The 2015 Ford Edge is a two-faced crossover. A double-bladed axe if you will. Have…to…resist…saying double-edged sword. On the one hand, it offers lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, parallel and perpendicular parking help for the non-interested driver. On the other hand, the 315-hp, 350-lb-ft, 2.7-liter EcoBoost-equipped all-wheel drive Edge Sport is a straight-up blast to drive. Ford brought us out to the winding roads outside of Scottsdale, Ariz. to get behind the wheel of the now-in-its-second-generation mid-sized crossover.
That mid-sized moniker is important, to Ford at least. The company sold about 100,000 Edge CUVs last year, which puts it ahead of competitors from Hyundai, Kia and Toyota. Still the Edge was still roundly trounced by Ford’s more popular Escape and Explorer.
For 2015, the Edge adds Enhanced Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning, a 180-degree front camera system with a washer, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, two 2-amp USB chargers and a few other bits.
We tried both the perpendicular and the parallel park assist functions outside our host hotel. The new perpendicular system can back your car into a perpendicular spot, with the driver only taking control of the brakes. The Edge will back up a little, pull forward to straighten, back up again, and so on until you’re in the spot. If cars are waiting for you, prepare for some honks, and possibly a middle finger or two. The same goes for the parallel system: It’ll get you in there, even a super tight space, but it takes several minutes to do it properly. Just go practice parking with some cardboard boxes and save yourself a lifetime of backing up, beeping, straightening out, beeping, backing up, etc.
In contrast, we absolutely think the front 180-degree view system could become a mandatory feature. It has three cameras, one in the middle of the front bumper and two on the sides, which allow drivers to see around corners. This works when pulling forward out of a perpendicular spot, pulling up to a blind intersection or when your view is blocked by mountains of melting snow. Ford jokingly put two baby strollers with teddy bears on the street to drive the point home.
Buyers will be able to choose from three engines. The new standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 delivers 245 hp, 275 lb-ft of torque and returns 20 mpg city, 30 highway. The aging 3.5-liter V6 makes 280 hp, 250 lb-ft and returns 18 mpg city and 26 on the highway. Finally, the go-to mill—the one we recommend—is the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. That powerhouse lays down 315 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque and actually gains 1 mpg over the 3.5-liter with ratings of 18 city and 27 highway. Note that those mileage numbers are for front-wheel drive models; all-wheel drive is offered with all powertrains, and sucks down a mile or two per gallon.
The new Edge is only a few inches bigger on the outside, but with new sculpted seats, tighter door panels and other interior massaging, it arrives with 7 more cubic feet of space behind the second row. It also translates to more head and shoulder room, and more leg room in the back. We checked out those back seats and found plenty of room for adults -- at least ones that measure 5’10” or less.
What’s it like to drive?
We got behind the wheel of the 2.7-liter-equipped Edge Sport for a few hours and found it way more fun than we expected.
Power from the twin-turbo V6/all-wheel drive setup shoots you off the line. It doesn’t feel quite as fast as say, a Subaru WRX, but BMW I6 lovers will be surprised. Throttle tip-in is smooth with no lag, and the brakes are nice and firm in the first inch or two of travel. The Edge now comes standard with paddle shifters, which are quick to change gears both up and down, and Ford’s standard six-speed SelectShift automatic remains smooth when it's left to do the shifting.
In front, the 2015 Edge gets MacPherson struts and L-shaped lower control arms with a stabilizer bar. The rear gets a multi-link setup with coil springs and an antiroll bar. The Edge Sport keeps the same setup, but with front and rear antiroll bars that are 15 percent stiffer, larger monotube dampers and stiffer coil springs. Overall, drivers will experience 20 percent less body roll around corners. Twenty-inch wheels are standard, 21s are optional. Ford unfortunately didn’t set us up with any off-road driving, so we can’t be sure of its performance on the dirt. But over lightly cracked desert roads, it's fine.
The thin steering wheel uses Ford’s EPAS electronic power steering system. It’s nice and easy in the parking lot—a good thing when going parallel—but tightens up significantly on the highway. Even in high-speed corners, the Edge feels supremely, and surprisingly, planted.
The new, optional lane keeping system will come bundled with adaptive cruise control, though our testers were pre-production and weren’t so equipped yet. The lane-keeping system has three settings. Low nudges the wheel a little bit when you approach the lane marker, medium nudges a little harder and high nudges and vibrates, hard, so hard the passenger felt it. The system can also use audible beeps to keep you in line.
The system is a blessing when you’re cruising through beautiful countryside and your eyes start to wander. But when you’re in turns and it nudges you, sometimes to the outside of the bend, it’s a little unsettling. Like most of these systems, if you take your hands off the wheel and let it do its thing, it tells you to put them back on. We left the system on for our test drive, but probably wouldn't specify it on the option sheet. The same package, however, adds the heated and cooled seats, park assist, that 180-degree camera and some other goodies for $3,700. It’ll have to be a game time decision for the buyer.
Inside the cabin, drivers are treated to a clean dash layout with a few carbon fiber bits to set things off. There are more soft points -- almost everywhere your arms rest when driving -- and everything else is just a little better than the last model. Like most new Fords, the instrument cluster behind the wheel is infinitely customizable. Complementing it, the Edge will be the first Ford to get the third version of Sync. It wasn’t in our testers, but we played with the setup at Ford HQ a few months ago and found it to be a full step ahead of the last version, which was a full step ahead of the first.
Inside the cabin, drivers are treated to a clean dash layout with a few carbon fiber bits to set things off. There are more soft points -- almost everywhere your arms rest when driving -- and everything else is just a little better than the last model.
Do I want one?
The base Edge SE trim starts at $28,995 including destination. That nets you the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, front-wheel drive, the basic Sync system, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, power windows and locks, push-button start, projector headlamps and a few other bits. The SEL trim ($32,395) adds dual-zone climate control and different seats. Titanium ($36,495) replaces the former Limited trim and adds Sync with MyFord Touch, a hands-free power liftgate, which works well, and a Sony audio system. Finally the Sport trim ($38,995), the only one available with the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, adds 20-inch polished wheels, heated front seats, a piano black grille and integrated exhaust. All-wheel drive will cost you about $1,500 on any trim.
Lots of additional features are available too, including a panoramic moonroof, bigger wheels and summer tires, leather seats, navigation, adaptive cruise control and more. Of course, if you tick all of those boxes, you’ll be near 50 grand. That’s almost German luxury SUV territory.
Both the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe start at about $25K -- a few grand less than the Edge SE, but gas mileage is down a tick or two. The Edge also feels more solid than either of its Korean competitors. If you want something that’s easy to drive and park without much effort, grab the 2.0-liter SE and the tech package. It has just enough power not to be annoying and enough cameras to shoot a Michael Bay epic. If you’re more a fan of spirited driving, then go with the Edge Sport and ditch the fancy options. Either side of the coin, we think you’ll be pleased.
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