Ford has introduced a new performance SUV with the Edge ST and now offers a driving school for those that have purchased this new SUV. More important than that the school is located in Park City, Utah and Soldier Hollow Nordic Center where the 2002 Winter Olympic biathlon took place.
When I first got the invitation to attend an event here in Utah for the new Edge ST, I immediately thought it would take place out at the Miller Sports Park, and how could I refuse a day on the track in any new vehicle. After some back and forth via email with Ford, I learned that it was much closer to home with the bulk of the teaching taking place at Soldier Hollow.
I figured that would be even easier, as it was only a 30 minute drive from Provo, maybe not a true track experience but a great opportunity to experience the new Edge SUV in action and on a closed course no less.
So, off I went mid-week to experience all the great options on the Performance version of the new Ford Edge and right here in Utah!
First up was a live demonstration of how the accident avoidance system works in the new Edge. They had us drive a 20 mph straight towards what I would have to classify as a fake car with metal under a large pillow-like covering.
We were to continue to in a straight line towards the obstacle letting the forward collision system do its thing! I found that it is not easy to have the confidence to drive straight at something and put all faith in the SUV, but it worked flawlessly the three times I attempted it, stopping the Edge before contacting the other car.
In the real world we would never drive straight at another vehicle just to see if the system works; there have been times in the many vehicles that we have driven over the years when we have experienced pre-collision warnings and braking that has helped us to avoid an accident and these systems continue to get better every day.
From there we went to a large parking lot where Ford had set up a skid pad testing ground. As we all know grip is the all-important factor when driving be it turning, accelerating or having to stop quickly. At any giving time there are only four very small points of contact with the road that keep the driver in control of the vehicle.
With this in mind, engineers have come up with a way to shift the weight of a vehicle to different wheels in the skid pad test so that this grip ratio can be manipulated to show how under and over steer will affect different driving environments.
This experience was designed to show how different dynamics and conditions affect these types of steering. It also would allow the driver to try and compensate for the under or over steer and get the vehicle back into the lane of travel.
We experience these conditions here in Utah more during winter driving conditions as the roads ice up and grip suddenly becomes a huge issue while we try to make our way through the snow and ice.
Being able to drive through a course where the instructor is completely in control of the grip was a great way to gain even more experience in correcting and maneuvering the skid pad car in the proper way.
After a great lunch at the Soldier Hollow Biathlon training center, we were divided into two groups — one headed for and Autocross adventure, with my group heading for a real Biathlon shooting experience.
It was really awesome to get to shoot the at the biathlon target with the guns that are used by the athletes in the competition. It was very telling how great of shape these athletes have to be in, as it would be very hard to come off a large cross-country ski course and have to lay prone on the ground, get your breathing under control and hit five targets with five shots.
I, for instance without the skiing involved, was only able to hit four of the five targets!
After everyone in our group got a chance to shoot at the targets, we were off to another large blacktop area where they had now created an autocross course. This type of course puts the driver and car through a timed series of tight turns and quick straight sections to get a real handle on how the Edge would perform.
Of course, there were penalties for contacting any of the orange cones that provided the layout of the course. These types of courses really are fun to engage in and can really show off a vehicle and how it can accelerate, brake and turn quickly.
The Edge did exceedingly well, I was very impressed with its handling abilities and how it could brake and corner as quickly as I felt comfortable with! We each got three turns on the course and I felt more comfortable with the Edge each time through!
It was a great opportunity to get some instruction and also the ability to put the new Edge ST through many different situations we would not normally get during a week out on city streets. This program is worth its weight in gold if you purchase a new Ford Edge ST, and more important it’s located right here in the beautiful mountains of Utah!