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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2022 Ford Edge ST is shown from the front at an angle.

Is the 2022 Ford Edge ST a Luxury SUV in Disguise?

With an upgraded engine, refined interior, and a host of high-end tech features, the 2022 Ford Edge ST isn’t your average crossover. A sportier version of Ford’s popular midsize SUV, the Edge ST replaced the Sport trim as the top-level offering in 2021. But just calling it a high-performance model would be doing the crossover a disservice. It’s tough to put the Edge ST into a specific box; a new 2.7-L V6 EcoBoostTurbo engine gives it significantly more power than any of its midsize rivals, and the tech-heavy, well-styled interior wouldn’t be out of place in a much more expensive vehicle. This all begs the question: Is the Ford Edge ST a luxury SUV in disguise?

Ford has never had an in-house luxury brand, deferring to Lincoln when it wants to push out its high-end models, but I’m starting to think that the Edge ST might have slipped through the cracks to become a luxury offering from the storied American brand. Starting around $45,000, the Edge ST is significantly more affordable than the average luxury midsize SUV, but it ticks all the same boxes when it comes to performance, styling, comfort—and those little unheralded features that make all the difference. Let’s get to the bottom of this by exploring the Edge ST’s performance, design, and interior tech—plus all those little extras that make us question everything we know about luxury vehicles.

Improved Power

The interior of the Edge ST includes more high-end bells and whistles than drivers might expect given the SUV’s reasonable starting price. The cabin is a study in minimalism, with Ford opting for a pared-down approach that puts the SUV’s massive, new 12.1” touchscreen display front and center. This portrait-oriented display—which is limited to the Edge ST and all-electric Mustang Mach-E—is a powerhouse of an interface, allowing drivers to control virtually every system in the vehicle from one convenient screen. The display is responsive and well-designed, featuring a host of cutting-edge controls and some fun hidden surprises. The two front seats have a unique two-tone flourish, featuring Ebony black leather with faux suede inserts and an arresting ST logo embroidered in. They’re also some of the more comfortable seats we’ve seen from Ford, with 10-way adjustments ensuring that every driver can find a combination that works for them.

Of course, you can add all the leather, tech features, and cupholders that you want, but a luxury vehicle is always going to be judged primarily by what it’s got under the hood. In that respect, the 2022 Edge ST is off to a good start. Ford replaced the standard four-cylinder engine with a powerful 2.7-L V6 EcoBoost engine that offers 335 horsepower to the base model’s 250. It also ups the torque by a considerable 100 lb-ft, offering 380 lb-ft instead of 280—and making for an all-around more exciting and responsive ride that can zoom from zero to 60 in just 6.1 seconds.

The Edge ST’s powertrain pairs an all-wheel drive configuration with a seven-speed gearbox, which critics say is a marked improvement over the former, 8-speed setup. Ford shaved off one gear starting with the 2021 model, which makes for sharper shifting that goes a long way toward increasing the high-performance feel.

With these sorts of numbers to its name, the Edge ST is no match for much of its midsize competition. In fact, the only real challengers come from the luxury sector, where midsize SUVs that push 300 horsepower are a little more common. The Audi SQ5 ($55,800) and Porsche Macan ($57,500) midsize SUVs might be priced firmly within the luxury category, but they provide a suitable comparison to the Edge ST. The Ford falls just short of the Audi’s 349 horsepower, but the Porsche is no match at just 261 horsepower. The story is the same when it comes to torque, with the Edge ST slotting in firmly between the Porsche (295 lb-ft) and Audi (369 lb-ft).

Aside from the improved engine, the real performance-related highlight of the Edge ST would have to be the inclusion of Sport mode. This feature can transform the Edge ST into a track-ready racer at the touch of a button, using a four-pronged approach to ramp up performance whenever you’re in the mood. It starts with Ford’s Active Noise Control, which allows more engine noise into the cabin as a means of improving auditory feedback. Sure, it makes a nice little racket, but the system’s primary purpose is to make it easier for drivers to hear when it’s time to shift gears.

While the Edge ST is technically an automatic, Sport mode allows drivers to use steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to upshift and downshift with ease. Sport mode also recalibrates the SUV’s throttle mapping, providing a quicker response that improves acceleration and braking. Lastly, the transmission gets a tweak, altering the shift schedule to ensure quicker, smoother shifting. It can even respond to changing conditions or driving styles, allowing drivers to get the most out of their Edge ST—no matter what the road has in store.

A blue 2022 Ford Edge ST is shown from the rear while parked on a city overlook.

Expanded Equipment Packages

For drivers looking to truly max out the Edge ST’s high-performance credentials, Ford offers a variety of comprehensive equipment packages. For $995, drivers can upgrade the SUV’s Ford Co-Pilot360 to Co-Pilot360 Assist+, which adds a host of driver-assistance features like adaptive cruise control with Stop-and-Go lane centering, evasive steering assist, and built-in navigation; the latter includes live traffic details, predictive destinations, and route guidance. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 has been rated as one of the top three driver-assistance packages on the market according to Consumer Reports, improving driver safety and comfort with a suite of well-engineered features.

Injecting a taste of luxury is as easy as opting for the Equipment Group 401A – High Package. The option is a little pricey at $5,750, but given the Edge ST’s low starting price when compared to luxury competitors, it’s still a bargain. The package includes a host of automated features that optimize comfort and convenience, from adaptive LED headlamps and an auto-dimming sideview mirror to evasive steering assist, a wireless charging pad, adaptive cruise control, and a hands-free liftgate.

The most impressive feature might just be the SUV’s enhanced active park assist system, which allows the Edge ST to park itself at the touch of a button. This includes some of the trickiest maneuvers in the book, such as parallel parking and reverse perpendicular parking. While there’s no one definition of luxury out there, not having to worry about parallel parking sure fits the bill.

Those looking to truly test the Edge ST’s limits will want to check out the ST Performance Brake Package. Available for just $2,695, this package gives the SUV’s brakes a comprehensive overhaul, including vented disc brakes with 13.6” front rotors, a brushless radiator cooling fan, performance brake pads, and vented brake shields. It also adds a splash of color to the brake calipers, with a bright Colorado red setting off the premium gloss black-painted aluminum wheels.

A (Free) Crash Course in SUV Driving

High-performance vehicles have always presented something of a conundrum for thrill-seeking drivers. Packed with power, vehicles like the Ford Edge ST are just begging to be put to the test—but unless you’re living within an easy drive of the German Autobahn, finding an appropriate venue can be difficult. Luckily, Ford is here to free Edge ST drivers from the tyranny of traffic laws with the Ford ST SUV Experience. Taking a page from some of the world’s top luxury brands, Ford is now offering a complimentary high-performance driving experience for owners of the new Edge ST and Explorer ST.

Taking place at two sites across the country, the Ford ST SUV Experience includes personal instruction from the team at the Ford Performance Racing School. Instructors will work with drivers on a closed course, showing them how to get the most out of the Ford Edge ST with personalized lessons on the SUV’s advanced technology and performance features. After the lesson is complete, the experience moves to the open road—where drivers can tour scenic routes specially chosen to showcase the Edge ST’s high-performance chops. The experience also includes luxury accommodations, meals, cultural activities, a participant gift, and more.

Drivers can choose between a program in Asheville, North Carolina, and another in Park City, Utah—each offering a unique slate of activities. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Charlotte, the Asheville experience offers a wealth of stunning vistas and a one-night stay at the famous Biltmore Estate. Guests will enjoy a dinner reception, free breakfast, and a catered lunch—as well as a one-hour guided tour of the Biltmore House. Guests also gain access to the luxurious estate’s grounds, gardens, and the Antler Hill Village & Winery.

As far as the actual driving is concerned, the driver and a guest will take to a closed course at the WNC Agricultural Center, stepping into a specially calibrated “skid car” where they’ll learn everything there is to know about controlling oversteer/understeer and the safety-minded features on the Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assistance system. After burning a little rubber, drivers will enjoy a scenic mountain drive from Asheville to Mt. Pisgah, where they can get a crash course on the Edge ST’s handling, paddle shifts, and RPM hold capability.

Those attending the Park City, Utah Ford ST SUV Experience will have an equally full day of high-performance driving fun, including a driving tour of the Wasatch Mountains that ends at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center—where participants will experience much of the same closed course instruction. In a nod to the area’s alpine and Olympic history, participants will also get the chance to take part in the Olympic Biathlon Experience—in the same city that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Park City experience also includes a one-night stay at the Hyatt Centric Park City, catered meals, and more.

A blue 2022 Ford Edge ST is shown from the front while parked on a city overlook.

A Daily Luxury Experience

The closer you look at the 2022 Ford Edge ST, the more the evidence starts to pile up. Between the well-appointed interior featuring one of Ford’s most sophisticated infotainment screens to date, a wealth of customizable equipment package upgrades, and the sort of performance that would give many higher-end SUVs a run for their money, the Edge ST is a luxury SUV in everything but name.

If the power under the hood and advanced driver-assistance tech features weren’t enough, Ford has gone and taken a page directly from the playbook of the industry’s most beloved luxury brands, offering an exclusive weekend getaway and driving course. It’s these sorts of perks, rather than flashy features and marketing campaigns, that really develop a relationship between drivers and automakers. It’s a lesson that many luxury brands have known for a while, but it’s nice to see Ford acknowledging that the relationship between brand and driver doesn’t end the moment you leave the dealership.

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