by: Chris Chase
The Ford Edge debuted in 2007 as one of the first of the brand’s cars to wear the chunky styling that would later be shared with the Taurus sedan and Flex crossover. Nearly ten years on, you can tell Ford feels it got things right the first time: here’s the second-generation Edge, which was new for 2015, and while some of its edges are indeed new, this design sports a profile similar to that of its predecessor.
That’s a good thing: we think the Edge looks better than ever, thanks to front and rear fascias that bear a strong resemblance to the handsome Fusion sedan. Call it a testament to Ford’s stylists that they’ve managed to keep the Edge looking fresh in the mid-size crossover segment, one of the industry’s most fast-paced and competitive.
With the 2015 redesign, Ford expanded the use of its 2.0L turbocharged “EcoBoost” four-cylinder engine in the Edge, offering it as the base powerplant in three of four trims. A 3.5L V6 is the option in the SE, SEL and Titanium models, while a 2.7L turbocharged V6 is exclusive to the range-topping Sport model.
Having forgotten about that update, we thought our Titanium-trim tester felt a little underpowered on the drive home from picking it up: the 2.0L’s 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque seem like respectable figures, but the Edge is no lightweight at its 1,850-kg curb weight, so a relatively small engine has to work hard to get up to speed if you’re in a hurry.
Much of that torque is available at low engine speeds, so while the Edge feels responsive enough in the slow lane, the 3.5L is a better fit in highway driving, where its added high-end power is more useful for getting around slower traffic.
No matter which engine you choose, it comes bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission; an eight-speed automatic would make better use of the 2.0L’s power band. Our tester also had the optional AWD system.
The 3.5L V6 is a $500 upgrade, that low cost a nod to the fact that Ford knows many buyers will prefer the larger engine’s power delivery. The 2.0L is meant to provide similar performance while using less fuel, and according to Natural Resources Canada’s estimates of 11.8/8.4 L/100 km (city/highway), it does: the V6’s ratings are 13.4/9.0. Our 2.0L-powered tester averaged 12.3 L/100 km in a mix of city and highway driving.
Notably, the Edge is one of the few mid-sized, five-seat crossovers that doesn’t offer a less-powerful, non-turbocharged four-cylinder in its base model, as many of its competitors — including the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, and Chevrolet Equinox — do.
If the Edge feels heavy (its curb weight is actually quite average for the class) that sensation also contributes to the car’s solid over-the-road feel. The suspension strikes a good balance between controlling body motion over rough pavement and isolating those inside from the worst of it.
Along with that well-planted driving feel comes handling just a touch sharper than most other cars in this class. That’s a good fit, but the steering is not: in a sports car, we’d praise this kind of immediate turn-in, but it makes the Edge feel jumpy and requires frequent course corrections in highway driving.
Edge’s 2015 redesign brought a new interior that thankfully did away with the touch-sensitive controls that dominated the centre stack following a 2011 refresh. Now there are hard buttons on the stack for most climate functions and basic sound system controls. The touchscreen provides access to the much-improved third-generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment setup, and includes redundant climate controls.
Driver and front passenger get comfortable seats and decent space, but an optional panoramic sunroof included in our tester steals a lot of headroom from rear seat riders. Another option — inflatable rear seatbelts — proved frustrating, with a unique buckle design that was reluctant to fasten for one friend who came along for a ride.
There are a number of nice touches in here, including loads of small-item storage in bins on top of the centre stack and behind it, along with the usual spots in front of the shifter and under the central armrest.
At the time of writing, Titanium models carry a $41,899 starting price and come standard with handy technology such as hands-free power tailgate, intelligent keyless entry, front park assist, back-up camera, and SYNC, plus niceties like leather seats, ambient lighting, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Our tester had more than $8,200 worth of options including heated rear seats and steering wheel, ventilated front seats, 180-degree front camera, and adaptive cruise control, as well as the previously-mentioned sunroof and inflatable rear seatbelts.
One feature conspicuous by its absence from the Edge’s option list is autonomous emergency braking, an item bundled with adaptive cruise control in some of the Edge’s competitors.
The result is a $50,000-plus Ford Edge that rings in $5,000 pricier than a similarly-equipped Hyundai Santa Fe (also powered by a 2.0L turbo engine), and about $4,000 more than a top-trim Kia Sorento, which gets a strong, smooth V6 and more interior space.
Ford’s upscale Lincoln brand offers the MKX, which shares the Edge’s basic underpinnings and comes standard with a 3.7L engine not offered in the Ford, for a little more than $46,000 to start, though it can be optioned to well over $60,000.
If the Edge is a bit expensive for its class, it mostly feels worthy of that extra cash, thanks to a well-finished interior and its nice driving feel. But as much as we like saving fuel, we’d skip a few of the upscale options in our test vehicle in favour of spending that $500 to get the V6 engine. It’s a better fit here, giving the Edge performance that’s in keeping with the vehicle’s overall feel and helping it stand up better against this car’s high-quality competition.
Ironically, the very first Edge came standard with a 3.5L V6. Add that to the list of things Ford got right the first time around.
by: Chris Chase