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The Ford Edge has been one of the automaker's smartest SUV moves. Introduced in 2006 to shore up ute sales as the Explorer nameplate sagged, the Edge became a sales success in its own right. Now it regularly sells about a hundred thousand vehicles a year, mostly to people who don't care a bit for squared-off ruggedry and the off-road sensibility of other Ford sport-utilities.
It's time for a new Edge, and Ford showed a concept at last year's Los Angeles auto show that is now translated to the real world without much changed to its good looks. There's plenty of change under the hood, however, and there's a more global outlook for the Edge as well. It will be built off Ford's global C/D platform--the one that underpins The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2013, the Ford Fusion--and will be sold in other world markets, with right-hand-drive and long-wheelbase versions in the works for them.
Here in the U.S., the Edge will show up wearing the smart new look that was sketched out in concept form, with all its recombinant-SUV-DNA cues intact. The styling cues lift some of those found on the Fusion; the shoulder line would feel at home on a BMW, the six-sided grille trades influences with the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the C-pillar is straight from the Lexus RX school of even tempers. It's a look that upgrades the Edge's SUV silhouette, pushing the design closer to a premium look without cutting into its genderless appeal.
Inside, the Edge wears better interior finishes, and the dash shape itself has a close kinship with the Korean sport-utes, especially in the vent shapes and brightwork that bracket the dash and frame the central touchscreen. It promises to be a more functional place, too: the former capacitive-touch bars for volume and fan speed have been axed, with knobs and buttons making a welcome return to the center console.
Ford has composed the new Edge's lineup from its extensive array of four- and six-cylinders, both new and familiar. Base Edge crossovers get a new 2.0-liter four with a new twin-scroll turbocharger--it's a heavily revised version of its predecessor, with the twin-scroll turbo providing boost earlier in the rev range. With it, the Edge improves upon the thin low-end torque of its previous turbo four, which could not be rated for towing, nor equipped with the extra weight of all-wheel drive. The new one is offered with an all-wheel-drive option, and with a towing package rated at 3,500 pounds. Ford estimates its output at 245 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.
Of the two six-cylinders to come, the more intriguing one is the twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 2.7-liter V-6 that will be standard in the Edge Sport. It's a new design already promised for the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup, where it's been pegged at 320 horsepower. In the Edge, Ford says it will put out more than 300 horsepower, and will sport active noise cancellation. For those who don't want turbocharging--or direct injection--Ford will offer its normally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, making 265 horsepower.
On any Edge, a six-speed automatic is standard, as are paddle shifters, and normal and and sport driving modes. Sport mode can also be accessed at the flick of a paddle; it persists for up to 30 seconds before reverting to Normal, unless Sport is selected with the shift lever. All-wheel drive is an option, and Ford says it can move all its available torque to the front or rear wheels, though that doesn't account for driveline losses.Fuel economy remains unstated, but engineers say the goal is to remain a fuel-economy leader. Vague enough for you? The current turbo-four Edge is EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway. The new turbo four will use stop/start to boost gas mileage, and some Edge crossovers will feature active grille shutters for smoother aero and better efficiency.
Underneath the new Edge, a fully independent suspension takes the place of the former twist-beam rear end. In front it's control arms, in back it's composed of multiple links. The Sport model gets its own damper and spring rates, as well as rear monotube dampers, and standard 21-inch wheels, with 20s as an option.
Edge Sport and Titanium models adopt a new steering system that reduces the amount of wheel input needed at lower speeds. The new Ford system uses a wheel-mounted geared actuator that measures steering-wheel angle, and either boosts or subtracts some steering angle. At lower speeds it has the effect of removing an entire wheel turn from the Edge's total steering range; at higher speeds, the assistance drops off, essentially leaving the steering in its fixed-ratio setup. Ford says the net result is an easier, more more engaging driving experience.
Comfort and quality get some overdue attention in the new Edge, which has a stronger, longer body. It now rides on the Fusion's wheelbase of 112.2 inches (up 1 inch) and is 188.1 inches long, up 3.9 inches.There's still no third-row seat, but there's more cargo space--up to 39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat (up 7 cu ft), 73.4 behind the front seat (up 4.5 cu ft). Ford claims more legroom in both rows. Small-item storage has grown too, with a covered bin that hides the USB ports and power point; a pass-through under the center console; storage to the left of the steering wheel; and bigger door pockets.
The Edge has fared well in safety tests, and this year it adds a new airbag mounted in the glovebox frame, to better protect passenger knees. Bluetooth is standard across the board, while a rearview camera is standard on most models. Available safety features include LED headlamps, forward-collision warnings, parking assist with perpendicular parking now factored in, and rear-seat inflatable seat belts. A new front- and rear-camera system and parking sensors should make this the easiest Edge to park, ever.
Other features include a standard 4-inch LCD screen with hard buttons to control audio functions; the upgrade to Ford's MyFord Touch system includes an 8-inch LCD touchscreen and LCD gauges. A handsfree liftgate and heated and cooled seats are on the menu as well, at the new Titanium trim level.
The 2015 Ford Edge goes on sale very early in 2015.
- Smart new sheetmetal
- Swoopy new cabin
- More cameras, more better
- Intriguing engine options
- Stand-alone Sport model
- Will fuel economy finally measure up?
- No sliding second-row seat
- Pricing yet to come