2011 Ford Edge: First Drive Review

August 22, 2010

As we previewed last Friday with a Madlibs-inspired snippet of edited road test, our driving impressions of the 2011 Ford Edge can now be released.

The 2011 Ford Edge five-seat crossover was launched in 2007 and has now sold more than 400,000 units. This is its first major update, and it is not only restyled but offers a new interior, many electronic and driver-control enhancements, and a completely new interior.

A sleeker blocky shape

The 2011 Ford Edge is considerably sleeker from the front and front-three-quarter view than its predecessor. When that first 2007 Edge was launched, Ford was spreading its corporate grille--with three chrome bars--across all its passenger vehicles.

The 2011 update pulls off the difficult trick of making the front end look lower and more streamlined by making the grille deeper but sweeping back the front light units, which are smaller.

Ford engineers also improved the Edge's aerodynamics, dropping the drag coefficient from 0.385 to 0.363. Their many tricks included cutting the size of the openings where air enters the engine compartment by 40 percent, but directing the underhood airflow better.

Somehow it all works. We can say conclusively that while we were lukewarm on the overall profile of the first Edge, we like this one.

Inside, the dashboard, instrument cluster, center stack, and console have all been redesigned. The plastics are nicer, most of them using soft-touch materials, and their shapes are less blocky.

The Edge Sport model has blacked-out grille inserts, a body kit, and other subtle visual cues, along with grey inserts and contrasting stitching on the seats--like the Mustang, as Ford points out.

Stepping smartly away from stop

We drove several 2011 Ford Edge models through the rolling country around Nashville, but not the one we were waiting for: the Edge with EcoBoost, powered by a direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter four that puts out as much power as a V-6 with gas mileage at least 10 percent better.

That Edge will be shown at the end of the year, after the engine debuts in the 2011 Ford Explorer, and will go on sale early next year.

Instead, we mostly drove the standard 285-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, which puts out 20 more horses than it did last year. This engine is mated to Ford's six-speed automatic, giving 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, though those numbers fall to 18 and 26 mpg when all-wheel-drive is specified (it adds roughly 175 pounds).

Specified with the trailer towing package, the 2011 Edge will haul up to 3500 pounds.

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