to ascribe some hard-earned ST credibility to an otherwise civilian model. Ford has assured us that the Edge ST was, in fact, developed with the Ford Performance team, which the list of upgrades seems to confirm.
Kicking off the makeover is the installation of a 335-hp version of the twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, still with EcoBoost branding. With 380 lb-ft of torque, it outguns the outgoing 2.7 by 20 horsepower and 30 lb-ft. Likewise, a standard eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the six-speed gearbox in the outgoing Edge Sport. Both should help propel the new Edge ST to 60 mph quicker than the 5.6 seconds we’ve recorded in the Edge Sport. All-wheel drive is standard, and an ST-tuned suspension is fitted for improved response and handling, Ford said.
In addition to the hardware swaps, the Edge ST features a specific Sport mode that tightens throttle response and alters shift programming, including the ability to perform rev-match downshifts and hold gears near the redline deep into the corners. Selected by depressing the center button of the new console-mounted rotary shifter, Sport mode also preselects gears for sprightly corner exits, enabling the driver to brake hard and dive deep into a corner at speed and exit in a lower gear, keeping engine rpm in the meat of the powerband. Optionally, drivers can call out their own shifts via the wheel-mounted shift paddles. Sport mode also provides greater engine braking and a slightly more aggressive exhaust note. Also, yes, all of that describes a Ford Edge.
Ford said the team that developed the ST entered the project with specific grip, braking, ride, and handling targets tailored for enthusiasts. As evidence, consider the Edge ST’s “relaxed” stability control in Sport mode, which “widens the window” regarding wheelspin and slip angle before it steps in to assist, Ford told us. Shutting off the stability control completely is a misnomer, as it leaves the system active to prevent a rollover, an aspect we can dig.
While the Edge ST gets standard 20-inch rolling stock, 21-inch wheels with summer performance tires are available. A performance-braking upgrade is also on the options list. In addition to swathing the calipers in red paint, the extra-cost binders swap in larger, 13.6-inch rotors in the rear in the quest for increased bite and thermal capability.
The regular Edge is also refreshed for the 2019 model year, getting new fascia elements as well as a new liftgate, rear bumper, and illumination. ST-specific appearance cues include a wide mesh grille, side skirts, and dual exhaust outlets. Inside, more aggressively bolstered front seats join an ST logo on the wheel, seatbacks, and sill plates. The 2019 Edge ST also shares in the standard 2019 Edge’s bounty of standard and optional tech, safety, and driver-assist features.
The Edge ST is an intriguing proposition, one that wasn’t even a blip on our radar until now, and we do wonder exactly who will buy it. Price, of course, will determine where the Edge ST lands on the short list of nonpremium performance mid-size crossovers and SUVs. Currently, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SRT models start above $64,000; if the Edge ST comes in for significantly less, it may find a small but devoted audience. First, however, we need to get behind the wheel to determine if it’s worthy of the ST suffix.