The 2019 Ford Edge gets a mid-life refresh that’s of interest to driving enthusiasts, as well as buyers who want one of the safest vehicles with all of the most significant driver-assist technologies. Performance comes from the range-topping Ford Edge ST with a 335-hp turbo V6 and a blacked-out interior, rims, and grille. Every one of the four Edge trim lines gets Co-Pilot360, a useful suite of four driver assists. All but the entry model can be enhanced with Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ that provides Level 2 autonomy, meaning it can drive itself on interstates and limited access roads with the driver’s hands lightly on the steering wheel.
This is a big step forward step for safety as long as buyers understand Co-Pilot360 isn’t Co-Pilot360 Assist+. Without the $795 Co-Pilot360 Assist+ package, you don’t get stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, the best friend of drivers on long interstate drives or daily commutes with stop-and-go traffic
Outside of the Co-Pilot360 confusion, this is a solid car with plenty of room for four or five plus a large cargo bay. Combine the 188-inch-long Edge with the 198-inch-long Ford Explorer and Ford has a solid one-two punch in the important midsize-SUV market, especially so with Ford stepping back from sedans.
The 2019 Edge comes in four trim lines, or model variants. The entry Edge SE gives Ford a price point five bucks under $30,000 if you ignore the $995 shipping charge, which you can’t, so it’s $30,990 with a turbo-four engine (EcoBoost) and eight-speed automatic producing 250 hp good for a 24 mpg EPA rating (20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway). All-wheel-drive adds $1,995. The entry Edge uses a simpler version of Ford Sync. And you only get the base Co-Pilot360 technology.
You’ll probably want to look upmarket at the Edge SEL, $34,085, with Sync3 (the good one) and availability of Co-Pilot360 Assist+. Better still is Edge Titanium, $39,545, with Qi wireless charging, a solid BO premium sound system, leather seats, and Ford’s famous foot-activated liftgate. The Edge ST, $43,350, gets a 2.7-liter V6 turbo producing 350 hp with 20-inch alloys, leather seats with Miko cloth inserts, and an all-black interior, black alloys, and red brake calipers.
Ford’s Solid Array of Features, Driver Assists
Semi-autonomous driving means you engage lane centering assist and adaptive cruise control. The Edge’s lane departure warning/lane keep/lane centering assist keeps the car solidly in the middle of the lane, better than most drivers can. ACC sets a maximum cruise control speed and then backs off if you run up behind a slowpoke. If you want to change lanes, blind spot detection warns if there’s a car in your blind spot. You change lanes manually, then the self-drive features take over. It’s not unlike Nissan ProPilot Assist on the Nissan Leaf, Nissan Rogue, and now Nissan Altima.
The “this self-drive stuff is crap, just learn to drive” haters are still gonna hate driver assists. For those of sounder minds, Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ is a major step forward for Ford and for the safety of people buying its cars. You may be a good driver when you set out on a six- or eight-hour hour cruise at 9 a.m. Sometime after that too-filling lunch, you’ll be less alert. This is where the driver assists are helpful. The same goes if you commute to work on six hours sleep and you see traffic come to a sudden stop nine times on your commute and react too slowly the tenth time.
Ford crows about how cool and broad Co-Pilot360’s features are. Ford deserves the chutzpah award for declaring the backup camera to be one facet of Co-Pilot360. It’s actually part of a federal mandate that all cars have a rear camera as of May 2018, and three-quarters of all cars made in 2017 had them, too. Our bigger concern is safety-conscious buyers who walk into the showroom and say they want “Co-Pilot” may settle for Co-Pilot360, the helpful base package, when they really want Co-Pilot Assist+, which comprises the adaptive cruise control radar system that really gives the Edge 360 degrees of protection, plus evasive steering assist, and navigation, in a $795 bundle.
Ford ST: More Power, More Fun, Stiffer Ride
The 2019 Edge is the first Ford SUV to carry the ST performance emblem. The Focus ST and Fiesta ST have been veritable rocketships. The Edge ST is not quite so hard-edged. It’s faster than the SE, SEL, and Titanium, it has lower-profile tires, and it has a different suspension that’s firmer, enough so that you should test-drive the Edge with any partner or spouse to make sure it suits you both. It’s also faster than the Edge Sport it succeeds. Both have turbo V6 engines, but horsepower increases from 215 to 335, torque from 350 to 380 pound-feet. That gives the Edge ST a 0-60 time of about 6 seconds and EPA rating of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. The Edge needs premium fuel for max power but runs on regular; EPA numbers should be the same.
Handling is excellent. The ride is firm and might be helped if Ford used adjustable shocks to go with the ability to tweak the steering, throttle response, and shift points in Sport mode. Using the paddle shifters, downshifts were quick in my tests, but for upshifts, there was a noticeable lag on this pre-production model. 20-inch wheels come standard; think twice about the 21s with 265/40 Pirelli P Zero tires if you live in pothole country.
The other three Edge models ride well and their turbo-four engine is reasonably quick. The SE, SE, and Titanium also don’t require you to take the black interior (sets, carpet, headliner), which some find claustrophobic. (The car itself is roomy in the rear seats.) The majority of Edge sales will be the SEL and Titanium.
Should You Buy?
There are many solid competitors. The Honda Pilot is our current favorite, in part because it has a better, in our opinion, safety package, called Honda Sensing. Every Pilot, even the entry trim line, gets the Honda Sensing safety –adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist — and blind spot detection is on all but the entry trim (which Honda says is only 3 percent of sales). But Co-Pilot360 is a reasonable move to put safety features under an umbrella name that buyers can ask for.
Among the four Edge trim lines, the SE is a bit soft on features. Sync is an older version and you can’t get Co-Pilot360 Assist+. The SE and SEL are the sweet spots. The Edge ST is a lot of fun to drive and the price delta over the Edge Titanium isn’t that much since all-wheel-drive, normally $1,995, is part of the base price.
Even though it’s only a mid-life refresh, the 2019 model represents a solid step forward for Ford Edge. Be sure to shop the Edge no matter what other midsize SUV is your primary target. And be sure to make sure the Edge you shop has Co-Pilot360 (standard) and the optional Co-Pilot360 Assists+.
Now read: Hands Off With Cadillac Super Cruise, the Masterful One-Trick Pony of Self-Driving, 2019 Honda Pilot Review: Best Standard Safety Tech, Tows 5,000 Pounds, and Why Ford Moved Self-Driving Operations to a New, Off-Site Business