Ford plans to bring some spice to the crossover segment with the launch of its Edge ST, a performance-oriented version of its five-seat, midsize SUV. The company will unveil the model and improvements to its entire Edge line at the at the 2018 North American International Auto Show next week.
The Edge ST has performance suspension, a sport-tuned 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine that offers 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. It’s all mated to a new 8-speed transmission.
Features that carry over from other Edge models include all-wheel drive, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist and lane centering. The updated Edge line will also have post-collision braking, a technology that prevents the car from moving after a collision, reducing the potential for a secondary crash. Additionally, the Edge ST will also offer selectable traction control, a performance brake package and Sport Mode driving.
Engaging Sport Mode gives the Edge ST a more aggressive throttle response and changes the transmission’s shift patterns so that it will hold gears near redline around corners. It also provides sharper engine braking, and a more “resonant” exhaust tone.
Performance upgrades like what the Edge ST will offer typically capture male buyers. But in the Ford lineup, the Edge has the highest percentage of female buyers.
“Forty-six percent of the people who buy Edge today are women,” said Cristina Aquino, brand manager or Edge and EcoSport, a small crossover. “That’s a really important demographic for us to continue to reach.”
Overall, women make up 34 percent of Ford’s U.S. buyers.
“We know that there’s a customer out there who wants performance, but they also need capability. This vehicle is going to deliver in spades in both of those aspects,” Aquino said.
The new Edge ST has an “elevated sense of design,” with more bold and aggressive stance, said Steve Gilmore, the SUV’s design manager.
This is expressed by pulling the hood forward and using a mesh grille that is bigger, taller and wider. The Edge ST also has dual-exhaust outlets and available unique 21-inch wheels.
“To be an ST, [a vehicle] has to be great to drive, and have credible, genuine performance. And you have to live with it every day,” said Jonathan Crocker, Edge vehicle engineering manager. “It also has to have a very good balance of vehicle attributes.”
The Edge is a steady seller for Ford. The automaker sold 142,600 Edges last year, a 6 percent gain at time when overall auto sales slipped 2 percent.