Friday, April 6, 2012

Ford Edge - The Ultimate Crossover

Ford brought out the Edge several years ago as part of its recognition that the market was shifting. Out were the old, boxy, heavy SUVs and in were the "crossover" vehicles. Crossovers are tall cars, on regular car unibody platforms instead of truck chassis, with swept back windshields and, one hopes, more comfort and efficiency.

The Edge had a Ford look about it, and like other models put out in the middle of the last decade, an integrated appearance. It supplemented the lineup next to the legendary Explorer and extra-large Expedition and the compact Escape SUVs and the larger Flex crossover.

The Edge got a mid-cycle redo, and while the basic clean shape remains, now the three-bar grille flows down like lava onto the bumper--in chrome on my car. This ties in with the Fusion sedan, and is a look that Ford is actually moving away from (see the upcoming Fusion for a clue as to where the brand is headed).

The interior features Ford's MyFord Touch system, which gives you an amazing and at times perplexing electronic dash. Behind the steering wheel (nicely leather-covered in my Cinnamon Metallic testcar) you have a central speedometer flanked by two slender panels that you can configure to tell you what you want to know. On the left is fuel, mileage, economy and other useful performance metrics. I kept it handy for average economy, and saw 20.6 mpg, a little below the 24 average Ford proclaims on its window sticker (21 City, 30 Highway). On the right side of the instruments you can view specifics of your navigation system, entertainment, phone, and other interactive features.

The main panel in the center of the dash is a "home page," much like you might have on your PC or Mac. Its four rectangles feature phone, audio, navigation and climate--and give you information about those as needed. Touch the edge of the box near each corner and a full screen opens where you can see--and control--features for each. This is a car with heated seats that are controlled only by touch screen--no buttons.

The actual controls below the screen are tiny touch-sensitive grains of rice. I also found that the four-way flashers (a small red triangle) are activated the same way. I accidentally touched the spot and found them flashing away as I drove down the road. I must have brushed against the control as I adjusted the radio.

The Edge has been motivated by a V6 lately, but my car had the highly efficient EcoBoost 2.0 four-cylinder. You'd never know, though--the two-ton car zoomed along without a problem. That's because despite its size, the Spanish-built engine makes 240 horsepower! That's what EcoBoost is all about. You can also order up a 3.5-liter Ohio-origin V6 if you want that puts out 285 horsepower. The EcoBoost gets around 3 miles per gallon better fuel economy than the six.

My SEL model, with options, priced out at $36,670, but they start at around $28,000.

The Edge gives you the "above the fray" feeling that SUVs do but feels like a nice big car, and was an easy ride.

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