Silvio Calabi: The new Edge Sport is among Ford’s best
Sometimes a car isn’t what you thought it would be — it’s more luxurious and powerful, quieter and better equipped than expected, plus a lot more expensive. The old Ford Edge was a mid-pack, midsize, two-row crossover wagon on par with, oh, the Toyota Venza; likable enough but no big deal. This one, however, makes me think of an entirely different Toyota: a Lexus RX350. Ford redesigned and rebuilt the Edge so thoroughly for 2015 that they should have changed the looks even more, to underline its all-newness.
Yes, the styling is more creased, indented and, ahem, edgy than before, and the Edge has the now-standard LED light shows at the front and rear, but we hadn’t gone far before I had to pull over and grope around in the glovebox for the Monroney sticker. What’s going on here? It looks like an Edge, but ... oh, my. It costs nearly 50 grand. And look at this list of options — $5,690 worth, which explains all the new controls and instruments. Our Edge also happened to be an all-wheel-drive Sport model, with Ford’s hot 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine.
The first taste we had of this twin-turbo, no-lag, high-output Six was in May, in Ford’s also-all-new aluminum F-150 pickup truck, where it performed like an efficient V-8. Here it’s tuned for 315 horsepower and 350 pounds-feet of torque, yet thanks to active noise cancellation it’s almost inaudible. The motor makes this two-ton-plus Edge get up and dance to the tune of zero-to-60 MPH in less than six seconds and 24 mpg on the highway. The first is a sports-sedan number and the second is at least decent. Ford stayed with a six-speed automatic transmission when it re-sharpened the Edge, and this seems to be the car’s sole blunt spot; even with a sport mode and finger paddles on the steering wheel, downshifts don’t always come as promptly and smoothly as they should.
Aside from that, the new Edge drives much more confidently than before. Ford says a new, stiffer-but-lighter structure — shared with the Fusion sedan — and redesigned all-independent suspension cope better with rough pavement and reduce NVH (noise, vibration & harshness) and top-heaviness. The Edge is a serene commuter and — with EcoBoost power, the Sport suspension and the latest in stability control — an astonishing speed sled, although still no mad back-road barnstormer.
This new-found sophistication extends to the comfort and safety features too. Our well-set-up Edge had Equipment Group 401A, which includes voice-activated navigation, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warning and active lane-keeping (to nudge us firmly back into line), heated/cooled front seats and heated rear seats, a parallel-parking robot, rain-sensing wipers, a foot-operated power liftgate and a front-view camera with its own washer. A rearview camera and front and rear proximity sensors are standard on the Sport, along with lots of other toys, from 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and automatic grille shutters to one-touch starting, locking and unlocking, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, four power sockets and a 10-way power driver’s seat with three memory settings. For 2015 the Edge has grown almost four inches longer and a bit taller, so everyone benefits from more head and legroom, and there is another seven cubic feet of cargo space at the rear. If claustrophobia is still an issue, the Panoramic Vista Roof ($1,595) puts nearly four feet of glass overhead.
In a nod to reality, Ford has restored knobs and buttons to the Edge’s console so that the radio, climate control and seat heaters now can be operated without poking at the computer screen. The MyFord Touch infotainment system is still with us, but it’s no longer in charge. Nice.
This newly capable Edge loses ground to the posh Lexus RX only in a few places such as the fiddly wiper and turn-signal stalks and in interior design, but that’s a matter of personal taste. The Lexus, however, was designed as a luxury car from the get-go; with this Edge, Ford has done a stellar job of upgrading a plebeian vehicle to a higher standard. “The 2015 Ford Edge is a better vehicle by every measure,” trumpets the press release. You know what? It is.
- Confident handling
- Power and refinement
- Space and comfort
- Less-than-creamy downshifts
- Wiper and turn-signal stalks
Silvio Calabi reviews the latest from Detroit, Munich, Yokohama, Gothenburg, Crewe, Seoul and wherever else interesting cars are born. Silvio is a member of the International Motor Press Association whose automotive reviews date back to the Reagan administration. He is the former publisher of Speedway Illustrated magazine and an author. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.