2016 Ford Edge Review

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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2016 Ford Edge has everything you might want in a tech-focused, stylish crossover—as long as you don't require third-row seating or a luxury badge.

Ford has aimed to really diversify its lineup of utility vehicles over the past several years, and the 2016 Edge stands as a nice complement to the Escape, Explorer, and Flex. The Edge, as it stands after a full redesign this past year, is better than ever at pulling in those who don't need the three rows of the Explorer or Flex, and for those who want more sophistication and flair and fewer faux-rugged cues with their versatility, convenience, and high seating position.

The Edge, now in its second generation, is more of a global affair than it was before. Although it starts with the top-notch underpinnings of the current Ford Fusion sedan, the Edge looks outward to other markets, and has the refined cabin appointments and more robust lineup of engines to back those plans up.

Ford calls the new Edge more athletic, and whether you point to its styling or its performance, that’s no exaggeration. Altogether, it's a look that upgrades the Edge's SUV silhouette, pushing the design closer to a premium look without cutting into its gender-less appeal. The Edge has some great surfacing and details that wouldn't be out of place in a BMW; and the Edge Sport, with blacked-out details, optimizes the Edge's new athleticism, with some sport-wagon undertones and lower-body work. And on the inside, the Edge no longer requires excuses and qualifiers; the new model now has some of the best trims and materials in its class, and a dash shape that builds on some of Ford’s other models like the Focus and Escape.

With 6-speed automatic transmissions throughout the lineup, and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive, the Edge provides plenty of powertrain combinations to fit the tech-savvy and the traditionalists. The base engine for the Edge is now Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost; rehabbed last year with some new technology, including a twin-scroll turbocharger, it's good for 245 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque; it also has great responsiveness now, can be fitted with all-wheel drive, and is fine for towing 3,500 pounds. The 2.0T will be perfectly adequate for most needs, but for those who must have a V-6, the 280-hp, 3.5-liter engine has been carried over as a minor-cost option. But it's the Edge Sport, with its twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 2.7-liter V-6, that's the most intriguing. It makes 315 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, and it strong and confident, with an understated performance that works well with the entire package.

Across the lineup, there’s a muted sharpness to the driving experience; the Edge isn’t downright edgy in any drive respects, yet it’s precise and responsive. A new steering system really does give a precise, reassuring feel, tracking well straight-ahead, and taking a set into corners without fuss. 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—and for 2016 it adds adaptive steering, which should aid low-speed maneuverability while maintaining high-speed stability. Active noise cancellation actually leaves the Edge Sport the quieter one, among models, leaving you to hear the larger EcoBoost engine's off-cadence thrum.

In the absence of clever cargo-stowage tricks, the Edge feels very much like a vehicle designed more for people than gear. The seating position in front is rather high, yet it affords enough headroom above and offers a good view out over the hood. And in back, even with those front seats all the way back there’s enough legroom for long-legged adults. The only thing we would like to change about the Edge is its seating; both in front and in back, they're too short and flat. The basics of a great, versatile crossover wagon are all here, though, with small-item storage abundant and mostly well-designed, with a center-console pass-through and even a storage drawer to the left of the steering wheel.

The Edge has fared well in safety tests, with top-tier results in all but the IIHS small overlap frontal test. It has a special airbag mounted in the glovebox frame, to help protect passenger knees, and available rear-seat inflatable seat belts. Bluetooth and a rearview camera are standard across the board, while available safety features include LED headlamps, forward-collision warnings, parking assist with perpendicular parking now factored in, and rear-seat inflatable seat belts.

The 2016 Ford Edge manages to credibly span the range from affordable family wagon to premium crossover in a way that the previous-generation Edge did not—and in a way that few, if any, other mainstream-brand rivals do. It comes in SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport models, and our only caution points in the direction of pricing: If you want some of that great safety-tech, and some of the best tech features offered in the Edge, Ford pushes the bottom-line price way up. Many of the most desirable features in general—like the panoramic Vista Roof, a heated steering wheel, remote start, Active Park Assist, upgraded audio, and the inflatable belts—are reserved for the Titanium and Sport.

This year, Ford is subbing in a new Sync 3 infotainment system for much of the model lineup; with a true capacitive screen interface, streamlined menu system, and easier upgrades, we're anticipating that this will be a big step forward—especially in fully realizing the interior design of this new crossover.

Fuel economy ratings are good, but not as class-leading as you might guess given the EcoBoost badging. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-4 engine is the base engine on the Edge for 2016, and it packs a long list of improvements made last year, such as a new twin-scroll turbocharger and a redesigned cylinder head. This engine earns 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined in front-wheel-drive form, or 20/28/23 mpg with all-wheel drive, according to the EPA.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016
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