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The fellows who carry out the delivery and pickup of test-drive vehicles to folks like me who drive, evaluate and report on those new cars do an amazingly efficient job, making sure the vehicles are clean, fueled and ready to be driven. But sometimes extenuating circumstances can get in the way.
When I got the sporty upgraded 2019 Ford Edge ST for a week, it happened to coincide with what might have been the harshest week in the harshest January winter weather to hit Minnesota in at least a couple of decades. The car washes were all closed up, wisely avoiding the 20-below temperature.
The week was long and cold, with heavy snow accenting the sub-zero plunge, and while none of that prevented me from fully appreciating the Edge’s new sportiest model, I had spent most of the week exploiting all the features and appreciating them greatly as we eased through the endless days of nasty weather.
We appreciated the firm chassis, and the upgraded suspension of the ST, and we also noted almost daily, sometimes more than once a day, how swiftly the seat heaters and heated steering wheel seemed to warm up. Some vehicle have heated seats but it seems like you have to drive 5 miles before you feel any warmth. Not the new Edge. It seemed like 8 or 10 blocks and you were feeling cozy through the seat cushion, which is welcome while you wait for the customary heat buildup.
On that start-up front, we also thoroughly appreciated the auto-start, wherein you remotely lock the doors, then hit the proper button on the key fob and the car starts itself. Good for a brief engine warm-up, and also good for getting a head start on loosening up the glacial deposits on the front and rear windows for a quick clearing.
I was getting a little curious, though, because everything about the Edge ST was so impressive, I wondered if we might find at least a nitpick to balance all the superlatives. We couldn’t complain or praise the “Performance Blue Metallic” exterior paint, because even though our older son, Jack, mentioned what an impressive shade of blue it was, we couldn’t really prove it, located as it was under this weeklong buildup of snow/salt/road-glop that we had not been enjoying.
Finally, the temperature crept up to 15 degrees last Saturday, and I took a chance. Sure enough, the coin-operated car wash on the eastern edge of Duluth, Minnesota, had taken down its boldly lettered “Closed” sign. I pulled in, and nobody else was risking it, so I flung the door up and pulled inside. I had four $1 bills, which was just enough to get you 4 minutes of heavy soap spray, and then a swift rinse to get rid of all that glop. The timer ticks each second off, and a nasty alarm alerts you that you’re in your final minute, and if you’re smart you’ll add more money so that you don’t wind up with a soapy mess when you finish.
All went well, and in my practiced routine, I went in segments to make sure I didn’t miss the left side, front, right side, and rear with the soap wand. Then I quickly switched to rinse and noted I only had 1:30 left. I took care of the left rear corner, then the left side, then the windshield, hood and left front corner. I knew the time was going, and it was going to be close. Got the black-out grille, the foglight and then the right front fender, right side and on back.
Noticing I only had about 30 seconds left, I hustled, and started rinsing the rear hatch. Moving from right to left, I had just reached the far left side when a sudden little noise startled me, and the entire hatch started to flip up. I tried to change hands and push it back down, but it was resisting. I continued around the left rear corner and the water stopped. Out of time.
Hanging up the wand and tubing, I couldn’t resist shooting one photo in the foggy, muggy car wash with the hatch open. Of course, I realized quickly what had happened. The new war of features that Ford has so energetically engaged in has led the company to come up with a slick thing to aid those carrying grocery bags or armloads of luggage to stow, allowing the hatch to release and spring open just by waving your foot under the rear bumper. If you have the key fob in your pocket, the hatch opens.
That makes it extremely convenient for arms-full carrying and stowing, and I’m sure it’s an excellent reason to add the $5,585 “Equipment Group 401A” to your sticker price. But it might be something you wouldn’t so eagerly embrace if it guaranteed you a car wash that did the job both inside and out!
At last, I’d found a nit-pick I could challenge on the Edge ST! The rest of that particular option package included auto-start, perimeter alarm, dual-pane, full-length sunroof, touch-navigation, heated rear seats, evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise with lane-centering, and wireless charging pad. That goes over and above the normal features, such as leather seats, lane-keeping assist and the various vehicle control electronics and stability control stuff.
All the options pushed the price from $42,000 up to $49,430 for the loaded Edge ST with all-wheel drive and all the normal top-of-the-line features. The Ultimate might have more, but the ST adds the unmistakable edge, so to speak, of the enhanced suspension and steering that make the vehicle truly a sporty midsize SUV.
The firmness of the platform made you feel extra secure inside the Edge, more than adding any harsh jolts or over-active bounciness.
There are so many creature features on these new vehicles that in a small way it is justifiable that evaluators might miss proper evaluation of the drivetrain. We won’t do that. The assorted engines in the Edge include the 2.0 turbocharged 4, and the as-tested 2.7-liter twin-turbo upgraded V6 EcoBoost, with 335 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. I will tow 3,500 pounds in this form, with its 8-speed automatic transmission. And in the tweaked ST form, the Edge will go 0-60 in a scant 5.5 seconds. We got about 17 miles per gallon in the worst wintry city driving, and up to about 22 in short freeway treks.
Ford’s arsenal of SUVs have not been often enumerated, but in view of the company’s recent disclosure that it intends to eliminate cars such as the Focus, Fiesta, Fusion and Taurus, leaving only the Mustang among cars that will be salvaged to join the surge toward SUVs and trucks, it is important to not that the SUV array includes the tiny EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer and Expedition. The puts the Edge smack in the middle, and it is well placed as the largest of the two-row-seat SUVs. You need a third row, go on up to the Explorer.
In most cases, three-row-seat SUV buyers tend to fold down the third row seat for luggage and hauling, so in reality, the Edge takes care of that for you.
Oh, and by the way, while making sure you don’t accidentally open the hatch in a car-wash, we really did love the unusual blue paint job.