Ford Edge — Getting an edge on the competition

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

Ford Motor Company is loaded with sport utilities and crossovers ranging from compact to extra large and with two and three rows of seating. You can make your choice from a variety of vehicles, one of the most attractive being the two-row mid-sized Edge completely redesigned in 2015 for the first time since its introduction as a 2007 model.

While the Edge lacks the third-row seat so valued by automotive companies these days, it gives its owner a spacious cabin suitable for four full-sized adults. It also allows a substantial 39.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats in place. For those people not needing a third row the Edge may be the perfect size, not too big, but certainly not too small.

Since the Edge first hit the streets nearly 10 years ago, it has — with the second generation — become slightly bigger (up 3.9 inches in length and 1 inch in wheelbase), considerably more refined, and loaded with technology not available in the early models.

The Edge features three engine options, two of which are new for the second-generation crossover — a standard twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. A normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine is also in the mix. All are equipped with dual exhaust and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost is the showpiece combining outstanding performance — 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque — with decent fuel economy. Ford says compacted graphite iron is used in its cylinder block allowing for a remarkably stiff and compact design that returns exceptionally refined noise, vibration and harshness control. The strength of the cylinder block allows the engine to produce impressive power and torque for its size.

The driving experience backs this up. We first drove the 2.7-liter engine in a Ford F-150 18 months ago and we were impressed. But not as impressed as we were behind the wheel of the Edge Sport trim level with standard all-wheel drive. We can sum up our encounter in one word — wow! One automotive publication has stop-watched a 0-to-60 run in 5.6 seconds. That might be slightly on the positive side, but for comparison purposes we put the Edge 2.7-liter easily in the low six-second category. Add to that EPA-published gas mileage of 17 mpg city, 24-highway and 20 combined and you have some serious bragging rights especially when you consider the engine does not require expensive premium gas.

Perhaps even more intriguing than the 2.7-liter engine to prospective Edge customers who want the Ford experience, but don't want to take out a second mortgage on the house is the base 2.0-liter engine that makes a healthy 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. It should be adequate for most needs, capable of a 0-to-60 run in around 8.5 seconds with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The starting price of the Edge SE with the 2.0-liter engine is an affordable $29,595.

Not only did we find our Sport test vehicle responsive, we were impressed with the composed ride and its handling prowess — for a crossover — on the twist and turns of our favorite back-road blacktop "test track" and our mountain runs. At the same time, the interior offered pleasing solitude with both wind and road noise nicely muted. We found the front seats supportive and the rear seats comfortable. And if cargo hauling is the order of the day, the Edge can be expanded to hold 73.4 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seatbacks folded.

Ford has done an excellent job upgrading the interior from the previous generation with scads of soft-touch materials. It offers an attractive and easy-to-decipher instrument panel with highly intuitive controls and buttons and knobs to operate the radio, the climate controls, and the heated seats.

There are four trim levels — SE, SEL, Titanium and Sport — with the aforementioned SE starting under 30 grand including destination charge. In addition to the aforementioned base engine, standard features are generous including keyless entry and ignition, air conditioning, rearview camera, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and Ford's voice recognition SYNC system.

The top three trim levels can get the Technology package either as an option or as standard equipment. It includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, remote start, and navigation.

Our test Sport with AWD carried a bottom line of $44,445, including the SYNC3 communications and entertainment system, leather seating, heated front seats and a premium nine-speaker audio system. A couple of options including 21-inch wheels and summer tires brought the bottom line to $46,375.

Base price: $29,995; as driven, $46,375
Engine: 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 315 @ 4,750 rpm
Torque: 350 foot-pounds @ 2,750 rpm
Drive: all wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length: 188.1 inches
Curb weight: 4,406 pounds
Turning circle: 38.6 feet
Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds
Luggage capacity: 39.2 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 73.4 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 18 gallons (regular)
EPA rating: 24 highway, 17 city, 20 overall
0-60: 5.6 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano, Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Good
• Outstanding performance
• Comfortable, quiet ride
• Room for five adults
• New SYNC3 system available

The Bad
• Look elsewhere for third-row seat

The Ugly
• Nothing ugly here