Not everyone is cut out to be an athlete, but a pair of running shoes and a snazzy track jacket can at least help you look the part. We bring this up because that's essentially the gist behind the relatively new ST-Line trim level for the Ford Edge.
The Edge's latest model expansion is hardly a surprise. Although this generation of Edge dates back to the 2015 model year, Ford's mid-size two-row SUV found more than 85,000 buyers even in last year's depressed market. A performance-oriented ST model was added for 2019, with the latter version accounting for nearly 13 percent of sales in its first two years of production, according to Ford. The ST-Line is a natural extension, offering most of the ST's athletic looks but none of its performance enhancers. It joined the mix for 2020, and the trim has since spread to the larger, three-row Explorer.
Given the number of ST models on the road, it's not easy to distinguish the ST-Line—which is the point. Like its sportier sibling, the ST-Line ditches chrome accents for a black honeycomb grille and other darkened exterior bits, as well as body-color bumpers and black 20-inch wheels shod with all-season tires. Notably absent are the ST's optional 21-inchers with summer tires, trapezoidal exhaust outlets, and prominent red ST emblems front and rear. But the effect is the same, bringing some welcome visual zest to an otherwise blocky vehicle.
Unlike the ST with its 335-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6—the only six-cylinder Edge these days—the ST-Line employs the regular model's 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four mated to an unobtrusive eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive initially was a $1995 option, but it's been made standard across the Edge lineup for 2022. Our 2021 model-year test car made do with front-wheel drive and featured a panoramic sunroof and an active-safety package with adaptive cruise control and evasive steering assist, raising its as-tested price to a reasonable $42,725. The 2022 ST-Line's base price is now $42,790, which equates to a $6100 premium over the starter SE model yet a $2700 discount versus the full ST.
Prospective buyers seeking a more energetic Ford Edge should still look to the full ST model, as the ST-Line's black accents don't enhance this aging crossover's uninspired driving experience. Nor does a fancy touchscreen refine its cabin to the levels found in newer rivals such as the redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. But the ST-Line treatment does make for an attractive game of dress-up for those who value style over performance.