Driving (and drifting) the new Ford Edge in Sweden
Ford let us loose in the new Ford Edge SUV on the roads of Sweden and at an empty snow circuit for the European launch event.
The Ford Edge has been getting people and things and smaller people and their things from A to B for years in America. But the UK has only had the pleasure since 2016 and now we have a new version.
Building on where its predecessor left off, the Ford Edge has been made prettier (arguably), safer (definitely), comes with more equipment and offers superior refinement while still retaining that likable fusion of American and European motoring.
Besides seeing if an all-wheel drive diesel SUV was capable of drifting, we also got to take it off-road and cruise along rural Sweden's public roads. Because we did actually want to get a feel for what it could be like in the UK. Here's what we learned.
1) It's eerily quiet to drive
Even with noisy winter tyres fitted, there were times when it felt as if the engine had gone to sleep. That's thanks to windows that are better at keeping unwanted sounds out (or in), while the Vignale goes one further with active noise cancellation.
Okay, so the diesel engines can still pipe up enough to be heard but not enough to ruin what is a noticeable improvement in refinement. At the very least it means your music will find it easier to be heard.
2) The new Ford Edge can brake and accelerate for you
Adaptive cruise control is becoming increasingly common and for good reason, it's bloody convenient when done right. Cleverer cars such as Tesla took this one step further, offering automatic braking and acceleration from being stationary.
This is now something the Ford Edge can now do. All you have to do turn it on, choose the distance it maintains between you and the vehicle in front and then marvel at its ability to make you redundant-ish.
3) The stereo has the power to upset your neighbours
The stereo in the last Ford Edge was one of the weak points, but that has been rectified in the new Ford Edge. A B&O sound system with a 1,000-watt amp and digital signal processor (DSP) ensures the 10 speakers never go hungry.
By combining bass, mid-range speakers, tweeters and a central speaker, you get a balanced sound. Perfect for blasting out the Frozen soundtrack at deafening volumes, as requested by your younger family members.
The likes of Naim and Meridian sound better, admittedly, but the B&O offering will appease all but the most picky audio fans, which in a car that starts at £36,995 is fair.
4) Your loved ones should be even safer
Not only does the new Ford Edge come with adaptive cruise control with stop and go, there is lane centering that helps keep the vehicle from drifting over the white lines and it works up to 125mph.
A combination of radar and camera technology, meanwhile, provides the basis for the new Evasive Steering Assist, which can help with steering the vehicle away from an obstacle if you fail to react in time.
You also get traffic sign recognition with a speed limiter function, parking assistance, post-collision braking to help prevent further accidents and Park-Out, which helps you get out of difficult parking spaces.
5) It is surprisingly capable of drifting (on snow)
Most cars will drift on snow, admittedly, but I thought the new Ford Edge would be boring while doing so. So, so wrong. Despite weighing around two tonnes, depending on the model and spec, the chassis is more than happy enough to rapidly change direction.
In fact, it does so without really rolling about too much while the steering feedback makes it easy to know which way the wheels are pointing and the seats keep you from being thrown out of the window.
The all-wheel drive system in the ST-Line and Vignale (the Titanium is 2WD) does try to stick to safer oversteer, but with a blast of accelerator and some steering lock soon you can soon be sideways. Laughably and gloriously sideways.
In fact, before we were dragged away we had started using the weight of the car to drift between corners, which is utterly pointless in a family SUV but it does highlight Ford's ability to make a dynamically solid and pleasing car.
6) The automatic shifter has gone full circle (literally)
No, I don't mean Ford has used an older design. The stick automatic shifter has been replaced by an Audi-esque circular rotary selector, which is much more natural to use and helps add a touch of 'oooh fancy' to the cabin.
The downside is that it does seem to take a second to swap from reverse to forward gears, which makes rapid manoeuvres a problem, but that is a non-issue if you are driving like somebody who is doing everything to keep the kids from waking up.
7) It's reasonably efficient
Being large and two tonnes does mean the new Ford Edge was never going to win any eco-friendly awards, but then its selection of diesel engines and either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic prove efficient, if nothing special.
The 150PS variant of the 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine, for instance, has a claimed fuel economy of just under 50mpg while CO2 emissions are between 153 and 160g/km. Going for the 238PS is only slightly more thirsty, coming in at 39.2mpg and 187g/km at worst.
8) There's a luxury Vignale model
Justifying the top-spec Vignale models is always more difficult, especially as you can hit £50k with extras (Range Rover Velar territory). But Ford Edge variant does feel luxurious and it comes with just about every useful modern convenience.
This includes heated everything (well, not the floor mats), extra leather, unique Vignale interior and exterior detailing and some Vignale badges. Obviously.
The issue is that you can get a wholesome spec on the Titanium and ST-Line, making them the more sensible choice, especially with all that interior and boot space considered. Although the lack of a seven-seat option still rules it out for larger families.
9) It costs quite a bit more than the old Edge
When the Ford Edge first launched in the UK, it cost £29,995. In its latest generation, the Titanium model is £7,000 more, which is bearable when you consider all of the benefits we have just been banging on about.
Those who want the sportier ST-Line will have to part with £42,995 before any extras, while the Vignale is £45,995, which is enough to ensure it will sell in small numbers. At least, until dealers apply a (hopefully) hefty discount.
10) Did we mention it can drift?
Because letting a bunch of motoring journalists switch traction control off and drive like idiots is always a wise idea. It's a wonder we all made it back in one piece...