Ford offers driving experience to those who buy Edge ST, Explorer ST

Drive like a pro

Driving is supposed to be fun! Ford realizes that. Buying a vehicle is stressful and should come with some advantages. Ford also realizes that. That’s why they have a cool experience for anyone who buys a Sports Technologies (ST) version of one of their vehicles.

New for the 2019 model year is the ST trim of the Ford Edge; the Explorer ST debuts in the 2020 model year. Prior to this, the ST experience was only for Focus and Fiesta owners. Now SUV drivers get in on the fun and performance.

Full disclosure: Ford flew me out to Park City, Utah, to experience their Ford Performance Racing School firsthand. With beautiful mountains as a backdrop, I got the full adventure. It was so much fun! The fact that it is included in the cost of the purchase (minus airfare to Utah) is an added value.

During this experience, participants take the Edge and Explorer STs on various tracks, including a rally road course, to experience their agile handling. The Edge really performed well in my four runs on the rally course, of which I shaved seconds off my time each run, if I may brag.

The Edge ST has Ford’s new Ecoboost technology with a 2.7-liter V6 engine that makes 335 horsepower and 380 lbs.-ft. of torque. These aren’t numbers that blow your mind, but it does show that this SUV has an athletic side. There’s a tiny bit of a growl out of the rear exhaust. The ST-tuned suspension offers a comfortable ride but one that most enthusiasts should appreciate.

The eight-speed automatic transmission, with available paddle shifters, is tremendous. Push the sport button on the turn-dial transmission and you boost the vehicle’s performance. In Sport mode, the Edge ST is quite the show-off. It holds the gears in longer shifts, which was perfect when one was climbing the side of a gorgeous Utah mountain. The rev-matching of the sport transmission came in extra handy on the downshifts and during my spins on the rally course.

On looks, the Edge ST has several unique features. The front grille has wider openings on the mesh to allow for quicker cooling. The front fascia has a more aggressive look than the rest of the Edge trims. The dual exhausts in the back indicate exactly what the Edge ST stands for which is sportiness with an aggressive side. Inside there’s ST badging on the seats and the steering wheel as well as a Ford Performance emblem on the door sill.

This is clearly a different Edge than what you might be used to, and for 2019, the Edge ST has both the looks and the performance to rival others in this segment. The starting price of this special Edge is around $42,000 but again, that includes a one-day experience in Utah, driving some of the most scenic roads I’ve ever driven, and being exposed to some of the most professional drivers around.

You will experience the park-assist feature, which allows you to parallel park in tight spots practically autonomously. Additionally, you will sample the Pre-Collision Assist, where you have to put a lot of trust in today’s automotive technology: Drive the Edge ST up to 25 mph, let off the pedals and watch the technology take over and stop just inches from hitting an inflatable vehicle in front of it. There’s also the quick lane change experience where you see the all-wheel drive of the Edge ST grip the road as you make a very quick and agile lane change, then slam on the brakes while the Ford performance ABS brakes engage fully.

I left this experience a better driver. I also got to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes in this great country of ours.

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