2011 Ford Edge: First Drive Review Page 3

August 22, 2010
2011 Ford Edge Sport

2011 Ford Edge Sport

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MyFordTouch instrument cluster screens shown on 2011 Ford Edge

MyFordTouch instrument cluster screens shown on 2011 Ford Edge

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MyFordTouch and much, much more

On all but base SE models, the central speedometer is flanked by twin displays that can be toggled to bring up a host of information--or very little--depending on the driver's preference.

Only Ford offers this virtual dashboard on so many models, and we think it's possibly the best dashboard offered on mass-market vehicles today. The associated MyFordTouch system will be fitted, Ford estimates, to 80 percent or more of 2011 Edge models.

It lets drivers operate not only the telephone, entertainment, and navigation systems using voice commands--Sync did that three years ago--but also the climate control. Which, if you think about it, make up the four areas with controls that make drivers take their hands off the wheel.

While the multiple options for making something happen in the car take explaining, we found MyFordTouch easy to use, especially once we stopped stabbing at the central touch screen and began using the thumb controllers on each face of the steering wheel to supplement our voice commands.

The array of voice commands and syntax has expanded from 100 Sync options to more than 10,000 today, and Ford has flattened the command structure somewhat. This means that drivers can tell the system to "play Elvis Costello" rather than having to specify "entertainment" or digital music first--though, oddly, it's still necessary to say "climate" to change temperature settings.

There are many more features to MyFordTouch than we could cover here. One is standard turn-by-turn navigation instructions (even without a nav system fitted) plus the ability to send routing instructions from Mapquest or Google Maps to the car through a paired device.

Beyond the mid-range SEL model which includes the electronics, Ford offers an Edge Limited package that's the most luxurious model you can order.

As well as the trendy Start-Stop button and proximity key, it replaces the Edge SEL's mock carbon-fiber trim surfaces with matte-finish vertical wood grain, definitely a more elegant look.

The Sony sound system, the high-end stereo option, is fitted behind a high-gloss black panel on the center stack that brings the Sony look even into some vehicle controls.

The climate controls and even the emergency flasher button are all touch-sensitive, a bit too much so in the case of the flashers, which the passenger turned on more than once reaching across to adjust something or other.

The Edge Sport includes most of the amenities from the Limited model with a few of its own, including the contrasting color seat inserts, a bodykit and blacked-out grille, those 22-inch wheels and tires, and of course the 3.7-liter engine and paddle shifts for the transmission.

The base 2011 Ford Edge starts at $27,995, and the 2011 Edge Sport starts at $36,995. No pricing has been announced for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, nor has its EPA mileage rating. Stay tuned for those.

Ford provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to test the new 2011 Edge.

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