About a year ago, Ford Authority attended a Ford ST SUV Experience event, a program that’s offered to those who buy the 2020 Ford Edge ST and 2020 Ford Explorer ST. There, we sat down with Ed Krentz, chief functional officer at Ford Performance, to ask about the somewhat-frustrating shifting delays in the Ford Edge ST transmission. Back then, Krentz hinted that a potential transmission recalibration software was on the table that could fix all that.
Yet here we are, almost a year later, and we haven’t heard anything about any updates to the gearbox of Ford’s hotted-up midsizer. Understandably, the whole COVID-19 situation has heavily impacted vehicle development operations, not to mention production, sales and financial performance. But any potential updates to the transmission would have taken place long before the coronavirus was even a thing. So we reached out to Ford to find out if a new transmission calibration was in the works. What we got was a solid “no.”
For those not familiar with the Ford Edge ST transmission issues, here’s a brief recap. The vehicle gets notable increases in power and torque over a regular Edge, along with significant improvement in handling and grip. However, the eight-speed automatic transmission – at times – doesn’t seem to want to follow along in the driving experience.
For instance, at wide open throttle, one would expect the gearbox to take the next gear, which the Edge ST sometimes doesn’t do, leaving the driver with a bit of a disconcerting feeling when pushing the crossover. The behavior also results in a lack of low-end torque during corner exits, since the EcoBoost V6 engine makes more power down low than up high. We also noticed an observable delay from the moment we floored the throttle from a standstill, to the moment the vehicle actually started taking off (that typically isn’t related to the turbo lag one might typically expect in a boosted engine). All in, we felt that a recalibration of the transmission’s software could help solve this.
But there will be “no update in current Ford Edge ST transmission calibration,” read an official Ford statement provided to Ford Authority.
It seems like Ford isn’t seeing this as much of an issue, despite engineers admitting that the shifting delays are quite noticeable. To that end, Krentz didn’t describe the qualities as being a negative, per se. Instead, he told us that the gearbox was configured in this fashion in order to leave some comfort in the Ford Edge ST.
“The customers that will buy these things don’t want a jaggy feel behind the wheel, but rather a smooth, composed ride,” he told us.
And perhaps he’s right. Before the COVID-19-related disruptions, Ford Edge sales were been doing quite. The midsize crossover sold 138,514 units in the U.S. during the 2019 calendar year, an increase of roughly 5,000 units over 2018. Of course, these statistics include every possible trim level and model, and don’t specify how the Edge ST is performing.
Sales Numbers - Midsize & Full-Size Mainstream Crossovers - 2019 - United States
|MODEL||YTD 19 / YTD 18||YTD 19||YTD 18||YTD 19 SHARE||YTD 18 SHARE|
|JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE||+8.03%||242,969||224,908||12%||12%|
|FORD POLICE INTERCEPTOR UTILITY||-44.58%||18,752||33,839||1%||2%|
|HYUNDAI SANTA FE||+8.83%||127,373||117,038||6%||6%|
The Ford Edge ST is rated at a very healthy 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque from the twin-turbocharged Ford 2.7L EcoBoost Nano V6. The power increase is very noticeable compared to the regular Ford Edge, which is powered by the turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 that develops a maximum of 250 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, over 100 pound-feet of torque less than the Edge ST.
Both models utilize an eight-speed automatic transmission, though the ST gets a transmission oil cooler to withstand the load. The Edge ST features standard all-wheel-drive, while the regular Edge comes standard with front-wheel-drive, and offers all-wheel-drive as an option.
At the end of the day, our assumption – and it is merely that – is that engineers played it safe as it relates to calibrating the shift logic related to the Ford Edge ST transmission, potentially to prioritize longevity over anything else. It that is, indeed, the case, then it’s really too bad – because the Edge ST is otherwise a very attractive and competent vehicle.