It’s not a compassionate thing to say – and Ford will hate to hear this – but there may be a hint of the Dodge Nitro lurking around the new Ford Edge.
Neil Lyndon drives the Ford Edge Titanium and Edge Sport (now replaced by Edge ST-Line)
Remembered by few, lamented by even fewer, the 2007-2012 US-built Nitro may have been the most profoundly misconceived car to have been launched in Europe this century. The Chrysler group executives who slogged across the Atlantic to introduce that tasteless lump of American brashness to the press assured us that its rugged, macho looks exerted a timeless appeal that was sure to win it yuge sales, especially among men.
The noble company of hacks was unconvinced. We tried to tell the Detroit guys that this was increasingly the age of the meterosexual man in Europe. Cars that rippled their muscles with an in-your-face, get-outta-my-road aggression were frowned upon by sensitive, Green-minded men from Helsinki to Milan.
The gentlemen of the motoring press were right. The Nitro probably sold smaller numbers in Europe than the Bugatti Veyron. Have you ever heard of anybody who bought one? I never even saw one on the road, which is less than you might say for the Veyron.
In bringing out a mid-size SUV to rival Kia’s Sorento that would sit above the Kuga in their range, Ford obviously have not deliberately set out to follow this unfortunate example; but you can’t fail to sense a touch of the Nitro in the front end of the Edge and detect a certain similarity in its presence.
If you swapped the bars of the radiator grilles, the snout of the Edge might be the mirror-image of the Nitro’s. The height, width and mass of the two cars may not be far from identical.
The comparison ends there because the Edge is infinitely more stylish, poised, civilised and enjoyable to drive than that hideous Detroit bruiser; but, even so, the body of the Edge doesn’t exactly fit with delicate contemporary European sensibilities in the same way as, say, the Volvo XC90. Maybe that’s because the Edge was developed in the US and this, the second generation, is manufactured in Canada. As you would expect on its home turf, Edge is proving highly popular and profitable for the company.
Inside, the Ford Edge it’s all cosy familiarity, almost as European as an Audi.Nothing alien or unsettling disturbs your sense of being at home with the excellent controls and switchgear. Leather interior, 8” infotainment system with satnav and front-view camera are all standard. There is a good reason for this feeling of ease. The Edge is so comprehensively based upon the Mondeo that it could reasonably be called a Mondeo SUV.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that, at all. An SUV version of the Mondeo makes as much sense and is as welcome as an SUV version of the Passat. The problem with the Edge is that its pricing doesn’t put in competition with VW or Mazda so much as it goes up against BMW’s X3 and Audi’s Q5, where it may be slightly out of its depth.
The Edge Sport we borrowed, with 2.0 TDCi and six-speed manual gearbox tops out at £37845. The Edge Titanium that followed was even more expensive, at £39295.
For that kind of money, the customer should be entitled to expect an engaging driving experience; but the dynamics of the Edge aren’t up to the job. Soft suspension settings – even on the so-called Sport – and slack feedback from the steering-wheel lead to cornering characteristics which could best be called leisurely. Pushing with any degree of enthusiasm leads to some distinctly queasy body roll.
Performance figures are equally run-of-the-mill. And it seems contradictory to call a model “Sport” when its 0-62 mph acceleration figure of 9.9 seconds is actually slower than the 9.4 seconds that the Titanium version takes to complete the same test.
What’s wrong with the Edge, then, is not that it is too much of a Mondeo but that it isn’t enough of a Mondeo.
It’s probably reasonable to presume that America is to blame again.
Car reviewed: Ford EDGE TITANIUM 2.0 TDCi AWD PowerShift Automatic – On the road price £34,495, price with options as tested £39,215 0-62mph 9.4 secs Top speed 131mph Combined Fuel Economy 48.7mpg CO2 emissions 149g/km Engine 2.0-litre TDCi Max Power 210PS@3750rpm Torque 450Nm@2000-2250rpm Transmission 6-speed Automatic, all-wheel drive
Cosy leather interior
Excellent controls and switchgear
Stylish in an American way
Slightly out of its depth amongst competition
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