Buy/Drive/Burn: Expensive Family CUVs for 2019

2019 Ford Edge ST, Image: Ford

Reading Matt Posky’s review of the new Edge ST got me thinking about CUVs of the expensive variety. Though Ford argues that the Edge ST is in a “white space” of its own because of the serious performance it achieves, I’m not so sure. I’m not so sure that outright performance makes that much of a difference in this segment.

Let’s put it to the people and find out if I’m wrong.

Ford Edge ST

Visually revised for the 2019 model year, the Edge’s top-spec ST trim is today’s offering. As the only way to get a V6 in the Edge, the ST features a 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 making 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and power shifts through a new eight-speed automatic. We’ve allowed for one option today: the $5,000 adaptive parking/cruise/camera and hot/cold seats package. That brings the total to $48,350. There will be no panoramic roof, no black wheels or big brakes. Matt finds the materials in the Edge to be top-notch, but build quality on the Edges your author has seen in the wild is questionable.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

The oldest design of the trio today, our budget allows for the middle trim in the series of seven offered by Jeep. In Overland trim, the most basic version of the Grand Cherokee stickers for $45,295 and drives the rear wheels. Jeep asks exactly $3,000 for the privilege of having four driven wheels, bringing our total to $48,295 — almost identical to the Edge. Heated and ventilated leather seating is standard, as is the 8.4-inch UConnect display. Equipped with Chrysler’s smooth and powerful 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, power figures reside at 295 horsepower and 260 lb-feet of torque. The Overland has a nice interior, but there’s perhaps a question about long-term trim fidelity.

Lexus RX350L

The 2019 model marks the second year of the L version of Lexus’ ever-popular RX model. That L stands for long-wheelbase, and means that for the first time ever, the RX has three rows of seats. Pipping the other two in our trio for seating capacity by two full humans, Lexus also pips them on pricing. The least expensive RX350L with front-drive is $47,710. Add two grand for the all-wheel drive example, and we’ll pay $49,710. Leather seats come standard, but heated seats cost extra, and so does any sort of hole in the roof — or map in the dash. Standard is the familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine, which uses an eight-speed automatic to send 290 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. One might assume there are always top-tier materials in a Lexus like this one, and one would be wrong on some occasions.

Which of these three CUVs warrants a Buy?

[Images: Ford, FCA, Toyota]

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