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Like a Hollywood Starlet: Ford's Darling Edge

By Frank A. Aukofer, August 2nd, 2014

When you're beautiful -- but not over-the-top gorgeous and perhaps a bit shy -- like the upcoming 2015 Ford Edge, it helps to get a rousing reception from the big bosses.

It doesn't matter if the big-do involves a dose of hype, mainly because the Ford folks shrug and say it's not hyperbole if it's true. That's what happened at the summer unveiling of the 2015 Edge at the Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

During the Edge show-and-tell, none other than Alan Mulally, now former president at Ford and one of the most pursued biz execs in the world (not hype, Google just landed this former Boeing CEO on its board of directors) showed up to work the room and press the flesh. The party and unveiling had the trappings of a Hollywood preview. All this for a 2015 crossover utility vehicle that won't go on sale until early next year.

But Ford already is working to establish its bona-fides as the reincarnation of the best that can be in the burgeoning world-wide demand for compact and midsize five-passenger crossovers. The Edge, to hear Ford's big talk, is such a design and technology marvel, with superior construction and workmanship, that it already is the benchmark for all of Ford's utility vehicles to come. Some items:

-- It is all-new from the tire patches up, with taut, fresh styling that shrink-wraps around all of its components, many state-of-the art.

-- The Edge is the first Ford vehicle to come with its EcoBoost turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as standard equipment. Product briefers said they could not divulge the horsepower or fuel consumption because the numbers had not been certified by the EPA. But the sneaky printed press materials gave the estimated horsepower as 245 with 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Based on various sources, the guesstimate here is that it will deliver about 24 mpg overall.

-- It comes with a suite of technology marvels that would appear to rival the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which now is considered to be at the top of the innovation heap. Among them: adaptive cruise control and collision warning with automatic braking; adaptive steering to ease handling and control; parking assist that automatically parallel parks or backs the Edge into a space; fuel saving engine stop-start system; a 180 degree front camera with washer; a glove box mounted knee airbag; blind spot warning and cross traffic alert; inflatable rear seat belts; a hands-free power rear hatch, and Ford's MyTouch and Sync communications and entertainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen.

Because the introduction in Dearborn was classified as a so-called "reveal" or first look, nobody got to drive the new Edge. When that eventually happens, drivers will experience a stylish midsize, two-row crossover utility vehicle with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It is slightly taller and wider than its predecessor with an extra inch of wheelbase -- the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels.

Prices were not announced, but based on the 2014 model the new Edge likely will have a sticker of about $32,500, with an additional $2,000 for the all-wheel drive model. Options obviously will drive the price higher, perhaps into the mid to high 40s for top-line versions.

Ford did announce there will be four versions: SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium. The last is Ford's designation for expensive ultra-luxury models -- a first for the Edge.

The 2.0-liter four banger is the base engine. If ordering the Sport model, you get a 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 engine with an estimated horsepower of 300. All the engines deliver power via a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually with paddles on the steering wheel. The paddle shifters are always switched on, available any time the driver wants to shift.

Ford intends the Edge to be world class -- it will be sold in 100 countries. U.S. sales in 2013 totaled 129,109. The new model will be built in a Ford plant near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, modernized to the tune of $700 million.

Raj Nair, Ford's global product development chief, says the Edge "delivers more of the technologies our customers want in a package that meets the highest expectations for quality and craftsmanship."

Hype? Wait and see.

Specifications

Base price $32,500 (est.)
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating TBD
Horsepower (net) 245 (est.)
Length 188.1
Motor type EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder w/DI
Torque (lb.-ft.) 270 (est.)
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD compact CUV
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