Ford has officially launched the new Ford Edge to the Irish market. This SUV is in direct competition with the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Volvo XC60. However, with a starting point of €55,700 we wonder whether Ford are doing enough of their "Unlearn" marketing.
In this day and age, a lot of cars are purchased based on a badge. Take the Volkswagen Golf for example. It sells massively here in Ireland, yet the SEAT Leon, which uses the exact same chassis, engine and other items, doesn't come close in terms of sales. Ford, who's brand name and recognition is extremely good, just hasn't got the reputation of being a luxury brand. We take the Ford Mondeo Vignale as an example. Starting prices for one of these is circa €44,000. This is a high price point, especially when you consider that an entry level Mondeo proper is just €30,000. Would you buy a Vignale over an A4? But being fair to Ford, the Vignale is a high-spec and highly comfortable car and if it had an Audi badge, I'm sure many people would be happy to shell out that type of cash for one.
The Edge starts very high in terms of price, and we'd have to ask why potential customers wouldn't opt for the likes of the XC60 or the Discovery Sport. Now, here's the good news on the Edge. It may be expensive, but it certainly comes attractively kitted-out.
Firstly, there will only be All-Wheel Drive versions for the Irish market. So, that price looks a little more attractive. We did go off-road at the Irish launch and it will be fine for anyone who needs it to get out of minor tricky situations in fields or on easier off-road tracks. Ford doesn’t claim that it will drive you up walls, so don't be thinking that you're sitting in a Land Cruiser or a Wrangler - because that would be silly.
The new Ford Edge looks great up close. The nose looks chunky and there are some great lines to the bonnet and the rear. Step inside and the interior is very refined. Active Noise Control does well in keeping exterior decibels low. Our test model (Sport Trim) had very comfortable leather seats and came with intelligent equipment like, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Steering. The Intelligent All Wheel Drive system kicks in on slippery surfaces or when needed, and all of this technology combined makes it pretty safe for drivers, and comfortable to boot. The cargo area seems to be massive, although we can’t find the actual capacity information anywhere as of yet!
The Edge offers from 180bhp to 210bhp and we're told that it has a combined fuel economy of 5.8l/100km. From our test today, we cannot confirm if this fuel economy figure is accurate - a longer test will give us more insight here. We drove the 180bhp version and the 2.0 litre TDCi engine did not feel sluggish. The steering of the vehicle is heavy - but precise. This particular engine, we're told, will bring you from 0-100km/h in 9.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 211km/h. Our test model came with a six-speed manual gear box. There is also an automatic PowerShift version available.
The Ford Edge will be offered in two trims; Titanium and Sport. Some of the differences with the “Sport” trim is that you get 20" tyres instead of 19"s and the twin exhausts sit in nicer housing. Our test model came with a wonderful colour - "Electric Spice". When I saw it first I thought that it resembled a skittle, but to be honest, it grew on me very quickly.
So, the Ford Edge looks great, and from our brief time with it we can tell you that it is "so far so good" in terms of drive. It does come kitted out with very good material, but we are forced to ask if people have "Unlearned" enough about the traditional and very trustworthy Ford branding to actually spend €55,700 on a Ford SUV. Although, if the badge belonged to Audi, BMW or even Mercedes-Benz, I probably wouldn't be asking this question. It's a strange one. Are we lead so much by the badge that we wouldn't be willing to pay more for a premium car with a non-premium badge? Answers for that one on a postcard please!
Ford Ireland reckons that they might shift 200 in 2017, we think that this is a realistic figure – if not a little conservative. We wish them luck!