The midsize crossover is the family car of the 21st century and the 2015 Ford Edge is an innovative example, with qualified competition from the Hyundai Santa Fe and new Nissan Murano.
The Edge has evolved steadily since it debuted in 2006 and the completely re-engineered 2015 model is slightly longer and taller with a longer wheelbase and more room throughout. Based on the architecture of the Fusion sedan, the cabin is more rigid now and quieter. There also is much-improved quality for materials, their appearance and assembly. And there is more standard equipment and more standard safety features — with access to just about all advanced technologies, which were once the privilege of luxury cars.
It is sold in four trim levels — with a new Titanium model — in front- or all-wheel drive with three engine choices, all with dual exhaust, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing starts at $28,995 for the SE model with the new, standard 245-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds and has front-drive fuel economy of 24 mpg combined. The midrange SEL starts at $32,395. And the top-line Titanium starts at about $35,000 (and includes leather-trimmed upholstery, hands-free liftgate and a 12-speaker audio system). The price can go to $45,000 with all-wheel drive, an optional paint color and all the advanced safety technologies. (AWD drops the average fuel economy by just 1 mpg.)
A 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is also available ($425). Front-drive models are rated 21 mpg combined city/highway on 87 octane.
Today’s Sport AWD tester has the new, turbocharged and direct-injection 315-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. Its as-tested price of $45,785 included a $500 discount for AWD and the $895 freight charge from Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
The 2.7-liter V-6 has good power — 350 foot-pounds of torque at 2,750 rpm — to motivate its 4,078 pounds. Performance and shift points are balanced and the Sport mode gives just enough kick when needed. My fuel economy was averaging 20.7-21 mpg, which is well below the EPA’s rating of 24 mpg, but the 18-gallon tank gives decent range. Braking was confident from 13.6-inch discs front and 12.4-inch discs rear.
The Sport gets an attitude adjustment with a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch polished wheels, lower body aerodynamic cladding, aluminum gas and brake pedals and body-color exterior trim and grille. It also has some interior refinements, such as leather-trimmed seats with suede inserts, 10-way adjustable and heated front seats and keyless entry with push-button ignition.
There are some handy new features, such as a front camera with a washer, in addition to a rear camera, and the Edge will park itself in parallel or perpendicular situations.
The ride is reasonably quiet, but the Sport may spin up a little more road noise through its suspension and larger tires. Soundproofing upgrades include acoustic windshield glass, acoustic underbody panels, wheel-well liners and Active Noise Cancellation that is piped through the audio system to generate opposing sound waves. Titanium models also get acoustic glass on driver and passenger side doors.
I like the contemporary layout of the interior. There is a lighted gauge cluster and a simplified Sync system to connect a phone, tune the audio system, set the navigation and adjust the climate control. There also are more buttons now for making adjustments rather than using just the touchscreen. There is sort of an e-bin charging cubby in the center console ahead of the shifter, but it’s a little snug for large hands to access. Sliding visors are another asset and a considerate extra is the separate 12-volt plug for the front passenger.
The floor shift console fits the tone of the Sport, but in the basic family car, it could easily be replaced by shift buttons to make better use of the console for storage, cup holders, charging ports, etc.
The ride-height is empowering — a benefit of crossovers — and the long outstretched windshield pillars and large dashboard do not create the corner blind spots you might anticipate from the styling. Headroom is generous at 40.2 inches, or a little less with the panoramic roof. The doors are large and heavy, requiring a hearty slam — or, maybe, the cabin is nearly airtight.
The back seat is also roomy with a low center transmission tunnel, but it’s still a better four-seater for vacation travel. The optional panoramic vista roof ($1,995) is great for those in back to relax and daydream, but I hardly noticed any benefit as the driver. The doors are large, but there’s isn’t a large door opening for entry and exit. There is good headroom (40.3 inches), 40.6 inches of legroom and plenty of footroom, but the seat bottom may be short for adults. There are a few inches of seatback recline, grab handles and coat hooks, reading lights, a 12-volt plug and a household electric plug.
The cargo area is large and squared off (46 inches wide by 31 1/2 inches tall and 40 inches long). The 60/40 back seats fold (not flat) to expand space with a flip of the switches and have an “armstrong” manual return.
The re-engineered Edge is a refined and right-sized multipurpose “car.” It has good family ties, the luxury to appeal to contemporary professionals and a willingness to work.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage