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2021 Ford Edge ST Gains ‘New’ 7-Speed Automatic Transmission: Exclusive

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The eight-speed automatic transmission used in the Ford Edge ST has been the subject of some criticism since the model’s launch for the 2019 model year. Specifically, some have found the gearbox to deliver laggy performance, serving as a weak link in the midsize performance crossover. To that end, Ford Authority reported that The Blue Oval was intent on fixing the issue via a calibration (software) update. One year later, we exclusively reported that Ford decided against recalibrating the transmission, as the company felt that the eight-speed, as it existed back then, adequately served the needs and desires of Edge ST buyers. But now, Ford Authority has exclusively learned that the 2021 Ford Edge ST has gained a “new” seven-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Ford Edge ST vs. 2020 Ford Edge ST Gear Ratios
Gear Ratios 7-Speed SelectShift automatic with Start Stop 8-Speed SelectShift automatic with Start Stop
1st 4.48 4.48
2nd 2.87 3.15
3rd 1.84 2.87
4th 1.41 1.84
5th 1.0 1.41
6th 0.74 1.0
7th 0.62 0.74
8th N/A 0.62

We say “new” because the transmission for the 2021 Ford Edge actually remains physically the same as it was for the 2019 and 2020 model years. What had changed is the programming, with Ford eliminating the second gear from the existing eight-speed automatic – a move that might be a first for the industry.

“We’ve kept Edge ST’s performance while improving shift action based on customer feedback by deleting the shift from 2nd to 3rd gear,” Kelly Wysocki, SUV communications manager at Ford North America, told Ford Authority in a statement.

In other words, Ford altered the shift parameters of the transmission in such a way that the second gear is no longer part of the vehicle’s regular operation. The move essentially cuts out the second gear via software. To our knowledge, no automaker has ever performed that type of “modification” on a vehicle before.

This rather unconventional move seems to confirm the notion that the transmission in the Ford Edge ST, in its original state, wasn’t up to snuff for the performance crossover, which already had a pretty stellar dance partner in Ford’s excellent 2.7L EcoBoost V6. It also bolsters what Ed Krentz, chief functional officer at Ford Performance, told us about the importance of transmission software calibration at the Edge ST drive event we attended back in 2019: “When a transmission is adapted to a new [vehicle] application, we learn things, which sometimes forces us to get back to the drawing board and re-calibrate the software accordingly.”

In this case, it seems like Ford did indeed learn a thing or two about the eight-speed gearbox in the Edge ST, including how to bypass one of its gears via software. We imagine that this update has allowed Ford to improve the shift behavior in the ST without having to resort to a more costly hardware change, like a new transmission.

2021 Ford Edge ST.

In any event, Ford’s Oakville plant has already started to produce and ship the 2021 Ford Edge ST with the new software calibration that turns the eight-speed auto into a seven-speed unit, and the models are already on dealer lots. We’ll be driving one soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for our impressions, as well as the latest Ford Edge news, Ford Edge ST news, and obsessive Ford news coverage.

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Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. JimL

    So this gear is still in there but is just along for the ride, like that conjoined twin on the side of Nurse Gollum’s face on South Park?

    Reply
    1. Jmack

      Sounds like it. Strange way to go about it…

      Reply
    2. Ryan

      Not exactly since it’s an auto. As in, there isn’t a gear in there that will never get engaged in it’s life. Automatics just have a few sets of planetaries and fix/release different pieces of it with clutch packs. So there’s just 1 combination of clutches they aren’t using.

      Reply
  2. Njia

    Ford’s website still doesn’t have the 2021 Edge. Weird.

    Reply
  3. Chris

    That new 12 inch touchscreen in the center stack looks horrific. It over powers the entire cabin.

    Reply
    1. George

      Will the same software fix be done to the Lincoln Nautilus?

      Reply
  4. Mike

    Jeep did this 20 years ago with the 5 speed chrysler transmission. It skipped 2 going up and skipped third going down.

    A complete BS way of doing this but typical Ford.

    Why not put the 10 speed in there Ford?
    There aren’t many Edge STs built anyway, just take a one day production from the F150 and you supply the Edge for a year.
    Smh

    Reply
    1. commbubba19

      10 spd won’t fit. That transmission is for RWD vehicles only such as the Explorer, Mustang, Ranger, F150, etc.

      Reply
    2. Stalkbroker94

      Not the same thing. In this case, the engine’s computer cannot engage the eighth gear. In the case you mentioned, the gears were all there and could be engaged, even if it was only under certain conditions, such as upshifting or downshifting.
      You would know that if you read the article or even did the smallest bit of searching. You would also know why the 10-speed isn’t being utilized in this application. It’s a transverse mounted V6. This isn’t the same layout as anything else that uses the 2.7 with the 10-speed.
      The 2.3L Ecoboost, the 3.5L Ecoboost, the 5.0L V8, the 2.7L Ecoboost, and the 3.0L Ecoboost use the 10-speed. None of these in conjunction with the 10-speed are transverse mounted engines.
      Also, I looked up these figures due to the sheer amount of unwarranted arrogance dripping from your tone. Ford sold 18,000 examples of the Edge ST in 2019 and an additional 3,800 units by the first quarter of 2020. Yet another thing you would know if you did the smallest bit of searching. Keep shaking your head.

      Reply
  5. Jan

    It´s not the first time Ford doing this. Actually, Ford does the very same since a Year or so in the Focus ST with the “7”-speed-auto, which is physically an 8-speed skipping the second gear.

    Reply
  6. Dennis

    Wonder if this change will also apply to the Lincoln Nautilus with the 2.7L EcoBoost V6?

    Reply
  7. sjmsing

    So if it’s a software update with the same transmission then can we expect updates to the 2019 & 2020 to resolve this issue?

    Reply
  8. Richard Coe

    If the sensors are as bad as in all the other Edge transmissions that Ford is deaf about good luck! You will still have to pull the engine at great expense to change the water pump. Edge is a week and thoughtlessly designed piece of junk! I have one!

    Reply
    1. Stalkbroker94

      That says more about you than it does the vehicle. I sold a good few when I was in sales back in 2019. Not one of the customers mentioned any issues like that and they still keep in contact to this day due to the nature of the dealership. There are recalls, of course, but those are baked into the cake at this point when you buy a Ford.

      Reply
  9. commbubba19

    1: the 10spd is not designed for a FWD vehicle. Rumors have it the next edge will be RWD based but who knows. So stop complaining Ford isn’t using the 10spd. Your ignorance is blinding.
    2: Any major mechanical changes to a vehicle after production require re-certification for things such as EPA sign off, IIHS crash safety, etc. That would be extremely cost prohibitive for a vehicle this long in the tooth.
    3: This is a simple cost effective solution to a problem not really even present under most driving conditions and is similar to how the 10spd is programmed to skip gears under certain load / throttle demand situations.

    Reply

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