Unlike Holden, which never managed to engineer and build an SUV locally, Ford hit the ground running with the Ford Territory. It was a sales success for the brand, and built on the already impressive platform developed locally by Ford Australia's engineering team.
Despite Ford's local advantage – a large, locally built sedan and SUV – it wasn't enough to retain local manufacturing. As a result, the last Ford Territory and Falcon models rolled off the line in October 2016, marking the end of local manufacturing for the Australian arm.
With the Territory now dead, Ford needed an SUV to fill the gap. With a comprehensive SUV line-up that includes the pint-sized EcoSport, mid-sized Escape and large Everest, a large non-off-road SUV was still missing.
Ford confirmed earlier this year that the SUV to fill that gap would be the Ford Edge. But, there's a twist. We won't get a seven-seat version (like the one dedicated to the Chinese version), nor will it be called the Edge due to a trademark issue with Toyota.
In keeping with Ford's global SUV strategy, SUVs start with the letter 'E', and as a result the Ford Edge was renamed the Endura – just for Australia and New Zealand.
We had the chance to get behind the wheel of the US-specification Ford Edge Sport in Los Angeles recently, and we came away impressed with the package.
Ford's Edge strategy in the US includes the SE, SEL, Titanium and top-specification Sport. Pricing ranges from US$28,215 (AUD$37,300) for the SE to US$39,670 (AUD$52,400) for the top-specification Sport model tested here.
Australia's Endura model range and pricing are yet to be confirmed, but expected to start with the Trend at $49,990 (before on-road costs) and run through the Sport, Titanium and Titanium Plus, capping out at an expected $75,000 (plus on-road costs).
In person, the Edge strikes an imposing stance and looks fantastic in this top-specification Sport guise. It features big 20-inch alloy wheels, with our test car wearing an impressive set of optional 21-inch alloy wheels.
Sport models also collect piano black exterior highlights, plus dual stainless steel trapezoidal exhaust outlets. It really looks the part.
That trend continues inside the cabin, where you'll find an endless supply of features to justify the expected high price tag.
Some of these features include: dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch Sync3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated and cooled front row, heated second row, power tailgate, automatic windscreen wipers and bi-xenon headlights with automatic high beam, panoramic glass roof, daytime running lights, USB phone charging, leather interior, semi-automatic parking, heated steering wheel and remote start.
Ford's Sync3 infotainment system is second to none in this segment, and comes with the added bonus of external applications and smartphone connectivity. The 12-speaker sound system is very impressive, providing stacks of bass and plenty of treble. It has the ability to stream Bluetooth or auxiliary inputs and also comes with DAB+ digital radio.
If you're using the Edge for family duties, you'll love the eight cup holders, four 12V power outlets, two USB charge points, rear air vents and 240V power outlet capable of delivering 110W of power.
Up front, the cabin is very cavernous with a dashboard that offers storage at the top, a large glovebox and a positively mammoth centre console. The second row is equally as spacious, even with the driver's seat pushed all the way backwards. The second row is also very comfortable and can be reclined and slid forwards/backwards.
Featuring 60:40 split-folding, the second row also comes with ISOFIX anchorage points, plus a centre armrest with cup holders. And, as mentioned earlier, the second row is heated too.
The obvious omission from the package is a third row. While the Edge is sold in China with a third row that adds 70mm to the length of the car, the cargo capacity is impressive. It measures in at 602L of capacity (from floor to top of seats), while the Ford Territory offered 1153L from floor to ceiling. That figure dropped to below 600L when measured from boot floor to top of seats.
The Edge features a space-saver spare tyre, but offers storage around the edges of the tyre housing to store valuables that you want to keep out of sight.
For families, the Ford Edge gets a massive tick for storage, practicality and space. Sure, it's not a seven-seat vehicle, but it well and truly takes over from where the Territory finished.
The thing that excited us the most about the Ford Edge Sport was actually the engine.
Australia will get a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel that's likely to be mated to a new transmission and all-wheel drive only, but the vehicle we drove in the US came with the stonking 2.7-litre turbocharged petrol V6 EcoBoost engine.
Producing a healthy 235kW of power and 475Nm of torque, it's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, consuming 13.84 litres of fuel per 100km on the city cycle, and 9.8L/100km on the highway cycle with the vehicle weighing just under 2000kg.
This engine is an absolute ripper. It'll move from standstill to 60mph in just 5.6 seconds, meaning it would be a sub-6.0sec 0–100km/h proposition. And, on top of all that, it sounds damn good.
The permanent all-wheel-drive system is constantly apportioning torque to each of the four wheels, and also uses an electronic torque-vectoring system to help with mid-corner throttle applications.
An electrically assisted steering rack offers plenty of communication, while also being light enough for directional changes around the city.
What surprised us the most, though, was the ride. Despite sitting on 21-inch alloy wheels, the ride was excellent – even on shoddy Los Angeles roads.
We hit up some gravel and light off-roading and found the Edge just as happy off the beaten track. While the sub-200mm ground clearance is nothing to write home about, it'll cope with a light-duty gravel track.
Visibility out the front, sides and rear is excellent thanks to a big glasshouse and the added benefit of blind-spot monitoring. Parking is taken care of thanks to front and rear parking sensors, along with a 360-degree camera.
While the Edge won't tow 2700kg like the all-wheel-drive diesel Ford Territory used to, it will tow 2000kg with a braked trailer. It should fare well given the 2.0-litre diesel engine currently used in UK-specification Edge vehicles pumps out 450Nm of torque.
So we've established that the Ford Edge itself is an excellent car. It delivers space, features and practicality. Yes, we won't be getting the raspy 2.7-litre turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine, so we'll have to reserve judgement on the way it drives for when we have a spin locally, but we can say that the chassis it's wrapped into is great.
The Ford Endura is expected to land in Australia during 2018. We believe that the car Australia will get is likely to receive an update before it arrives here, given the current second-generation Edge has been on sale in the US since 2015.
What do you think of the Ford Endura/Edge? Will it do well in Australia? Should we get the EcoBoost V6 in Australia too?