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Cutting Edge of luxury; Ford's SUV has bold good looks and an effortless, confident drive, discovers AIDAN RENNIE-JONES.

Byline: AIDAN RENNIE-JONES

FORD have never really had a proper competitive luxury SUV in the UK before. That is until now.

My first glimpse of the impressive new Ford Edge was when I arrived in the Scottish Borders in perfect sunlight.

There in front of me was an elegantly parked diagonal row of them - good looking and a very different offering from Ford.

Located in the same sector of the market as Volvo's giant XC90, the Edge nevertheless manages to exude a more compact and manageable personality.

On the outside, the Edge has a rugged, chunky look. Bold creases in the bodywork and an angular rear-end make it compact and well proportioned.

The black side skirts add a tough off-roader look while the wide, chromed radiator grille gives it a similar look to the American styled Ford Ranger pickup. If you opt for the Sport model, the grille is black along with the wheels. Team that with the orange paintwork and it transforms the car into a mean, masculine looking SUV.

Inside there are lots of lovely soft touch materials, leather and chrome, making the cabin feel very modern and upmarket.

The infotainment system is easy to use. A large screen is operated via touchscreen technology, so no fiddling with a dial in the centre console. The screen was clear to read.

On the dashboard is a central screen that also shows the sat nav, very useful so you don't take your eyes off the road.

The boot is capacious to say the least. Several full-sized suitcases would fit in there no problem and two large dogs would also be competely at home.

In the back, there's plenty of leg room for adults and lots of headroom too. There's also an enormous amount of width. Press the start button and the diesel engine is so quiet you wouldn't know it was running.

Once the gear selector on the six-speed automatic gearbox is clicked into drive, the Edge moves effortlessly away and whispers down the road. The Edge is also available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Our model was the Titanium with a 210ps, 2.0-litre diesel engine. It can achieve 0-60mph in 9.6 seconds, has a top speed of 131mph and can manage a very impressive 52.3mpg.

Out on the open road, the car felt very dynamic and handled superbly.

Throw it into a bend and it doesn't lean, pitch or wallow around but instead gives the driver full confidence that all four wheels are firmly planted to the road.

This makes it a different experience to other luxury SUV's. If describing a Range Rover, for example, you would waft along, gently. In the Edge you don't waft but drive. You can hear the engine slightly as you accelerate and It feels sporty and connected with the road.

Visibility all round was good, especially with the optional front camera helping you see out of tricky junctions, or for tight parking. A reversing camera comes as standard.

Engage the all-wheel-drive system, take it "soft-roading" and it copes excellently with the rough stuff.

Mud, rocks, wandering grouse and sheep came up against the Edge as it ploughed up the steep hills of the Scottish borders, and not once did it miss its footing.

Overall, the Edge is a dynamic SUV that's pleasing to drive. It's practical, with a large family in mind, solid in feel and competitively priced with a good amount of spec and technology. Not only that, it's a good looking car that has been well designed with a mud-plugging look that blends into the city background well.

Factfile: Model: Ford Edge Engine: Titanium TDCI 2.0-litre diesel Power: 210PS Top speed: 131mph 0-62mph: 9.6 seconds Average mpg: 52.3 CO2 emissions: 131g/km Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles Price: PS26,683 ARNOLD Clark Ford franchise manager Gary Murphy said: "The much-anticipated new Ford Edge looks set to take the SUV market by storm with its rugged good looks and desirable range of extras. Harness with the 2.0-litre diesel engine select the more powerful 208bhp for uncompromising performance.

Whichever you choose, expect 47 miles to the gallon. A wide, athletic stance on the road and a high ride height on 20in alloy wheels allows for superior visibility and stability."

CAPTION(S):

RUGGED The Ford Edge has bags of style and personality

n SURE-FOOTED SUV copes easily with the rough stuff

Z UPMARKET Cabin has been built with quality in mind

J CONNECTION The Edge hugs the road
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 29, 2016
Words:752
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