• First-ever SUV from the Ford Performance team
  • 0-60 acceleration in under 6.0 seconds
  • Pricing starts at $43,350 (including destination charges)

 

For Ford, the ST model represents high-performance power and handling. Until now, in the U.S. the ST moniker has only appeared on the Fiesta and Focus, where extensive suspension and engine tuning turned them into hot hatches with cult followings. So what on earth is the ST badge doing on an Edge? We went to Park City, Utah, to drive the all-new 2019 Ford Edge ST, to find out if a 2-row midsize SUV has what it takes to be an ST.

Power and performance

When the Ford Performance team goes to work on a model, performance becomes the priority, and in the case of the Edge, that’s in the form of driving dynamics, power and updated styling. There are some changes to the Ford Edge lineup for 2019, which makes only two engines available in the line. The first place where differentiation between the ST and the rest of the lineup starts is here: The only engine for the SE, SEL, Titanium or Titanium Elite models is a 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, while the only place you can get the 335-horsepower 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is in the ST. The 2.7-liter uses an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the ST comes standard with all-wheel drive. And while the 2018 Edge Sport – the model the 2019 Edge ST replaces and surpasses -- also came with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost (and was the only Edge available with it), the 2019 version of the engine has more horsepower and torque.

The ST also has Sport Mode. Pushing the “S” on the transmission dial changes throttle response, holds gears longer, rev-matches when downshifting, engages active noise control which sends a sportier engine note into the cabin, and brings up a tachometer on the display. In addition, the 8-speed automatic transmission can be controlled with paddle shifters. The ST’s suspension was specially tuned for this model, with tighter front and rear springs and monotube shocks. Compared to the rest of the Edge line, the sway bar is a larger diameter and solid. Twenty-inch wheels come standard on the ST, and 21-inch wheels are optional. Another option: the ST Performance Brake Package with summer tires, vented disc brakes, fade-resistant brake pads, and red calipers. Ride height remains the same as in the rest of the Edge lineup.

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An Edge shouldn’t be able to do this

A quick walk around the new Ford Edge ST reveals some styling differences between it and the regular Edge. This sporty Edge SUV uses a gloss black grille and matching fog-light surrounds, and there are black bezels in the headlights. Approaching the back, there are dual-exhaust outlets that are unique to the ST, as well as red ST badging in the front and the rear. The visuals are different inside, too: The seats have different bolstering, and use suede-like inserts. The instrument cluster has an all-digital section that the regular Edge lacks.

Acceleration is excellent in the Edge ST. The V6’s power comes on strong and is aided by the quick shifts of the 8-speed automatic. Ford estimates the 0-60-mph time of the Edge ST is under 6.0 seconds, and based on our non-instrumented, seat-of-the-pants experience, that feels accurate. Ford’s numbers also estimate that this is the quickest ST to date, besting both the Focus ST and Fiesta ST.

But we have tested versions of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost in the previous Edge, as well as in other Fords, and were already impressed with that engine’s performance. The surprise was with the ST’s handling. The model we tested came with the ST Performance Brake Package and 21-inch Pirelli P Zero summer tires. Between the grippy tires and the tuned suspension, the high-performance Edge held on nicely during hard cornering, with greatly reduced body roll over the regular Edge. The upgraded brakes make a noticeable difference, holding strong and steady while we hustled this 4,000-pound SUV on mountain roads as we slowed for upcoming corners. Putting the ST in Sport Mode made it all the more entertaining, as the engine sound changed and the Edge’s reactions became more aggressive. You wouldn’t think it looking at a Ford Edge, but the ST treatment gives it attitude.

While the ride is merely firm on smooth roads, any imperfections on poorly maintained streets come through, and the ride gets rougher. Buyers who choose the ST solely because they want the bigger engine might be disappointed that the ride quality isn’t the same as with the regular Edge. Since the Edge is made to serve the purposes of both performance vehicle and SUV – it has a massive cargo area and can tow 3,500 pounds – the Edge ST could benefit from an active suspension that offers a comfort mode for those days when transporting family on the freeway is the job for the day, and the twisty roads have to wait.

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What’s next for the ST?

The new Edge ST comes to market at an interesting time for Ford’s vehicle lineup. This would’ve been a nice expansion of the already existing ST line, but now that the Focus and Fiesta will be discontinued in the U.S., the Edge ST is going to be the only ST choice for enthusiasts. (The Mustang will continue on, though, giving Ford hot-hatch fans a car option.) But the SUV market is hot, and it makes sense to cater to SUV buyers rather than to a relatively small hatchback segment. But the Edge is a lot bigger than those hatchbacks, and it’s not exactly a small step up from the Focus or Fiesta. Ford teased an Explorer ST, which is likely the next ST model in the lineup. This change in the ST’s direction leaves us wondering: If the ST is going all-SUV, could Ford create an Escape or EcoSport ST? Do either of those models have the bone structure to be given the ST treatment? Those could be better SUV alternatives for Fiesta and Focus ST owners.

In the meantime, the 2019 Ford Edge ST has a starting price of $43,350 including destination charges. Adding the ST Performance Brake Package, which includes black 21-inch wheels, summer tires, 13.6-inch front-brake rotors, front and rear vented brakes, and reduced-fade brake pads, costs another $2,695. The starting price of the topline Edge Titanium stands at just over $39,000 -- less than the ST, but it doesn’t come with the 2.7-liter engine.

The previous Edge Sport wasn’t as differentiated as the new ST, which meant that if you wanted the added power of the EcoBoost V6, you could get the Sport and still have the ride quality of the regular Edge. The new ST is more of a commitment, because of the suspension changes, but if you want the added power and thrills, it may be worth it.

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