2011 Ford Edge Page 1

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The 2011 Ford Edge doesn't bring radical change to America--at least not from the outside--but it's a beefier take on the five-seat crossover that gave Ford new life after the Explorer fell to earth.

And for the new model year, the 2011 Edge counters its bigger grille and tougher appearance with the first appearance of a new eco-friendlier engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's a part of the company's "EcoBoost" family of engines.

Provided you don't need a third-row seat, the 2011 Ford Edge is at last, at the leading edge of mid-size crossovers, with one of the best driver interfaces in the business.

(We're bringing you this preview with Ford's first official announcement and photos; a first drive of the 2011 Edge is coming this spring.)

Ford's calling this Edge a "refresh." On the market five years already, the Edge has been pretty thoroughly refurbished but Ford doesn't call it "all-new"--possibly, to keep all its new crossover converts in the fold. But all the Edge's powertrains are new, and the interior's graced with Ford's MyTouch system, which mimics the sensitive interface you'd find on an Apple iPhone.

Outside it's entirely familiar, but we're liking the new edition more than the old. Despite the close visual kinship to the first version, the 2011 Edge is easier to spot. The big grille goes deep in a Volkswagen way, so massive we doubt Bobby Flay would challenge it to any face-off. The silhouette is more of an echo of the original Edge, though the fenders are a bit more pronounced. It's made a name for itself with a smoothly sculpted shape, though, and mostly the Edge carries that sensibility over intact.

The interior makeover's way more "impactful," if you believe in that non-word. Vertically grained wood trim in these first photos gives the dash some heft, and like BMW, Ford's streamlined its controls for better graphic impact. A large LCD screen dominates the control stack and it houses Ford's MyTouch system, which lifts the iPhone interface neatly into the automotive realm. A delicate tap on the screen adjusts climate or audio controls--and instantly renders click-wheel systems like iDrive and COMAND and MMI hopelessly out of, er, touch. Steering wheel controls also cycle the LCD screens on the instrument panel and let drivers customize the information displayed.

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