Aging gracefully - but still aging.Ford was early to the party with its two-row, midsize Ford Edge. It came out before even the Great Recession, a time when sedan sales were as strong as ever and crossovers were still in the early stages of wooing the American buying public. In the intervening years, Ford's prescient crossover has proved successful in its efforts to win over shoppers. Now it faces far more competition than it ever dreamed of in the Aughts - while still riding on a platform not far removed from that of the inaugural model.

Indeed, age is the Achilles heel of the Edge. While many competitors in the past 3-5 years have either been thoroughly redesigned or are otherwise entirely new nameplates, the Edge is going into its sixth year of the current design. In car years, that's a lifetime.

You can see the age in the exterior styling - which is currently undergoing the subtle shift from handsome to dated - as well as the interior. Though Ford has done a commendable sprucing-up the Edge to keep it current, it's undeniably aging - especially when viewed in light of competition such as the Chevrolet Blazer, Toyota Venza, and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Performance. The ace up Ford's sleeve? Performance. On the pricey end of the lineup is the ST, which is a delightful but expensive melding of performance and practicality. It features a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 that doles out 335 horsepower and a stout 380 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic. If that sounds like too much power for a family hauler, it probably is. We say probably because we're sure there are some like us who feel that there is no such thing as too much power.

Some quick ST stats: all-wheel drive is standard. 0-60 mph in less than six seconds. 20-inch wheels are standard; 21s are available. A chassis sent to finishing school in order to cope with the copious power. The net result of all this is a crossover that has real sporting aspirations. Ford didn't just plaster the ST name on the liftgate; they delivered a well-rounded product that stops and turns as well as it accelerates.

Such a halo product is common among bonafide luxury crossovers, but mainstream models usually adhere to a more value-driven strategy. At $45,000, we doubt the ambitiously-priced ST will move many units off the lot, but we applaud the effort and respect the message it sends.

Lower trims make their case with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 250 horsepower. It gives up about two full seconds on the 0-60 mph run, which drops it to mid-pack among two-row midsize crossovers; faster options include the Honda Passport - which is closer to the ST's 0-60 mph time than the rest of the Edge lineup - and the Toyota Venza.

Speed aside, this turbo-four is nicely refined and has plenty of gumption around town. It guzzles fuel at 21 mpg city, 29 highway, and 24 combined, which isn't a stellar showing compared to some rivals. It also prefers premium fuel.

The Edge doesn't mind cornering, but only the ST savors apexes; the rest simply tolerate them. As you careen through the esses, the Edge comports itself well, mitigating body roll and feeling sufficiently planted. Bigger wheels can hurt the ride, but on 18-inchers, the Edge loafs serenely along.

Ford Edge

Huge new screen and the software to match. For 2021, Ford has made a vertically-oriented 12-inch touchscreen standard on all models, making the Edge a segment leader when it comes to screen size. Embedded in that screen is Ford's latest Sync 4 infotainment system, which is a fairly major step forward compared to its predecessor. It features new capabilities like screen-splitting, over-the-air updates, and wireless smartphone compatibility. Yes, all this is standard even on the cheapest Edge.

This major influx of tech is typically reserved for a major redesign or a mid-cycle refresh. Seeing it here as a lone update towards the end of a product's life goes to show how critical in-car tech is becoming to the car shopping experience. We imagine the big screen and its impressive computing power will drive more shoppers to consider the Edge who may have otherwise wrote it off.

The rest of the competition is still rocking screens ranging from 8-10 inches in size. Some offer wireless smartphone capability, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, but overall the new screen and Sync software puts the Ford at the front of the pack for touchscreen tech.

Pricey, but still a value. The Edge has more to offer than just a big touchscreen. On the base model, buyers get dual-zone climate control, wifi capability, 18-inch wheels, and a host of driver safety aids such as automatic emergency braking. Other than the cloth upholstery, manually-adjustable seats, and a urethane steering wheel, there isn't much to suggest the base Edge is the bottom feeder.

Other trims pile on the goodies. The SEL adds power heated seats, a leather-wrapped wheel, and keyless entry; the Titanium brings leather, Bang and Olufsen audio, and a hands-free liftgate; the ST-Line brings the style of the ST without its performance - or high price.

Unfortunately, all the models are on the upper end of the pricing scale. At around $32,500, the base model costs $2,000-$4,000 more than the Chevy Blazer and VW Atlas Cross Sport; it costs nearly $8,000 more than the bargain-priced Subaru Forester. The Passport and Venza are priced almost on the nose with the Edge. All that said, the new tech in the Edge makes it something of a value, even if much of the competition is cheaper.

It's a bit of a different story at the top of the lineup. By the time you reach the Titanium and ST trims, you're looking at shelling out between $40,000 and $45,000. To be fair, pretty much every player in this segment save the Forester tops out around here, and many don't even have the added performance capabilities of the Edge ST. Yet we can't help but wonder if that kind of coin is worth it, given that genuine luxury SUVs can be had for a similar price. If a couple grand stands between a Ford and a Mercedes of similar size, which would you rather have?

Final thoughts. The Edge is dulling - there's no doubt about that. But Ford has pulled out their sharpener and brought some bite back to their midsize blade by way of a massive new touchscreen.

Tech isn't a band-aid that can heal the wounds of time, though. Simply put, the Edge is aging - and fast. Word on the street is a replacement is in the works, likely due out in the next year or two. For now, we can look past the familiar sheet metal and the venerable interior thanks to the new touchscreen, which adds newfound value to the bottom end of the Edge lineup.

Check prices for the 2021 Ford Edge »