We recently drove the Edge Sport and came away suitably impressed — not least because of its Ecoboost V6. The 2.7-litre blown motor sure is a solid powerplant producing a very healthy 340bhp and massive 542Nm of torque. It give the CUV — which was finally redesigned last year having launched in 2006 (and then left untouched until a facelift appeared in 2011) — a new lease of life. The force-fed six-pot is quite peppy and gives the family-hauler a mighty mid-range shove. Far better than the first-generation Sport (which used a 305bhp 3.7-litre V6 from the Mustang) — however, it doesn’t come cheap. Our top-of-the range tester costs a cool Dh210,000. It’s the sort of cash that puts a Q5 on your drive — or even a four-pot Macan and with a lot of change left over. But you’re a Ford man so would the more affordable Titanium variant be the better buy?
Well for starters, it’ll save you Dh30,000 and for many out there, this alone would be the deal sealer. Do you really need the grocery-getter to hit 100kph from rest in 6.5 seconds? Depends how badly you need that pint of milk I suppose, but for the school run and mall duties, the 3.5-litre V6 that our Titanium tester has, is more than enough to handle every task you throw at it.
The 2016 model, which has been redesigned from front to back and oozes more quality and additional features and technologies than before, gets three engine options (all come equipped with a six-speed automatic and dual exhaust); two have already been mentioned and there’s also a 2.0-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder. The naturally aspirated V6 we have here gets the Edge going rather briskly and the driving dynamics aren’t bad for a CUV. Yes, the Sport is more potent, but you won’t feel short-changed with the 283bhp and 340Nm of torque on offer. It has a redesigned suspension that isolates road imperfections better without compromising handling but it is the new solid body structure that helps create a stronger platform for the chassis to demonstrate its new-found ability. Compared to the 2014 model, the newbie’s body is 26 per cent stiffer, however, you can’t expect that much edginess from any Edge, even though the Sport tries hard. But it is still designed to offer a comfortable ride and in that regard, it is one of the best models in the segment.
Our Electric Spice-coloured Ford packs a serious amount of kit, half of which you probably won’t use, but the adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support are useful additions, as is the blind-spot information system; it uses a radar to trigger a warning when another motorist is in your blind spot. Parking is made easy with a new 180-degree front camera (standard rear camera), and a hands-free liftgate, which allows you to unlock the boot by moving your leg below the middle of the rear bumper, is very handy when your hands are full.
On the safety front, all trims (there are four in total) get glovebox knee airbags, inflatable rear safety belts, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (it measures roll rate and predicts roll angle, and can adjust engine torque and brake pressure in all four corners to help keep you in control), and Curve Control, which can slow the vehicle down by 16kph while manoeuvring a corner.
The Sport is the most aggressively styled of the lot and features a piano black grille, black beltline mouldings and body-colour front and rear bumpers (huge 21in wheels are available, but you shouldn’t spec those unless your surname is West, or Cent...) and it stands out more than the SE, SEL and Titanium, but the Titanium strikes the right balance in terms of aesthetics. It isn’t too showy, nor is it too subtle (the chromed grille flanked by LED headlights gives it some character and it rides on 19in wheels — they’re the right size...), and although it looks like a softer, less imposing CUV, it still has a wedgy exterior and a muscular stance, which gets more attention than its conservative rivals.
There isn’t much difference between the two versions’ interiors; the cabin — which has a fresh, premium design — gets heated and cooled front seats, a 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD radio, panoramic roof, an 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav and Ford’s upgraded Sync system. Regardless if you are in the front or the back, you won’t be left wanting for space as it is ever so roomy in both rows (the 602 litre boot is bigger than its competitors), so it’s only the engines that really set the two apart.
The Sport’s 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 may provide more power (Ford says it can produce the grunt of a mid-range V8) but when exactly do you need the extra force when going about your daily duties — those being the school run and office-to-home commute? Sure, it is nice to be able to put your foot down and leave the soccer moms in your rear-view but, then, the 3.5-litre V6 pulls away very strongly, too. And even though the Sport has a suspension that is 15 per cent stiffer than the others in the range, again, when are you really going to put that in use with a boot full of fruit and veg and the kids in the second row?
Granted, it does offer better driving dynamics, but this trim feels just as good on the move. And since they all get the paddle-activated SelectShift putting you in control of the transmission, it makes the driving experience a little bit more engaging.
Our tester (like the Sport) has the all-wheel drive system (it’s electronically controlled), which can send up to 100 per cent of the power to the front or back axle so it grips the road just as well as the more expensive version without shouting about its credentials. Basically, those who want their Edge to have, er, a bit more of an edge, will opt for the flagship Sport, but the second-highest trim level that the Blue Oval offers might just be the best. Remember, this is a model that puts comfort at the top of the agenda, so why compromise that for a bit more power and a harder chassis? You wouldn’t take the Sport to the drag strip — but you’ll definitely be dragged to the mall with the wife and kids on board, and the way to go for that would be in the 3.5-litre V6 Titanium.
It benefits from the different chassis tuning, offering a softer, more comfortable ride, which is very refined, has more than enough poke and will save you some dosh, too. It scores very favourably on all fronts and would be the sensible choice to make.