Review: 2018 Ford Edge Titanium

What’s this? A car review on Riverside Green? Well, once upon a time I wrote rental reviews for a site called “The Truth About Cars”. (Readers who are coming back to this piece from the year 2020 or afterwards: I’m referring to the site that is now known as Autoguide Jr. Presented By The Midwestern Automotive Motorjournalist Association In Conjunction With Kia..) Since I no longer write for TTAC, but I do continue to rent cars, it seemed reasonable to toss you maniacs a bit of red meat.

The Car: 2018 Ford Edge Titanium AWD, with 20,200 miles on it
The Price: Approximately $38,500. A 2019 Edge Titanium AWD would be $39,700.
The Drive: From Columbus, Ohio to Monticello Motor Club and back, then down to Cincinnati and back, for an approximate total of 1,400 miles.

Alright, let’s get to it. At the very least, you’ll want to hear about the deer in the middle of the freeway, right?

The last time I reviewed an Edge was eight years ago. At the time, I thought that it was more or less a perfect example of What Women Want From Today’s Automobile. That’s still the case, and since the distaff demographic is notoriously conservative when it comes to vehicle design, Ford has wisely declined to make any significant changes to the formula. Although my test vehicle was a second-generation product, it’s pretty hard to tell the differences between this and the original. The 2019 mid-cycle refresh introduces a new eight-speed transmission and a new fascia but virtually nobody will notice.

What does the Edge do well? To start with, it’s an extremely competent freeway cruiser, quiet as the grave and offering a strong combination of comfort and visibility even if the driver is shorter than average. Crosswind sensitivity is just about nil. Wet-weather behavior at speed is exemplary. Few vehicles this side of an S-Class Benz convey a feeling of security to the driver as well as this middle-class Ford. After twenty thousand rental miles, there was neither rattle nor hum to be heard. Not only was the structure still tight as a drum, there wasn’t any visible wear on the interior surfaces. Honda could learn quite a bit from the way the Edge holds up to abuse.

Rear seat room is somewhere between Camry and Avalon, while the cargo compartment offers generous dimensions in length and width but not height due to the aggressive slant of the rear window. Under no circumstances will you be putting a mountain bike or a double bass back there, unless you fold the rear seats. Much like the early Lexus RXes it so clearly imitates/emulates, the Edge is light on both the “sport” and the “utility” sides of the sport-utility equation. It’s a tall sedan with neighbor-acceptable styling, occupying precisely the same niche in 2018 that the Ford Granada did in 1975. Virtually any task you’d undertake with an Edge could be handled just as well by an Accord LX.

If you chose that Accord (or any of its market rivals), you’d give a few things up. The all-wheel-drive system of the Edge is remarkably competent and it’s very hard to produce misbehavior on slick surfaces. The Sony-branded stereo is pretty damned good — for 2019, the branding moves to Bang&Olufsen in belated recognition of the Edge’s bougie pretensions — and since the Edge itself is quiet, you can hear more of the details in your favorite music as a consequence. Then there’s the general quality of the dashboard, door cards, and seating, all of them an obvious step above what’s found in even the upmarket trim levels of a Camry or Sonata. It’s also worth noting that while the general feature set and functionality of MyFordTouch has been met or exceeded by the competition in the near-decade since its debut, Ford’s take on whole-system infotainment remains a cut above anything you can find in a Japanese-branded or GM automobile. The same is true for the digital dashboard; it ain’t changed much, but it didn’t need to.

Yet the Edge’s crowd-pleasing qualities come at a price. I mean that literally. This is a $38,000 automobile, and one that is not sharply discounted with any regularity. It takes some real build-and-price gymnastics to get a midsize sedan anywhere near it. The equivalent Accord to this is an EX-L, which lists for $29,970. And the cost differences don’t stop there. The Ontario-built Edge features a Cleveland engine — the “twin-scroll” two-liter turbo that cranks out 250 remarkably frisky horsepower but which also struggles to return more than 24 miles per gallon in mixed usage. An Accord 1.5T would give you between 36 and 39 driven over the same roads in the same fashion. The Edge is heavy, so you’ll be buying those expensive low-profile tires more often. The same goes for the brakes. When I do some back-of-the-envelope numbers, I come away with a difference of maybe $275 a month between this and a family sedan, mostly due to the additional payment but also factoring in some fuel-economy and running-cost differences. That’s five grand a year in pretax money. You could take your family on a half-decent vacation for that price premium.

Another price which is typically ignored by the Edge’s target market: dynamic competence. On the way back from Monticello, I had a deer leap out onto the dotted-white line between lanes, a few hundred feet ahead of my nose. I hit the ABS and started to dodge — but a vehicle this tall and tippy can’t be flicked around like an Accord Coupe. I missed the animal by a whisker, and that was with no shortage of head-toss drama in the cockpit. In a conventional sedan, it would have been far less dramatic. While we’re on the topic of this particular maneuver, I can’t say I cared much for the headlights on this thing; compared to the LED main beams on my Silverado, these are weak sauce, particularly when it’s raining.

It’s easy to see why the Edge is successful. It gives you 95% of a Lexus RX at 85% of the real-world transaction price. (Equipping an RX350 AWD to about Titanium levels returns an MSRP of $49,970. I can’t imagine you’d get much of a discount.) For families with aspirations beyond the Accord EX-L but a budget that won’t stretch to a premium-brand crossover, the suppository-shaped Ford is just the ticket. With that said, I couldn’t muster up even a tiny flickering of desire for the thing. I’d rather save the money and get a real car. Given how many times I’ve heard similar sentiments from female friends and/or dates regarding, say, my Porsche 911 or even my old Audi S5, there’s something truly illuminating about being on the other side of the auto-erotic coin for once in my life. It might not be socially acceptable to say it, but in the final analysis the Edge is a girl thing, and I just don’t understand.

33 Replies to “Review: 2018 Ford Edge Titanium”

  1. Mark

    This is my fleet car and I feel the same way about it. Boringly competent and what I think my wife would want to drive. The company is charging a premium moving forward on their order due to the cost of operation. You both must have come to the same back of the envelope calculation. My wife is thoroughly bored by it, and offended by the suggestion of purchasing it for her as it ages out of the fleet. She is holding onto her 2004 Aviator and waiting for a look at the new one. That may cost me and arm and both legs.

    Reply
  2. gtem

    Jack I’ve rented these 4 times in the last 2 years and I was reading along and nodding the whole time. The “95% of an RX350 at 85% of the price” certainly rings true, although in my mind I was imagining there being more cash on the hood of the Edge. In today’s CUV-obsessed world, I suppose not. My last Edge rental was to drive to a wedding in Charlotte NC from Indianapolis in August, I foolishly forgot to buy airfare in time, this was my 4th wedding I was attending this summer and I lost track.

    Anyhow, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a more relaxing car in the Avis fleet to pilot 8-9 hours. I was dealing with torrential downpours driving through the narrow and twisty part of I75 near the Daniel Boone forest, the Edge felt very competent and secure. Comfy seats, excellent ride, fantastic NVH control. The interior materials look and feel great for the class. I matched your observed 24mpg, although it’s worth noting that while I was babying it around the 465 loop as I was leaving Indy I was seeing a hair over 30mpg. I finally understood the “midsize two row crossover” space after my several Edge rentals. I used to look at the numbers and think that compact crossovers did all the same stuff with the same amount of interior and cargo space, for less money and more efficiently. The Edge is a useful upgrade in numerous ways over something like a CRV.

    Biggest minuses for me: they STILL haven’t gotten the panel gaps and trim alignment right on this thing, years into production. I had a different Edge Titanium rental in Sacramento that had some very serious issues: something in the front end was critically worn and rattling over uneven roads, the whole car behaved strangely on the road. There was also an incredibly annoying rattle emanating somewhere from the rear seat area. The first issue I’m willing to chalk up to rental abuse, maybe someone hopped a curb with it. The rattle issue however, seems to be a build/assembly issue judging by complaints on Edge owner forums.

    Reply
    • Mark

      For what it’s worth, both of my fleet issued Edges have been bullet proof. The first to around 80k miles at which point it was auctioned off. I was skeptical of the 2018 with the 2.0 turbo 4 cylinder in such a large car, but through the first 20k miles I like the mill better than I did the 3.5 V-6. Turbos sure have improved since a 1988 Daytona Shelby Z. Forums and rental cars tend to be negatively biased information sources. A potential positive is that these vehicles easily disappear into the sea of cars. Law enforcement seems completely uninterested in middle-aged men driving Ford Edges at anything less than ludicrous speed.

      Reply
      • gtem

        Mark I was definitely digging the turbo’s big slug of low end torque and hill-climbing abilities. There’s a bit of a delay in response however, I just learned to tune my driving to account for it. And when you really hammer on it, I’d say once you’re past mid-range the 2.0T kind of starts to fade, whereas the V6 would just be building more and more power towards redline.

        Reply
  3. Josh Howard

    The thing that I noticed most was lighting and trim. It’s terrible over time. The lights fills with moisture and the trim just doesn’t stay put. Then again, maybe all these Teslas running around re-oriented people’s opinions on trim and panel gaps? I wouldn’t pay that much for one. That said, these and a used Flex seem to go for really, really cheap on the used market after a few years. People forget about them. It’s a less controversial, more conservative Murano that can fit more stuff. I’d actually argue that these can haul more than an average mid-sizer as well. The Accord may have a great trunk, but the Altimas I’ve rented and owned always had those stupid gooseneck hinges which ruin a decent sized trunk.

    At any rate, it’s great to read this one. I always forget about the Edge but can shockingly see buying one. Guess I’m getting old.

    Reply
    • Daniel

      Moisture in lights must be a Ford thing these days. A 2013 Focus and 2014 Escape have passed through my household in the last few years, and both had issues with condensation.

      Reply
  4. RobB

    Great review and pretty much spot on except to the comparison to an Accord. Maybe an Avalon, but the rear hatch has loads of room. Yes one could get a roof rack or hitch mount, but having everything enclosed in the cabin is easier.

    I bought an Edge for my wife as her daily and long hauler for trips back to see family (7-9 hour drives). It’s nice and comfortable, but no way could I daily the thing. I didn’t see any advantage in buying the Titanium over the SEL. No one pays MSRP for a Ford. I I found a left-over ’16 in February of ’17 for $26k, $8k off MSRP. That is the way to buy these, or any Fords. I opted for the V6, even though the water pump design could be catastrophic. But I hear the turbo longevity isn’t stellar either. We used a ’10 Forester before for the same duties, and the Edge gets the same fuel economy with two more cylinders and lots more room, being a helluva lot quieter.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It is actually easier for me to put my son’s bike in the trunk of my Accord that it was to fit it under the seat line in the Edge.

      To me, an Avalon is a higher class of vehicle than the Edge… but that’s just me.

      Reply
  5. scotten

    I’ve never driven one of these (yet), but wonder what the addition of the V6 EcoBoost would do (in the Sport trim)? Simply make it somewhat faster without really adding much more actual sport?

    Reply
  6. John C.

    As far as the Edge, I would probably prefer a hatchback Regal, but admittedly it would probably anoy the ladies and they would think the extra money spent on the Edge well spent. As they would the even more needed for the RX350.

    I bet your old friends at TTAC were excited at your imagining of the site’s future. Tricking Kia into cashing out a hollow shell, heady stuff.

    Reply
  7. SixspeedSi

    Spot on, Jack!

    Echoing what you and others have said, I’ve enjoyed my time in the Edge because of its level of comfort and serenity. Having driven all three motors, the 2.0 would likely be my choice. The 3.5 is fine but requires more work to motivate this heavy vehicle. The 2.7t feels quicker, but not fast. I wasn’t impressed and laugh at the thought they had the balls to put an ST badge on the refresh and tried to get PR to sell it.

    Recently, I’ve been shopping with my father to get a retirement travel vehicle. Something like this crossed my mind as it just takes on the miles with ease. However, there is something with the looks that just doesn’t sit well with me. It’s just a boring, odd-looking suv. Give me a Grand Cherokee. I am curious if you’ve had any time in the new Accord Touring, as that is our current top choice.

    Reply
    • dejal

      Do you mean the severe slope of the back hatch? I’d rather it more straight up for larger things to haul. With this, you have a usable tub that ends where the glass starts. Anything tall has to be able to be shoved in past the hinge.

      Other than that, I do like it. I just like more U in SUV.

      Reply
    • Fred Lee

      I’m not Jack and I don’t have an Accord Touring, but see my comment below about my Accord EX-L Hybrid. The Touring’s additional features didn’t warrant the $4K price bump for me, though I’m intrigued about the ‘adaptive shock absorbers’.

      My Accord is, so far, fantastic on the highway and around town. It’s not fast but is peppy enough and on the highway it’s a comfortable, quiet, efficient cruiser. I don’t have enough miles on it to have any thoughts about long-term comfort though.

      Reply
      • SixspeedSi

        Good to know, thanks for replying. Yours is a 1.5 I am assuming? He currently has a 16 Accord EX-L lease, so it’s boiling down to keeping that or upgrading to a Touring. Your statements currently echo how he feels about his current Accord, although I think the new one is a little more refined.

        EX-L would be fine, but he really wants ventilated seats for road trips. Whether that’s worth the extra money, I’m not sure.

        Reply
        • Fred Lee

          We got the hybrid which has a 2.0 non-turbo with electric motor assist. I did test-drive a 1.5t EX-L which felt quite nice. Again definitely not fast, but fast enough. Were it just my car I’d have likely gone with that engine, but my girlfriend values the additional mileage more than I and will be the primary driver.

          I did drive a Camry. For whatever reason it did not feel as polished as the Accord. The drivetrain seemed to work harder, or at least made more noises doing it. Perhaps not as much sound-deadening material. I also think the new Accord looks very nice. It’s not a hatchback but it sure looks like an Audi A7 or BMW GC.

          And yes, I wish there were cooled seats on the EX-L. They are less of a necessity than heated in my opinion, but I appreciate them on my other vehicles.

          Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I’ve driven the new car in 6 speed Sport 2.0T form but not touring. I don’t see it as a major advance over the previous generation and the mandatory expense of a turbo concerns me. Keep the 2016.

          Reply
        • Daniel J

          I couldn’t get over how at 6’2 I couldn’t get the seat back far enough in the new Accord so that my knee wasn’t jammed into the dash. That and the 2.0t with it’s larger wheels seemed to chatter my teeth over potholes. That engine is strong though.

          Reply
    • JustPassinThru

      They’re just trying to bask in his rep – which is considerable, in some quarters.

      Now…instead of trying the patience of us maniacs…maybe you should blow some head gaskets over at that other site, and open an auto blog the way you intended when you offered to buy.

      Call it “The Baruth About Cars.” Watch their heads explode.

      Conversely…there’s a guy in Eugene, who put together ANOTHER nuisance site he’s tried to sell back to TTAC…maybe you could buy THAT one, just for the pleasure of wiping all his drivel and replacing it?

      Reply
        • Tom KlockauTom Klockau

          Fifty K huh? *Dr. Evil laughter* I remember a time or two someone ticked him off (which takes nothing-literally nothing, by the way) and he went off on a tangent on how well-to-do he was. Whole blocks of seething paragraphs materialized out of the ether. Then vanished the next morning. Which is par for the course over there.

          It was amusing.

          Reply
          • John C.

            You think about how much work went into all of that content, much of which really is excellent, and 50k seems like PN selling himself short. He is a touchy guy, I wonder how he has got JPC, Shafer, and those younger guys to stick with them all these years. The cars of a lifetime thing on the weekends is probably the best thing he has going now, the QOTD and wordless outtakes are perhaps overly clickbait, and place too much on his commenters, the few he has not chased off.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Well you have to judge it based on the ad revenue it brings in. Right now I dont see how you could monetize more than $500 a month from it. After even the most reasonable hosting and tech expenses that’s $3k a year. So it’s worth nine grand not fifty. IMO.

          • Tom KlockauTom Klockau

            I think the reason he’s so surly is he started the site out of some misguided attempt that he’d be able to retire on the money it generated from ads. From what I remember during my spell there, $500/mo. is optimistic. Unless that’s changed over the past 4-5 years.

            At any rate, you should be doing it because you enjoy it, not to generate $$$. Because you’re not going to get rich off of it. The writing is the reward. It is for me.

  8. Fred Lee

    I just bought an Accord EX-L (Hybrid, about $31K OTD). I’ll confess that I looked only briefly at the edge but for me the price and mileage kills the deal. In a world where full-sized (well, half-ton) pickups can regularly exceed 20MPG I cannot fathom paying $40K for a mini-CUV that gets mid-20s.

    Of course I’m still in the honeymoon phase of the Accord, but to my eyes it feels every bit the luxury car that my well-equipped BMW 428i GC was, not to mention nearly the same size/capability, close to the same power/weight (though the performance numbers don’t quite reflect that), and about half the price. Perhaps it’s just been a long time since I’ve shopped this segment, but I’m astounded by what one can get for $30K.

    Frankly it makes it a tough sell to look at a $40K vehicle unless it provides some very compelling functionality, and AWD isn’t sufficiently compelling to me.

    Reply
  9. Tyler

    Re: the appeal of this vehicle to ladies. The Edge is not a mom car IME, being some combination of “too expensive” and “not big enough”. And it seems to draw those who either aren’t moms, or are willing to pay more and/or sacrifice some practicality to stake a claim to their non-mom persona. It’s an empty-nester-mobile in my neck of the woods.

    On the topic of family vehicles that kind of aren’t … Jack, how would you compare the Edge to the Grand Cherokee?

    Reply
  10. Paul M.

    Most women I know prefer a Lexus RX or Audi A5. They won’t be caught dead in a Ford. Here in Atlanta no one in their sane mind compares how a Lexus dealer treats you as a customer to how a good old boy network of Ford dealers treat you. And please let’s not compare Lexus reliability to a Ford. Lexus all day every day and then some. I wouldn’t buy this piece of old junk for half the price of a Lexus RX.

    Reply

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