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Dulling Edge: Is Ford’s 2020 five-seater still the midsize crossover for you?

2020 Ford Edge

What changes will make the 2020 Ford Edge different?

Little of note following a model-year 2019 revamp that freshened styling, updated powertrains, and expanded safety features. The 2020 Edge will reprise all that – and have to live with it for several years — as Ford concentrates on launching fully redesigned versions of the Explorer and Escape crossovers and introducing the Jeep-challening Bronco.

That this popular five-seat midsize crossover isn’t in line for a full redesign until model-year 2023 means it must rely on underskin engineering that’ll be nearly a decade old by then. That’s far from ideal as it competes with a slew of much younger five-seat midsize crossovers, such as the new-to-market Chevrolet Blazer, Honda Passport, and Volkswagen Atlas Sport Cross, not to mention redesigned editions of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru Outback.

Edge will fight back with plenty of passenger and cargo room, state-of-the-art safety features, and a sporty 335-horsepower ST model. How well its styling remains relevant until 2023 will be an issue, as will the deficiencies of its dated instrumentation. As the 2020 Explorer transitions to a more sophisticated rear-wheel-drive-based platform – and offers an ST model with 400 horsepower — will shoppers perceive the front-drive-based Edge as a has-been?

Finally, will shoppers willing to notch up in price gravitate to a more thoroughly rejuvenated version of the Edge in the form of the Lincoln Nautilus. Comelier and more luxurious but also more expensive than the Edge, the Nautilus replaces the Lincoln MKX but still shares the Ford’s platform and powertrains.

Note that driving impressions and other subjective conclusions in this review are based on road tests of the 2019 Edge. In areas where the ’20 might be different, we’ll reserve judgment.

Should you wait for the 2020 model or buy the 2019?

Buy the 2019. Its updates will see Edge through to its next full redesign and are sufficient to keep it in the game even if it doesn’t make the segment’s all-star team. The ’20 Edge could get a new color choice or two but won’t change enough to be worth the wait. Ford, however, is almost certain to raise the price on the ’20 model.

An additional trim level might be in the mix before the next full redesign; rumors suggest some within Ford are exploring a 375-horse RS model. But expect the ’20 Edge lineup to be a rerun of 2019’s. That means base SE, midgrade SEL, and luxury Titanium trims with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the ST model with a 335-horse twin-turbo V-6. The ST will remain all-wheel drive (AWD) only, the others will again offer a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Every ’20 Edge model will continue with Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of driver assists that include autonomous emergency braking that can automatically stop the crossover to mitigate a frontal collision.

By again fielding three vehicles, Ford will continue to deal from a position of strength in this crowded segment of roughly two dozen entries. The seven-passenger Explorer is the perennial midsize-SUV sales leader, while the Edge ranked eighth for 2018. The seven-seat Flex is a slow-selling cult entry that’ll be discontinued during 2020. (The 2020 Bronco will likely fall into the compact-SUV class). Edge sales slipped 6 percent in 2018, in a category up 2.8 percent, although it still ranked third among five-seater midsize crossovers, behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Outback.

Will the styling be different?

Ford might play with the color palette: for 2019 it added Baltic Sea Green and deleted Lightning Blue, for example. But it won’t alter Edge’s basic look. The ’20 will carry over the changes made for ’19, including subtle reshaping of the front and rear fasciae, hood, and liftgate. The grille was altered slightly, and bi-LED headlamps were introduced as standard across the line. The new liftgate got a chrome accent and new-look LED taillamps were added as standard.

The 2020 Edge ST will again supplant the other models’ bright horizontal grille bars with black mesh and a black mesh lower grille, and it’ll wear a unique rear fascia with rectangular instead of round dual-exhaust outlets. Wheel design and size will also differentiate models, with the ’20 Edge SE and SEL again featuring 18-inch alloys, the Titanium 19s, and the ST 20s. Options include 20s for the Titanium and for the ST, 21s with a choice of summer or all-season tires. Look for the Titanium Elite package to return with 20-inch wheels and body-color exterior accents trimmed in chrome.

Like the exterior, the ’20 Edge’s cabin will continue with the same basic look and layout that came with this crossover’s last redesign, for model-year 2015. It’s aged just well enough, though its angular forms and sedan-like feel might strike some as less than contemporary. Ford modernized the center console for 2019, replacing a conventional gearshift lever with a rotary dial and adding a toggle for the electric parking brake. For 2020, SE and SEL models will again come with a 4.2-inch central dashboard infotainment display. Expect an 8-inch touchscreen hosting imbedded navigation to return as part of option packages for the SEL, Titanium, and ST.

Unlikely to be altered for 2020 is a telltail of Edge’s advanced age: its main instrument cluster. Included in a popular option package for the SEL and standard on the Titanium and ST – and therefore present in most Edges — is a cluster dominated by an analog speedometer, with the tachometer, a redundant digital speed readout, and info for trip, audio, and other vehicle functions relegated to flanking 4.2-inch LCD panels. The screens are crowded with data, limit the number readouts that can be shown at one time, and force you to strain to find and read their mostly small type and squeezed-in graphics.

Also back will be solid but unremarkable interior materials, split roughly evenly between padded surfaces and hard plastic. The SEL will again upgrade from the SE with satin accents and sturdier cloth upholstery. Real metal accents should return as standard on Titanium and ST, along with leather upholstery – with the ST treated to sueded inserts, silver stitching, and embossed ST logos.

The ST will also return with specially bolstered front bucket seats, but all ’20 Edges will again count passenger room and comfort as a selling point. Rear-seat accommodations are especially praiseworthy; there’s even width enough for three friendly adults without too much awkward contact. At 39.2 cubic feet behind the 60/40 split rear seatbacks and 73.4 with them folded, cargo volume is at the top of the class. A hands-free power liftgate should again be standard for Titanium and optional for SEL and ST.

Any mechanical changes?

Very unlikely. Expect the 2020 Edge to continue the powertrain realignment established by the model-year-’19 refresh. The big change was discontinuation of the available 3.5-liter V-6, which made 280 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as the prime force in acceleration). At the same time, an eight-speed automatic replaced a six-speed automatic as Edge’s sole transmission.

For 2020, all but the Edge ST will continue with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder of 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Most direct rivals still offer a V-6, but this turbo four matches most of them for everyday performance. Aided by smart transmission calibration, it suffers only minimal turbo lag away from a stop and once underway shows admirable gutsiness for passing and merging if you’re liberal with the throttle.

The ’20 Edge ST will return with a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 from Ford’s EcoBoost engine family. With 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque, it’s among the more powerful engines in the class, although at 4,800 pounds, the Edge ST is about the heaviest five-seater in the segment. Still, the ST has noticeably stronger acceleration than the other Edges and despite launching with little verve, after a car length or so it moves out with authority and packs a sure punch for passing or merging.

Every AWD Edge will again get Ford’s SelectShift that gives the driver a Sport setting to sharpen throttle response and transmission calibration; on the ST, it also triggers a throater exhaust note. SelectShfit includes steering-wheel paddles to simulate manual gear changes, though it will override and automatically upshift to prevent overrevving.

At 8 inches (8.2 for the ST), ground clearance is about par for the segment, and like most rivals, Edge’s AWD system is intended primarily as a traction enhancer in snow or on gravelly surfaces. It normally operates in front-drive and shuffles power fore and aft automatically to maintain traction. It also acts as a dry-pavement handling aid, helping AWD Edges feel gripper through turns. The ’20 Edge should retain its admirable stability on long straights and in gentle curves, with the ST’s tauter suspension helping it feel even more planted. No Edge, however, will really feel nimble in quick changes of direction. And Ford would do well to rid the steering of its on-center numbness while finding a way to make transitions feel more naturally progressive

No complaints about ride quality: the ’20 Edge ought to continue to feel reassuringly of a piece over bumps and ruts. Even on 20- or 21-inch tires, with their minimal sidewalls, Edge manages a degree of absorbency and compliance few competitors equal.

Will fuel economy improve?

Unlikely, given carryover powertrains. The 2020 Edge’s EPA ratings ought to repeat those of 2019. Expect the SE, SEL, and Titanium to again rate 27/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 21/28/23 mpg with AWD. The 2020 Edge ST, with AWD standard, should return at 19/26/21 mpg.

Those ratings would leave the ’20 Edge roughly midpack for fuel efficiency among like-powered midsize crossovers. However, Ford recommends more expensive 91-octane premium gas for both engines. And it acknowledges that if you want the maximum horsepower and torque output from either engine, you should use 93 octane, as factory engineers did.

Will there be new features?

Doubtful, given the thorough update that was part of the model-year-’19 revamp. A new trim grade might mix and match features from elsewhere in the lineup, but overall, expect returning ’20 Edge models to be mostly reruns. That’s no knock; this is a well-equipped crossover.

Highlights include the Ford Co-Pilot360 suit of safety features as again standard on every 2020 Edge. It includes autonomous emergency braking that can stop the Edge automatically to mitigate a frontal collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian. Also included is blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, lane-maintaining automatic steering correction, automatic highbeam headlights, and a rearview camera with lens washer.

Look for the return of a more encompassing option called Co-Pilot360+. Available on all but the SE model and priced at a very reasonable $795 for 2019, this should add adaptive cruise control to maintain a set distance from traffic ahead, even in stop-and-go driving. It should also again contain a well-sorted system that gently applies steering assist to help keep in you centered in your lane (it can be switched off). Included as well would be evasive steering assist. If its sensors determine distance to a potential collision is too short for autonomous braking alone it can amplify the Edge’s response to steering inputs to steer more quickly around an obstacle. As a bonus, Co-Pilot360+ should again add imbedded navigation to the 8-inch dashboard touchscreen.

Every ’20 will again come with FordPass Connect, a 4G WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices, plus telematics for remote starting, locking, unlocking, and locating your parked Edge. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility should again be included on SEL, Titanium, and ST models as part of their standard Ford Sync3 infotainment interface. In our tests, Sync 3 responded flawlessly to spoken commands, but curiously, suffered latent reaction to steering-wheel-button or touchscreen inputs when we wanted to, say change a radio station.

Among other notable standard or optional features that’ll return for the 2020 Edge: hands-free parallel- and perpendicular parking assist into or out of a space; heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, and heated outboard rear seats; a panoramic moonroof; steering-linked headlamps; and a windshield de-icer.

Will 2020 prices be different?

They’ll almost certainly be higher, though Ford’s apt to temper any increase against the 2020 Edge’s need to compete with newer five-seat midsize crossovers. Estimated base prices here include the manufacturer’s destination fee, which was $995 on the ’19 Edge.

Estimated base price for the 2020 Edge SE is $31,440 with front-wheel drive and $34,435 with AWD. For the SEL, estimates are $34,535 and $36,530, respectively. Expect the ’20 Edge Titanium to be priced from around $39,995 with front-drive and from around $41,950 with AWD. Estimated base price for the 2020 Edge ST is $43,800.

When does it come out?

Expect a 2020 Ford Edge release date in the fall of 2019.

Best competitors

Chevrolet Blazer, Honda Passport, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner, Volkswagen Atlas Sport Cross

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]