EDGE ST: Tires: P245/40R21; Wheelbase: 112.2 inches; Length: 188.8 inches; Tow capacity: 3,500 pounds; Weight: 4,477 pounds; Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons; City: 19 mpg; Highway: 26 mpg; Base price: $43,350; Website: www.ford.com.

The midsize crossover segment is packed with tough rivals. Take the solid Toyota Highlander, Nissan Murano and Chevy Equinox, to name a few. Standing its ground among the worthy challengers is the Edge, which is one alluring five-passenger ride. To make it even more tempting, Ford has introduced Edge ST, the first utility from Ford Performance.

That, of course, means more power in the Edge than even before. A 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine blasts off 335 horsepower @ 5500 rpm and 380 pounds-feet of torque @ 3000 rpm. EcoBoost is essentially twin turbochargers and a smaller-displacement engine working in tandem with gasoline direct injection to produce a powerful but fuel-efficient engine. Coupled to the power train is an 8-speed automatic gearbox with steering-wheel paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is standard in the ST trim. Guiding the sprightly standard all-wheel drive SUV is an electric power-assist steering while the specially tuned suspension is handled up front by a MacPherson strut and an integral-link with coil springs in the rear.

Conveying a revamped, brawny appearance and, understandably so, is a black wide mesh grille with LED signature headlights, body-color door handles and dual exhaust tips. Take a seat behind the stout steering wheel and you find yourself staring at a speedometer flanked by two LCD screens. ST badging on the steering wheel and seatbacks (as well as on exterior) is an instant giveaway that this is a performance-oriented ride. Sync 3, which accesses audio, telephone, navigation controls via a voice command, 8-inch touchscreen tap or button click, is simple to use. The redesigned center console features an all-new rotary gear shift dial. Other amenities at no cost are dual auto a/c, 10-way power front seats, 60/40 easy-fold rear bench, overhead sunglass holder and push-button start.

The standard Ford Co-Pilot 360 bundles together driver-assist safety features such as blind spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, pre-collision and lane-keep aid with auto emergency brake, auto high beams and rearview camera. Also included are dual front and side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic stability and traction control, front and rear three-point seat belts, tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.

As noted, the midsize crossovers are battling hard in a crowded field. But this Ford with its liveliness, thanks to a robust engine, sharp looks, fun-to-drive character and roominess has an ‘Edge’ over its competition. With performance, to boot!

Brandon Ford is located at 9090 E Adamo Dr., Tampa, FL 33619. See full inventory at www.brandonford.com.