2015 Ford Edge

PHOENIX — Has Dearborn-based Ford Motor Company re-invented the crossover with the introduction of the new 2015 Edge? Perhaps not, but undeniably the Edge has gone through many changes with new technologies, additional driver assist/user friendly features, updated engine options and an enhanced level of styling and craftsmanship that raises the bar in the mid-sized segment.

Clearly these improvements make the new Edge more alluring on many fronts.

To help frame our thoughts, the Edge is positioned in the mid-size “two-row” crossover SUV category with the likes of the Chevrolet Equinox, Jeep Cherokee, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Outback, GMC Terrain and the revised Nissan Murano.

When first introduced to consumers in late 2006, Edge helped to define the crossover utility vehicle segment in this country. To further help determine what a ”crossover” is, it's generally a car-based design rather than a traditional truck-based vehicle. Trucks often are manufactured with a full frame underpinning coupled with a heavy-duty type of suspension and chassis.

To further put things more in focus, Edge's blueprint certainly delivers improvements with on-road comfort, notable fuel efficiency and overall driving dynamics for the 2015 model year. The vehicle's stronger and more athletic outer shape stands out when comparing it against the out going version. No question, this product has always had a contemporary outer flare about it, but now that design has been enhanced.

The Edge is now available with many more driver-assist technologies. For example, it offers Ford's state-of-the-art automatic active park assist system coupled with adaptive radar-based cruise control and collision warning with brake support, and a hands-free liftgate which opens when you swipe a foot below a sensor in the rear bumper. Edge's 180-degree front camera system also includes a "lens cover/spray washer” plus standard rear backup camera, glove box-mounted airbag system, and inflatable rear safety belts. These features all help raise the level of convenience and safety from bumper to bumper.

And the myriad of new safety features might help keep insurance rates more in-line as well.

“The all-new Edge has been remade in every single detail — always keeping in mind the customer who expects something distinctive and powerful,”said JD Shanahan, chief program engineer. “With a structure more rigid than ever and a suspension tuned to the highest global standards, the 2015 Edge is a high-tech utility that delivers a special driving experience customers will feel from their initial moments behind the wheel.”

In the arena of improved driving dynamics the Edge features an entirely new body with a stiffer structure and a redesigned front and rear suspension system. It was developed to better isolate road imperfections and absorb noise without compromising handling. The extensive use of high-strength boron steel resulting in the stiffer body design also helps reduce cabin noise while eliminating vibration and harshness characteristics.

For the North America market, Edge features three engine options. There is the standard reworked 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. A naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine is also available. All models are equipped with dual output exhaust and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.0-liter generates 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque, which is significantly improved over the previous 2.0-liter. The all-new 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine developing 300 horsepower provides an exceptional combination of power and efficiency. They are some "whispers" of perhaps a hybrid version of Edge in the future by some of my Detroit based sources, but this remains to be seen, nothing official from Ford at this time.

Regardless of the four trim levels available (SE, SEL, Sport and — for the first time — a Titanium series), Ford spent a lot of time with improvements to the interior. The use of new premium materials and positioning of controls and operating switches plus increased storage compartments adds to Edge's level of attractiveness.

This popular automotive segment is getting more competitive with the likes of many other makes and models in it's class. By Ford addressing these welcomed changes with the 2015 model, it is clearly generating efforts to be a major player. Worth noting as well, the all new Ford Edge will be sold in more than 100 markets across the globe, an underlining fact that in itself speaks volumes.

Production has started at Ford's Oakville Assembly facility, located near Toronto. Edge is on target to begin arriving at dealerships in North America early this spring.

— David Finkelstein