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Because of the Edge ST's go-fast credentials, this crossover arguably begins to compete with luxury SUVs like the Audi SQ5 and the Jaguar F-Pace S, but for a lower price. Is the Edge ST worthy of being cross-shopped against flashier metal from Europe?
To my eyes, the standard Ford Edge appears as speedy as a fast-acting sedative. The Edge ST fixes the base model's yawn-inducing countenance with a larger grille, road-hugging side sills, dual exhaust and a standard set of 20-inch wheels (if you really want to flex, 21-inch wheels are optional).
Inside, the Edge ST feels somewhat upscale, with decent cabin materials and racy touches throughout. Open the door, and you're greeted with Ford Performance door-sill plates, embossed ST logos on the leather and suede-effect seats, along with an ST logo at the bottom of the steering wheel.
But it's not all good news. Even though the Edge was significantly updated for the 2019 model year, much of the interior looks the same as it did before the refresh. That would have been fine, except the center stack remains a tidal wave of disappointing plastic. Even worse is the way the infotainment screen is recessed into said center stack. Every time I look at the display, I get flashbacks of a CRT television inside a limousine, circa 1987. Unless you're at an '80s and '90s nostalgia festival, '80s-appearing tech ain't a good look in 2019.
That's really the cabin's only shortfall, though. The Edge ST's well-bolstered seats are comfortable enough to leave one feeling fresh after a Sunday drive from Los Angeles to San Diego and back. No matter where you sit, you'll have plenty of space to stretch out, especially on the uncommonly wide and surprisingly cushy center rear seat.
Behind the second row, there's 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding down the rear seats expands that total to 73.4 cubic feet. Both figures are pretty stout for the segment, coming close to the extra-spacious Honda Passport's 41.2 and 77.9 cubic feet with the back seats up and folded, respectively.
With a starting price of $43,450 (including $1,095 for destination), the Edge ST comes with a strong set of standard tech features, including Sync 3 infotainment on an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard features include SiriusXM satellite radio, Wi-Fi and a B&O Play premium audio system. At $52,325, my loaded Edge ST tester also comes with a few extra tech goodies like embedded navigation and wireless phone charging.
Good thing B&O Play is included in the standard vehicle price. If it were an option, I'd adamantly suggest skipping it. The Edge ST's B&O Play is one of the worst-sounding premium audio systems I've experienced. With equalization set flat, the system is shrill and fatigues my ears even when listening at moderate levels. Also annoying, at half volume or above, bass frequencies in my tester provoke distortion in the lower front-door speakers.
The Edge ST comes with a rather comprehensive set of advanced driver-assistance tech, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and automatic high-beams.
My well-optioned example adds automated parallel parking, which is not only convenient, but also perpetually entertaining in how it can make friends' eyes pop out from their faces when giving them a "Look, Mom, no hands!" demo. My Edge ST also features adaptive cruise control with lane centering, evasive steering assist and adaptive LED headlamps.
Furthermore, my tester boasts convenience features like heated and ventilated front seats (standard seats offer heating only), heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof and a foot-activated power liftgate. The only option my tester lacks is the $495 heated steering wheel, which would max out the Edge ST's price at $52,820.
Powering the Edge ST is a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 making 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. That power is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission and then to all four wheels. In my experience, those power figures feel sadly overrated. Drop the hammer from a stop, and you're tapping your fingers on the steering wheel while you wait for boost to build. Even when on boost, to my seat-of-the-pants, the Edge ST fails to offer significantly greater straight-line shove than its naturally aspirated V6 competition.
Whether you're in a hurry or not, the eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly, and does a good job of keeping the ST in its power band. You have the option to control shifts yourself from the steering wheel paddles, but the transmission will only respond to your inputs when it's good and ready. Instead, just leave the automatic in automatic and you'll be fine.
For a 4,500-pound SUV, the Edge ST is surprisingly eager to change direction. A small amount of steering angle off center is all you need to fling the Edge ST into turns. Once navigating through a corner, though, you may have to make slight adjustments because the steering, while quick, lacks some precision and feedback.
The stiff suspension does a good job of settling the Edge into corners with minimal body roll, but when I'm just cruising along bumpy roads, my spine never has to cringe at sharp, punishing jolts. When it's time to scrub speed, a well-modulated brake pedal aids in smooth, confident stopping.
The Edge ST is EPA-rated for 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg highway. After more than 700 miles of mostly highway testing, I achieved 22.1 mpg.
Aside from an abundance of tech and safety features, the Ford Edge ST isn't particularly outstanding. That is, until you consider its pricing. The base Edge ST is actually priced competitively with its similarly equipped, non-performance competition. When fully loaded, the Edge ST undercuts the Jaguar F-Pace S by 10 grand, but is only $575 less than the base Audi SQ5. That said, it's important to note that Audi's base SQ5 is nowhere near as well-equipped as the loaded Edge ST.
While it's unlikely that people with their hearts set on an Audi or Jaguar would even consider buying this Ford instead, it's tough to deny the value play the Edge ST represents. When compared against mainstream competition, it puts up a good fight in terms of practicality, but then goes the extra mile with its added sportiness. When lined up against higher-crust crossovers, though, I don't think the Edge offers enough refinement and dynamics to be a serious rival to the Europeans.
Overall, then, the 2019 Ford Edge ST is worth consideration if you're a mainstream buyer looking for a crossover SUV with a little more athleticism, but if you're eyeing luxury nameplates, you'll be happier following through with something like an SQ5, even if that means going light on the options.