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If you're looking for radical change, look elsewhere: the 2011 Ford Edge simply refines a winning family crossover with better power and fuel economy, and a more sophisticated, tech-forward interior.
We're giving the Edge a score of 8 here at FamilyCarGuide, for its spacious cabin, its strong safety performance, and for its improved fuel economy.
The Edge, you'll recall, became Ford's five-seat go-to crossover as sales of the trucky Explorer fell to earth. It was meant to bridge the gap in Ford's crossover lineup, but proved popular enough that today, Ford sells it alongside the smaller Escape and the Explorer, not to mention the seven-seat Flex. Among those, the Edge's mission is to be the most urbane crossover, while keeping families happy with room and features inside the smoothly contoured shape.
So long as you don't need a third-row seat, the Edge excels at trucking a family through its normal routines without a trace of truck-like feel. Since it doesn't cram a third-row seat into its cabin, the Edge spreads out plenty of head and leg room for the front bucket and rear bench seats. As in any crossover, three adults won't have lavish shoulder room if they're all sitting in the back seat, but three children won't rub elbows all the time--which translates directly into fewer fights over personal territory. In front, the Edge's dash is curved away nicely around the footwells, so adults will fit easily, though an optional sunroof carves a chunk out of the available head room. The cargo deck sits at a good height for loading packages, and the rear seat splits and folds down to open up an area large enough for a few flat-screen TVs, or a pet crate or two.
Safety is one of the strongest reasons to recommend the Edge. It's a Top Safety Pick according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and has an array of safety options that will entice the most tech-friendly shoppers. Those new features include blind-spot warning systems, adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, and some baked-in standard features like trailer sway control, which uses anti-lock sensors to improve stability when you're towing a weekend's worth of toys behind the car.