Saturday Road Test – The New Ford Edge

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Ford Edge

New From the Wheels Up

First Drive

By Ron Amadon

PHOENIX, AZ. – What a contrast – Driving a redesigned Ford Edge up into the Mazatzal Mountains with a topography that has remained unchanged since the days of the Conestoga wagons, give or take a wildfire or three.

Make no doubt about it. This is a completely new Edge that is set to do battle in a midsize crossover corral that is as hot as the Fourth of July in these parts.

This second generation 2015 Edge is nearly four inches longer than the 2014, and 1.3 inches higher. It also sports new exterior and interior styling, added cargo capacity, new rear suspension, additional sound deadening, new engines and a new platform from the hot selling Fusion.

From the land of the “Apache Messenger” here is more:

Models: SE, SEL, Titanium, Sport. The Titanium replaces the Limited and the Sport model is new.

Engines:  A 2.0-liter Ecoboost four and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 are new while the 3.5 liter V6 is carried over.   All models are engaged to a six speed transmission that was quick to deliver needed passing power on steep mountain grades.

The twin scroll 2.0 liter churns out 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque and is available on models with all- wheel drive. It can tow up to a 3,500 pound trailer when properly equipped.

Standing out in its “White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat” paint, the top of the line Sport model that I drove had the 2.7 EcoBoost with all-wheel drive. It is rated at 315 horsepower at 4,750 rpm with 350 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm. Look for 18 mpg around town with a claimed 27 mpg on the highway for a combined 21 mpg. Suspension changes result in “15 to 20 percent or better overall road holding capacity,” Ford said. Sport models also get a more aggressive shift pattern.

The Sport gets 20 inch wheels with 21’s optional, beefed up anti roll bars and dampers plus slightly stiffer coil springs. There is a new integral-link rear suspension while the front retains its MacPherson suspension.

There was less noise, vibration and harshness – it was peaceful inside on the interstate, with just a touch of wind noise in the preproduction model. All this thanks to additional sound proofing and the use of acoustic windshield glass. On the Sport model, a noise cancellation system uses three microphones in the cabin to generate opposing sound waves directed through the audio system. If we had made it to the “Tonto National Monument” perhaps it would have broken out into the “William Tell Overture.”

Drivers face a very attractive and modern dash panel, but the controversial MyFord Touch system carries over. It will be replaced by a totally new, non-Microsoft, system as soon as it is market ready. The system lives in a center dash mounted 8-inch LCD screen.

The Sport model is the top-of-the-line, so that brought along leather trimmed heated and cooled sport seats with perforated suede inserts. For 2015, legroom increased by two inches for those up front and one inch for those in row two.

Aluminum brake and accelerator pedal covers, ambient lighting, two configurable LED screens in the instrument cluster and a media center with two USB ports, SD card reader and auxiliary input jack (perhaps literally) jazzed things up. A 12 speaker Sony audio system is standard.

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A nice touch is the inclusion of inflatable rear safety belts that can reduce head, neck and chest injuries.

For bringing the outdoors in, a large nearly 48 inch long panoramic sunroof is an option.

Outback, there was 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row seats and that is 7 cubic feet more than the old model. With those seats folded, that figure grows to 73.4 cubic feet.

Just like a Native American’s horse, there were no knobs or switches to get into all-wheel drive. Instead an electronically controlled clutch transfers power between front and rear axles and it can send up to 100 percent to the front or back.

All the expected safety features are available, plus a 180 degree front camera with washer and enhanced park assist that can guide the vehicle into even a perpendicular parking space.

Ford maintains that half of Edge buyers are new to the brand with the target audience “active urban professionals.” “Electric Spice” might their color of choice.

Throw in an extensive “Equipment Group” option package, and the test Edge carried a hefty MSRP of $46,575, up from a base of $40,095. A bare bones SE can be had for much less starting at $28,100. So it would be easy to configure a new Edge to fit your needs and pocketbook.

With good power, comfortable ride, improved handling, and a wagon train full of optional equipment, the Edge is a solid player in the hot campfire crossover market and right on target for its intended audience.

It was a particularly pleasant outing in this part of the Old West where Zane Gray* once owned a cabin and Louis L’Amour’s Sackett clan fictitiously roamed.

*Grey’s cabin burned down during a wildfire.

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