2015 Ford Edge: Edgy Fresh Styling

By Frank A. Aukofer, April 11th, 2015

Like a supermodel with a Ph.D. who runs triathlons, the 2015 Ford Edge teases with looks, intelligence, and strength. And, depending on which personality you choose, it emphasizes lavish luxury, homelike comfort, or a sporting experience.

The Edge is a midsize crossover utility vehicle (CUV) that dates back to 2006, when Ford punched it into its utility lineup between the compact Ford Escape and the bigger Ford Explorer.

A five-passenger, four-door vehicle with front- or all-wheel drive, the Edge is a steady seller, although sales in 2014 dropped to 108,864 from 129,109 the previous year. This is probably due to buyer anticipation for 2015 Edge.

The 2015 model is new from the tires up, with an all-new body structure and edgy fresh styling. It's been nearly ready since last summer, when Ford started teasing critics and buyers with tantalizing bits of sight and sound but without allowing anybody to drive it.

Now that's all in the rearview mirror as the Edge has completed its full-on debut. The only thing left is to coax people inside for a look and a drive.

The new Edge is slightly taller and wider than its predecessor. Overall, it is 4 inches shy of 16 feet long, has a generous 114 cubic feet of space for passengers, and a welcoming cargo area of 39 cubic feet. Even the center rear position in the back seat, punishing in most vehicles, is reasonably comfortable.

strong>Two new engines anchor the lineup: a 245-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 315-horsepower, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. (EcoBoost is Ford's term for its fuel-saving direct-injected turbocharged engine technology). The third engine -- a naturally aspirated 280-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 -- is carried over, there for conservative buyers with an affinity for traditional V-6 smoothness.

All three, even with their disparate personalities, get the power to the wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The difference is how quickly.

Any enthusiast will gravitate toward the topline Sport model with the 2.7-liter engine. Acceleration is rapid, in the 6-second range to 60 mph, and will surprise some hot shoes in sports sedans.

With its tall profile, the Sport doesn't have the corner carving capability of sports sedans and more expensive CUVs. But with its new independent rear suspension system and tightly calibrated electric power steering, it performs competently and securely, unless you get ridiculously aggressive.

But even the SE, SEL, and Titanium models are no slouches. The 2.0-liter engine feels strong off the line, though nowhere near the 2.7-liter. Either cruises sedately at highway speeds. There was no opportunity to test the old shoe 3.5-liter V-6.

It's always best to put one's best foot forward so the Edge introduction emphasized the Sport and Titanium models. The latter comports with Ford's conviction that many buyers actually want to spend more money on their vehicles, not less.

That's the reason for the Titanium model with AWD, which starts at $38,490. But the tester was loaded to the roof with equipment that included voice activated navigation, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert, 180-degree front camera with washer, automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic two panel sunroof, hands free power rear hatch, Ford's MyTouch and Sync communications and entertainment systems. An extra bonus was Ford's enhanced park assist, which automatically parallel parks or backs the Edge into a perpendicular space. It also guides the vehicle out of a tight parking space. All these features bump the tested Titanium to a suggested price of $43,690.

Also available are adaptive cruise control and collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive steering to ease handling and control, and a fuel-saving engine stop-start system. Put all the safety, parking, and economy systems together and you understand the intelligent component of the Edge, complementing the attractive styling and the strength of the powerful turbo engines.

On the road, both the Titanium and Sport models deliver quiet comfort, solid straight line tracking and, if not pushed too hard, flat cornering. Ride comfort displays a balance between stiff and cushy, with little wind noise at speed.

Oddly, the Edge doesn't have much direct competition. Most competitors have three rows of seats like the Edge's sibling, the Ford Explorer. Direct challenges come from the Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

On the stage like our multi-talented supermodel, the new Edge poses a variety of performance moves and appeal.

Specifications

Base price $38,490 (as tested: $43,690)
Curb weight 4,078 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve EcoBoost 4-cyl. w/DI
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18 gal.
Horsepower (net) 245 at 5500 rpm
Overall length 188.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 275 at 3000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger midsize AWD CUV
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