You probably have friends who drive an Audi Q7, so you’ll know the rationale for choosing one. It has seven seats, so you can drive the kids and their friends to football or ballet. It has lots of space for the annual holiday. You can drive other cars off the road because it’s the size of a Ford Transit. But after that, the reasons start to thin out pretty quickly. But all that practical space can be a touch... well, impractical. Who cares if the kids have loads of room if it means you can never find a parking space?
Which brings us to more sensible alternatives: the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60, plus the newer, very agreeable Mercedes-Benz GLC and Jaguar F-Pace. And now, the Ford Edge. Don’t recoil. Yes, it’s a Ford, but it’s rather good.
The Edge is from the same people who bought you the highly desirable new Ford Mustang. Both land in the UK from the States, and both knock preconceptions well beyond the boundary.
What you have here is a £30-40,000 five-seat SUV with proper four-wheel-drive and plenty of style. OK, the last bit is in the eye of the beholder, but the Ford looks elegant to my eyes, hiding its bulk well. And there is bulk, although not quite Q7-bulk: the Edge is a sizeable car, with more interior space than its immediate rivals. Shoulder room and rear legroom are gargantuan. And with the rear seat reclined, it’s a great place to relax during long trips with someone else doing the driving. Luggage space is also suitably inflated, with the Titanium and Sport models getting hands-free tailgate opening and closure – just wave your foot under the bumper.
What you don’t get is a wide choice of engines. In fact, you get no choice at all, just a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 180bhp, or 210bhp if you opt for the automatic transmission, as you surely will. These are perfectly adequate power outputs, and the Edge is usually eager, although it does get a bit noisy if you floor the accelerator as you move into the outside lane of the motorway.
The Edge doesn’t match some rivals when it comes to CO2 emissions or economy, but maybe Ford isn’t quite as good at manipulating the statutory tests. They say it will average 48.7mpg, with CO2 of 149g/km.
Perhaps of greater relevance is how easy it is to drive, with its large, comfortable seats and high equipment levels. It has a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, heated seats, DAB audio, keyless start, privacy glass and “active noise control” as standard on the Titanium version. The £2,000 Lux pack adds leather, heated rear seats, memory front seats and a panoramic roof.
That makes the Edge look like great value. It doesn’t have the sweet interior detailing of the Mercedes or Audi, but it’s still a relatively well-designed cockpit.
If you’re bored with your Galaxy or S-Max, and have had enough of carting around the neighbours’ kids alongside your own, you really should consider the Ford Edge.