Why the 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD just won’t slip

The 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD on a track by the mountains.
Credit: Ford

I’m not going to mince words here: Many cars, and even trucks, are not exactly well suited for Minnesota weather. I’m a lifelong resident here and, for the last 10 years, I’ve been testing cars from every manufacturer (well, many of them anyway). Like a toddler sliding across a slippery kitchen floor, some of my tests have not gone well in the harsh Minnesota winter. Sometimes, what is known as “all-wheel drive” is more like “mostly gonna drive” on ice and snow.

That’s not true of the 2020 Ford Edge ST AWD. I know enough about how traction control works (a computer is constantly monitoring each tire and throttling back on the torque as needed). It’s one thing to know that empirically, and then another when you are driving with your own kids on an ice-packed road. 

For some strange reason, we had snow in mid-October here, it lingered for a bit, then warmed up again. Old Man Winter is cranky and unpredictable. I have now used my snowblower exactly four times since October and it’s not even mid-November yet. Normally, having an SUV with AWD is not that important this time of year.

In my tests, I tend to try new things in cars to see what happens. In this case, the “new thing” was in a parking lot just after the first or second snow. (Honestly, the winter weather tends to blend into one long season for me.) I punched it in an open area with fresh snow and ice and the interesting finding here is — the Edge ST just won’t slip. I tried. In other cars, especially so-called AWD sedans, you’re going to see a lot of fishtails and slips.

Now, it helps that press cars almost always come with really new tires, and some even have snow tires. If you combine an AWD car with brand new snow tires, you should not expect to slip. However, we’re talking about Minnesota here. The combination of fresh snow on top of ice usually trumps the combination of AWD and snow tires. That is especially true if you are actually trying to get the vehicle to fishtail around a curve or slide out on you when you park.

Once during my test in the parking lot, I even jerked the steering wheel suddenly — just like the good old days when I used to take my Monte Carlo over to a skating rink in high school and drive around and try to get it to spin in circles late at night. I don’t recommend doing this. In the Ford Edge, I didn’t actually drive on a skating rink, but I’m guessing the slippage would have been minimal. The tires are grippy and the traction control is making sure you don’t slip.

In everyday driving, I also tried punching it a bit on a side road and noticed the grip was just as impressive. When you’re trying to cause failure and have to give up and just go buy a Culver’s hamburger instead, something is working correctly. Next time I test out a Ford Edge, I’ll have more time to test on wintery roads — in my area, the highways were plowed so quickly and the melting started so soon I wasn’t able to test normal highway driving in winter. 

That should be a fun test eventually — with or without the hamburger.