Looking for a mid-size crossover Ford model that hits the sweet spot between the too-small Escape and the too-large Explorer? The 2021 Ford Edge should do just the trick. And this year it is even sweeter than before with an upgraded Sync 4 infotainment system. The former 8-inch touchscreen display has been replaced by a huge 12-inch screen, and reverse parking sensors are now standard on every trim level.
The 2020 Ford Edge saw the discontinuation of the CD player and addition of the ST Line trim level, a mid-tier trim level that has continued over for 2021. This year, the line-topping ST has been given a new 7-speed transmission to enhance its sporty performance. The former 8-speed transmission just wasn't cutting it performance-wise, so Ford decided to give it an update in hopes of getting smoother, sportier shifting. Buyers who want a sportier performance will likely opt for this trim level, but there are more to choose from.
Buyers will also be attracted to the 2021 Edge's spacious interior and well-thought-out design. With the 12-inch infotainment system now coming standard, the driver will be better able to see and touch its larger buttons. It is a massive upgrade from the 8-inch touchscreen that came on the 2020 Edge.
So, what is there to like about the Ford Edge's performance? What do the trim levels have to offer, and what kinds of technology do you get? And just how safe is it? We will go through all of that and compare the Edge to a few of its top rivals so that you can get a feel for whether or not the Edge might be the right vehicle for you.What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Ford Edge comes in five different trim levels: the base SE, SEL, ST-Line, Titanium, and the performance-oriented ST. All trims - save for the ST - are equipped with a 2.0-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers a power output of 250 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. They come paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is optional if you don't want the standard front-wheel drive. Upgrading to the ST trim level gets you a 2.7-L V6 engine that serves up 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and the new 7-speed automatic transmission come equipped.
On the SE, you get a respectable array of standard features. This list includes LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, the new 12-inch infotainment display with the Sync 4 system, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-button start with the keyless entry system, and a 6-speaker sound system. The CoPilot360 bundle adds standard driver aids like automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with a rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, and forward collision mitigation.
Upgrading to the SEL gets you the SecuriCode entry pad, simulated leather upholstery, and heated front seats that have power adjustability. New options open up, including CoPilot Assist+ (which has evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and a built-in navigation system) and the Convenience package (which bundles a wireless charging pad, remote start, a security alarm, a power liftgate, and a household-style power outlet).
The new ST-Line trim is a sportier version of the SEL. It has lower front and rear fascias and black exterior trim. Also, the ST-Line gives you lower cladding and bumpers done in the body color, 20-inch gloss black wheels, red accent stitching inside of the cabin, and the Convenience package as standard equipment.
Opting for the Titanium trim gives you a hands-free liftgate, 19-inch wheels, leather upholstery, additional adjustments to the front passenger seat, windshield wipers that sense rain, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, front parking sensors, and the Convenience package items. You can opt to add Co-Pilot360 Assist+, a trailering package, a panoramic glass roof, or the Lux package (which has CoPilot Assist+, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a front-facing camera, and an automatic parking system).
The ST gives you an even sportier performance than the ST-Line with the turbo V6 and new 7-speed automatic transmission. The former 8-speed just wasn't quick enough to feel sporty. There is also a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch black painted wheels, a black-and-body-colored design similar to the ST-Line's, silver stitching on the front sport seats, suede-like and leather upholstery, and the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. You can opt for the High package (which is like the Lux) and the ST Performance Brake package (which equips 21-inch gloss black wheels, performance pads and red calipers on the larger brakes, enhanced cooling, and summer tires).Which Trim is Right for Me?
If you're going to go all-out, the ST is definitely a fun way to go. The ST-Line is much more affordable though, and we actually prefer it over the SEL. The SE is a bit too basic, and the Titanium doesn't really add enough to justify the price. The SEL is a good way to go if you don't want anything sporty. But, if you're looking for thrill, the ST-Line is an affordable-but-fun choice.What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
The Edge is loaded on tech. The new 12-inch touchscreen is stunning with crystal-clear graphics and large controls. Smartphone app integration is easy to use, and 4G LTE WiFi hot-spot is standard. Outlets abound, and the 110-volt household-style outlet will come in handy.How Does It Perform?
The Edge's 4-cylinder is bland at highway speeds but accelerates well enough in town. The steering is predictable and concise, and the brakes are solid. The optional V6 is much more exciting and has sportier braking capabilities. The 8-speed has some excessive shifting tendencies, which can be avoided on the 7-speed. Sport mode does help to lessen the delays though.Is It Safe and Reliable?
NHTSA gave the 2021 Edge a full 5-star rating, with the vehicle only losing one point on the rollover assessment. IIHS assigned all "Good" marks on its tests. The bevvy of standard driver aids enhances the Edge's safety. As far as reliability goes, there is a reason why you see a lot of used Edges on the road. Repairs costs are also industry average.What's the Interior Like?
The Edge's interior is plenty spacious and utilizes intuitive primary controls. Some secondary controls are a little confusing at times and take getting-used-to. Slipping in and out of the seats is simple thanks to the wide door openings. Behind the second row, you get a generous 39.2 cubic feet - one of the best numbers for this segment.What are the Alternatives to this Model?
Not feeling the Edge? The Honda Passport is a top contender with excellent fuel efficiency and a ton of comfort. There is also the Ford Escape if you want something a bit smaller. It has been fully redesigned for 2021 and even comes with a hybrid powertrain option.
Note: All Ford Edge lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.