Ford has refreshed the mid-size Edge five-seat SUV for 2019, adding a new top Titanium Elite Package and an edgier performance model, as well as making some not-so-edgy tweaks to the front and rear styling. There also are less visible but substantial changes that include a new transmission, smarter all-wheel drive, more standard safety tech and the discontinuation of one optional engine.
Gone is the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 as an engine upgrade for most trim levels. There still is an Edge V-6, a more powerful version of the 2018 Sport model’s EcoBoost turbocharged 2.7-liter, but it’s offered only on the new ST that replaces the Sport trim level with a true performance model (we’ll have more about that in a separate story soon).
But all other Edges now are powered by a tweaked version of the current turbo 2.0-liter base engine that puts out 5 horsepower more for 2019 and is mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission that improves response and gas mileage. That includes the new Titanium with the trim’s Titanium Elite Package, which gets its own exterior trim and a new top price for a non-performance Edge. The 2019 Edge continues to offer SE, SEL and Titanium trim levels and is on sale now.
I tested a 2019 Titanium with the Elite appearance package on mountain roads near Park City, Utah, at a Ford media event. (Per our ethics policy, Cars.com pays for its airfare and lodging for such manufacturer-hosted events.).
Then There Were Two
The standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder now puts out 250 hp (if you feed it recommended premium fuel) and 280 pounds-feet of torque, up 5 hp and pounds-feet, respectively. It is adequate but in no way exciting as it motivates the hefty 4,124-pound SUV (AWD version). The impression was reinforced by some lag on downshifts by the new eight-speed automatic a beat or two after you punch the accelerator before you get action. That feeling was compounded by relatively early upshifts at low speeds, no doubt to save fuel. But the new gearbox, which replaces the old six-speed, is generally well-behaved, not stumbling or hunting for gears. Automatic engine stop-start now is standard but can be turned off.
This new normal for the Edge is likely peppy enough for most buyers, however, who’ll also appreciate the higher mileage (and more range between pit stops) from an EPA-estimated mileage rating of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined with FWD, improved from 20/27/23 mpg. Still, while the old V-6 was a bit noisy and burned more gas, I miss the stronger mid-range push. A new middle-ground power option of some kind for at least the top models, such as the Titanium Elite, might better suit their near-luxury aspirations.
Capable and Carlike
The Edge carries over a capable chassis that combines a firmly comfortable ride with capable handling that has a very carlike, not-SUV feel. There is good body control with little lean, even on twisting mountain roads. The steering is nicely weighted and turn-in is crisp. The brakes have a good initial grip that increases in a nicely linear fashion as you increase pressure.
The Titanium test vehicles also benefited from the optional AWD that got a major update for 2019. The new system can fully idle the connection to the rear wheels except when needed, reducing friction losses and helping to improve fuel economy. But it also nearly instantly (Ford says within 10 milliseconds, but who’s counting?) can send up to 100 percent of power to the rear as needed, though it doesn’t split it side to side. The AWD decides what goes where using artificial intelligence and a long list of sensor and system inputs — including the outside temperature and whether the windshield wipers are on. We did not have a crack at off-road testing, but it handled slick, wet pavement and loose gravel and heavier rock with poise.
All 2019 Edge models get a wider, slimmer grille, a new hood, new bumpers and new taillights as well as standard LED lighting. The Elite Package dresses up the Titanium more with its own 20-inch wheel design as well as body color on the bumpers and lower sides. The look is more upscale than before, but the overall chunky profile and stretched-forward windshield pillars remain.
In all 2019 Edge models, the most significant interior change is a new center console design that benefits from a space-saving rotary dial shifter. The covered front device bin is larger, and there are a pair of extra storage slots flanking the cupholders. The front device bin includes two USB ports and, on the Titanium, standard wireless charging. There is 12-volt power on the side of the console next to a lower, soft-surface storage space beneath the shifter. Another 12-volt outlet is in the very deep console storage bin, with one more in the cargo area. A dash-top bin and sunglasses holder overhead round out an SUV-worthy roster of storage spaces. Rear passengers in the Titanium are treated to heated seats and air vents, 12-volt power and a 110-volt household outlet on the rear of the center console.
The Edge interior has plenty of room. The rear seat has plenty of legroom for me, at 6-foot-2, to sit behind a driver my size. The test car’s optional panoramic moonroof made rear headroom, however, just enough for me. Leather seating is standard in the Titanium and it has a good feel, but I found the seats, front and rear, to be a little thinly padded, as well as too short for thigh support for a long drive. Also, there is inconsistency, even in the Titanium, between the upgraded materials above your elbow and some cheaper materials below. But very satisfying was Ford’s user-friendly Sync 3 media system with standard smartphone integration and a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to 10 devices.
A Load of Standard Safety and Driving Aids
Standard for 2019 on all Edge models is a bundle of safety technologies Ford has branded Co-Pilot360. It includes a front collision system with automatic braking, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist and automatic high-beams. Optional, and included on the Edge I drove, is an enhanced package called Co-Pilot360 Plus that adds adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, a lane-centering steering system and evasive steering assist, plus in-car navigation.
I wasn’t able to test the evasive steering, which adds to driver steering effort to swerve around an object when a collision is imminent. But the adaptive cruise control was as capable as advertised and the accompanying lane-centering system kept the Elite between the lines, even in some construction areas where the lines were less predictable. The camera-based system did seem to have some difficulty keeping track of the lines in rain encountered on Interstate 80 in the Utah mountains. The centering is an assist only and will shut off if it senses you haven’t touched the steering wheel in 15 seconds. One change I would make in the system is a larger, more prominent indicator light for when it is or is not locked on the lane markings.
Feeling the Heat?
The freshened Edge remains a solid, comfortable and capable SUV in a tidy-size package, but the competition is heating up among such five-seat mid-size SUVs that offer a lot of features, particularly in top trim levels, at relatively mainstream prices (at least compared with stickers on similar luxury-brand vehicles). Besides the current Nissan Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is redesigned, Chevrolet’s all-new Blazer is on the way and also expected is a new Honda Passport. The Edge also has an updated premium rival in-house, the sibling Lincoln now called Nautilus.
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