*Salt Lake City, Utah – I consider myself an avid traveler. I’ve made it my mission to see and experience our amazing world because there’s so much of it to see. I’ve driven in the increasing light of the sun’s rising in South Africa as towering giraffes encircled the vehicle as followed the same path, I’ve walked along the Great Wall of China haggled with merchants alongside Serena Williams in Beijing, I’ve conversed with Ghandi’s granddaughter in New Delhi, India while accompanying Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis as he retraced the steps the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr took as he sought to learn more about peaceful resistance, and more.
But every experience doesn’t have to be transcontinental or high profile to be epic. I learned that recently when I found myself – for the first time – in Salt Lake City, Utah as a guest of the Ford Motor Company.
I’m pretty easily excitable when it comes to boarding a plane and going anywhere, but Salt Lake City not necessarily having the reputation that could hold up to the many awe-inspiring places I’ve already been wouldn’t seem at face value to be worth a stir. For some reason, however, I was “stirred.” I had done my wiki search to see what made SLC unique (as each city, state, country etc is) and formulated a perception of unfettered natural beauty and serenity that had me chomping at the bit.
I was not disappointed.
As soon as the plane broke through the clouds to approach SLC airport, my breath was nearly taken away by the majesty of the mountain range surrounding the city. It seemingly went on and on, clothed in vivid fall plumage, instantly invoking the profound calm that I had anticipated. Then as I left the airport and actually traversed the city as we were driven to the reason I was there, I was even more entranced by the handiwork of nature. Being entrenched within a majestic circle of imposing natural beauty that is the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains of Utah reclaims from man any power or arrogance he ever thought he had and returns it to its natural owner … our creator.
But speaking of “the reason I was there,” why WAS I there?
As a writer, I was invited to Salt Lake City by Ford to experience the 2019 Ford Edge and its performance ST model. As part of what’s called a “drive program” I along with other invited writers from a cross section of media outlets from across the country were given the opportunity to participate in several different activities geared toward evoking a comprehensive, but unbiased review of the vehicles to share with those we influence. It’s common across the auto industry as it can serve as a great form of advertising, albeit it risky because participants are under no obligation to speak favorably of their experience.
Thus it’s up to the design team to put their best “wheel” forward and make an impression that won’t backfire … pun intended.
That said, before even checking into my hotel, I was taken to a location to meet up with the other writers, partnered up with one, then told to choose an Edge ST from a lot of several in various colors. We chose a tan one, hopped in, and off we went on a predetermined course (programmed navigation) through the winding roads of the city’s mountainous fall-kissed landscape. Our only instructions were to follow the course specifically designed to promote “experiencing” all the vehicle had to offer.
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Here’s what I found:
— the Edge ST has, well, edge (couldn’t resist). Against the backdrop of the mountains, it was stylish and rivaled the aesthetics of like vehicles in its class (name competitors). (list aesthetic features).
— the interior was stylish, with black leather accented by contrasting white stitching, and both the driver and passenger positions, though slightly short of plush, were appropriately comfortable.
— it was technologically sophisticated with all the instrumentation and gadgetry you’d expect from a vehicle of its type (list features). The controls were ergonomically easy to access without distracting from the actual driving and it didn’t take a degree in rocket science to operate the control panel.
— when traversing inclines, twists and turns, it had had sufficient get up and go and a firm handling (especially in sport mode).
All in all, the Edge ST prove to be a sound vehicle with a very respectable profile … but I still needed to DRIVE the car.
On that first day I was paired with a nice gentlemen who was very aware of the technical jargon associated with operating the vehicle, from which wheels were getting the power on certain types of terrain to the raw materials used to outfit the seats and dash. He was a great resource and covered a lot of “reviewer’s” ground as we vibed to light Jazz and bubblegum POP on the standard XM satellite radio. But, we all know your car can double as a sanctuary – or sanitarium – when you’re in it alone “doing you.” That’s why cars get named; you build a relationship with it based on your and its uniqueness combined.
I wasn’t able to establish that relationship in mixed company (during that first drive), but we – my next chosen vehicle and I – were certainly able to.
After a great night of reflecting on comparing notes about our paired experiences over dinner and cocktails (they responsibly kept the “spirited” socializing far from any interaction with the vehicles) we were given adequate time to turn in to cozy lodge-style rooms (so quiet you could hear a pin drop), shake off the day, the change in altitude – and the beverages – and meet back in the a.m. to interact with the vehicles on a more intimate level.
We had four choices of activities to geared toward exposing the various features the engineers painstakingly put into the two edge models:
– Edge ST Autocross
– Ford Co-pilot360 Tech Course
– Edge Tianium Elite Drive Experiences
– Additional Drive Time
I chose to experience the co-pilot 360, which gave me a hands on experience with all the amazing features the 2019 Edge has to offer (the video can be checked out here) and the additional drive time to take the vehicle out for a private spin … which is when my experience with the car got real and “we” bonded.
It was like a scene from set it off as I hopped in my chosen gold Edge, tossed all the soft jazz and respectable pop “out the window,” so to speak, and cranked up the old school hip hop and R&B. I … we … had an absolute blast. I was just about the only pop of color in the city, but I hopped on the interstate with mountain scapes, intermittent blue skies (a slightly drizzly day), rivers and literal rainbows outside my window and panoramic moonroof and the had the turn up of all turn ups … heck I thought I even saw a unicorn!
Ford messed around and partnered up with Bang & Olufsen to provide a premium stereo experience and being a music lover I took full advantage. From Snoop Dogg and Solange Knowles to New Edition to Ashford and Simpson, Serena and I (yep, I named her) took a spin to SLC’s picturesque Deer Creek State Park that left me in love with the Edge and all of its user friendly and technology-forward features.
I didn’t want to take it back. I had to, however, since I was to be transported to the airport shortly thereafter. Parting was such sweet sorrow.
You can check out the full range of features and specs here, if that’s what you’re into, but if you just want to know if it looks good, if it has a smooth ride and if it’s in step with how technology dependent we are today from a great stereo to park assist and having Alexa at our disposal, the 2019 Ford Edge/ST gets a resounding “yes, sir, yes ma’am, it’s worth it” from me!