Hidden among the rows of complacent and practical crossovers at your Louisville Certified Pre-Owned Ford dealer is an outlier that doesn’t immediately appear different. The thing is, crossovers all look pretty similar, so discerning the special ones (and there are special ones) might require more than a visual once over.
We’re speaking of the Ford Edge ST, the rebel in the Edge lineup. It’s the crossover that defies all the usual conservative category qualifiers, like family-friendly, practical, fuel-efficient, and safe. Sure, it’s all these things, but it’s something else: a performance beast. Can mom and dad drive carpool and raise the hairs on the back of their necks in a hairpin turn? Yes, but only if they buy an Edge ST.
Just about the only drawback we can find about opting for the Edge ST is its mid-$40,000 starting MSRP. Add a few optional goodies, and the price tag creeps closer to $50,000 for a new model. What’s a bored suburban parent to do? Check out the Certified Pre-Owned Edge ST used market. Let someone else cover the depreciation and find yourself a gently used version.
Here’s what we love about the Ford Edge ST and why we think it belongs in your driveway.
It all boils down to ride, handling, acceleration, and cornering ability. Thanks to a very capable 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, the Edge ST makes a best-in-class 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. You may not tap into it while driving to junior’s soccer practice, but once you drop him off, feel free to engage the throttle more aggressively and make use of those steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Drivers who appreciate performance will certainly enjoy the Edge ST’s sub-six second zero-to-sixty time. Ford compensates for its high center of gravity (remember, it’s still a crossover) with an upgraded suspension and standard all-wheel drive. Finding a pre-owned model equipped with the optional ST Performance Brake Package gets you 21-inch wheels, vented front and rear disc brakes, and cherry red brake calipers. Oh, and you’ll get a set of summer tires.
The ST separates itself from the rest of the Edge lineup with a trim-exclusive seven-speed transmission. Torque vectoring carefully assigns power to the stickiest wheels and adds to the feeling of control gained by the thicker anti-roll bars. Car and Driver believes the Edge ST “leaves most rivals in the dust,” and Forbes calls it a “rocket ship”. We like that the Edge ST maintains a low profile, only showing modest signs of its performance capability. You have to drive it (or drive in it) to truly appreciate it.
Enthusiast buyers that find themselves shopping for a vehicle in a more practical segment like crossovers, SUVs, or – gasp! – minivans are often there because they don’t have a choice. It’s refreshing, therefore, to find options like the Ford Edge ST, even if budget restrictions relegate you to a CPO model. Buyers can rejoice knowing they’ll get cargo capacity and passenger room without sacrificing white knuckle performance.
Let’s be honest – crossovers are a little vanilla. It’s not the automakers’ fault, per se, but because of the explosion in crossover popularity and the universal set of styling criteria that’s required for a vehicle to be classified as a crossover, there’s not a lot of room for aesthetic creativity. All the more reason we can appreciate the extra attention Ford gave the Edge ST.
First off, it’s badged with prominent ST branding right on the front grille. Also, newer models feature standard LED exterior lighting, including the fog lights. Door handles, mirrors, and the rear spoiler all receive the same color paint as the body for a sleek monotone curb presence, and the polished stainless steel dual exhaust tips pop in their trapezoidal presentation.
Inside, the Edge ST receives a little luxury treatment. Ambient interior lighting sets the mood, and the perforated leather steering wheel branded with yet another ST logo and embroidered in silver hints at Ford’s efforts to make this trim stand out. The pedals receive cool race-inspired aluminum covers, too. We especially appreciate the addition of four grab handles.
The front seats don’t look like the typical crossover variety. Instead, they feature leather surfaces with Miko inserts. They have bolsters and the same ST logo and stitching found on the steering wheel. Newer model years add in plenty of infotainment and connectivity features, and every Edge ST incorporates plenty of driver-assist safety technology befitting a family crossover.
The Usual Crossover Goodies
All the performance and sporty styling in the world is worthless if the vehicle can’t meet your needs practically. But don’t forget that the Edge ST is still an Edge. That means it has all the space and comfort crossover buyers want, along with respectable fuel economy ratings and enough comfort and convenience features to still provide an assist to busy parents. For example, you can even find a Certified Pre-Owned Edge ST with a dual-headrest DVD entertainment system.
Second-row legroom tops off at 40.6 inches, which is roomy for the category. Also, up to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space means trips to the big box home store won’t require borrowing your neighbor’s pickup truck. Heck, you can even find an Edge ST with a hands-free power liftgate. In other words, it’s as family-friendly as it is fun to drive.
As for infotainment, the original 2019 model year Edge ST received an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a responsive version of Ford’s operating system, SYNC 3. However, if you can snag a Certified Pre-Owned model from 2021 or later, you will be treated to a much larger 12-inch touch screen with added functionality.
As midsize crossovers go, the Ford Edge is a competitive and popular option, but in its ST version, it adds fun-to-drive to the list of practical features. The Edge ST also scores well in NHTSA crash test ratings, securing a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating every year since its 2019 introduction. Ford’s robust Certified Pre-Owned program affords used Edge ST buyers factory warranty coverage, which ticks the peace-of-mind box.
More Performance Crossovers, Please
We believe the underground demand for zippy crossovers is larger than the current assortment of models would have you believe. If crossing into luxury SUV territory – and shouldering a six-figure car loan – isn’t in the cards, where can driving enthusiasts with a family find a good compromise? The Ford Edge ST certainly solves that dilemma.
Other manufacturers, like Volkswagen and Mazda, offer sportier versions of their crossover models, but Ford is one of the few American auto manufacturers in its commitment to sub-$50,000 performance options. It’s a market strategy that confounds us since having a family shouldn’t (and usually doesn’t) negate people’s interest in loving what they drive.
Perhaps automakers will address the performance crossover deficit in concert with their electrification strategies. Models like Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E seem to indicate a move in this direction, but launching new EVs takes time, money, and eliminates the pool of buyers eyeballing less expensive used and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. Sure, a used BMW or Audi is one alternative, but hefty insurance premiums and repair bills tend to dissuade buyers from going that route.
For now, outliers like the Ford Edge ST stand alone in the effort to respect family-oriented buyers who still want to feel the thrill of performance-oriented driving. Sales don’t lie, and in 2019 and 2020, the ST made up 13 percent of all Edge sales. That translates into 18,000 Edge STs in 2019 alone. It’s a good start, but we say keep going.