Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
The Ford Edge has been around for more than eight years now and is deemed one of the hottest crossovers in its segment. Once a basket with slim pickings, that same segment is now overcrowded and spewing with competitors - not necessarily a bad thing for consumers but horrendous for the indecisive. Lurking in those breeding grounds are the Hyundai Sante Fe, Honda CR-V, Toyota Venza, and the Nissan Murano, just to name a few.
It is said that competition breeds improvement and innovation and there’s no better example than with the new 2015 Ford Edge. More technology and more performance is just what Ford needs to win the (wait for it…) edge over its rival mid-size crossovers - get used to these lame puns. Fun Fact: the Edge is also built and assembled in our backyard of Oakville, Ontario. It’s a success story on its own creating jobs, revenue, and Canadian pride. This is also the first time that the Edge will be shipped overseas to Europe and Asia, the latter having one of the most explosive demands in crossover vehicles.
Everything from the wheels to the roof is brand new for 2015. The refreshed Edge also makes use of the Ford Fusion’s platform as a foundation for a quieter and more rigid vehicle. That means the car’s length has increased by 100 mm, adding extra rear legroom and cargo capacity to the mix – there is still no 7-seater option available though.
The Edge also gets sharper and edgier looks with a Taurus-inspired front grill to make it look like a swelled-up cop car. The Edge appears nimbler and sportier than it’s predecessor, and that sleek silhouette makes for a more grown-up appeal. Inside is where I saw the most change. The materials used are just staggering, even by Ford’s standards. Soft touch panels are everywhere, the amount of cabin space is more than adequate, and the ride is extremely quiet. Heated and ventilated seats are there to take the edge off, Ford’s infotainment system is intuitive and responsive, and the suspension did very well absorbing most of the bumps on the road. Overall, the fit and finish is excellent and in our opinion, it competes with upscale interiors costing thousands of dollars more.
Let’s talk engines. There are three available: a 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged 4-cylinder, a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, and a 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6. For those unfamiliar with Blue Oval terminology, Ecoboost engines are anything with a turbo in it. This is also the first Ford vehicle that comes standard with an Ecoboost engine, the 2.0-litre. It also comes with start-stop technology and direct injection. All are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and are available with all-wheel drive (AWD) for an extra $2000.
We had the opportunity to spend some time with each engine on a closed circuit course, exposing their merits and shortcomings. First off was the 2.0-litre: 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft in a standard engine is nothing to scoff at – it’s a significant improvement over the previous 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine. The Edge was light on its nose and feet, the twin-scroll tech helped reduce some of the turbo lag though not all of it, but the power delivery was ultimately a tad slow and unresponsive. There’s a lack of grunt and excitement with this base engine, but it subsequently shines in fuel economy. Ford rates the 2.0-litre AWD with a city rating of 11.8 L/100km and 8.4 L/100km on the highway – that’s bonkers for a car that weighs 1,840 kg and drives all four wheels.
Next up was the turbo-less 3.5-litre V6 (the projected big seller for Ford) that makes 280 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. The V6 makes less torque than the 2.0-litre, but it’s got a more linear powerband that starts the moment you hit the pedal. The throttle response is on point but it does feel a little heavier around the bends. The V6 is also a bit of a double-edged (ha!) sword between fuel economy and power. What you gain in linearity, you lose in fuel consumption. Ford rates the V6 AWD at 13.7 L/100km city and 9.6 L/100km highway.
The star of the show was the twin-turbocharged V6 that’s only found in the Edge Sport trim. With the help of forced induction, the V6 delivers a small increase in horsepower and torque over the previous 3.7-litre V6 for a total output of 315 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. If there is one thing you are going to take home from this review, is that the exhaust sounds incredible. The amount of grunt in the mid-range is overflowing and it really pulls through each gear. There is a slight delay in takeoff while you wait for those turbos to spool but once it gets going, it will keep you at the edge of your seat. The main drawback is that the Edge Sport feels heavier. Albeit, when it comes down to fuel economy, the 2.7-litre V6 is beyond stellar, producing numbers that are nearly identical to the 3.5-litre V6. With the 2.7-litre paired with AWD, Ford says it will get 13.6 L/100km city and 9.8 highway. With more power and nearly the same fuel economy, why wouldn’t you go turbo?
Ford has also introduced an entire slew of new technology in the Edge that we were able to test out. The most notable gizmo was the Active Park Assist feature, allowing the car to not only park itself into parallel and perpendicular spaces, but it will also do the opposite and pull you out too. Don’t trust it? Neither did I at first, but once you learn the ropes and get past the learning curve, it becomes almost second nature. There’s a button lodged at the base of the gear shifter to activate the feature. Once the systems detect an eligible parking spot (it finds them very quickly too, a huge improvement over the predecessors), you simply let go of the wheel and let the computers take over. The only thing you control is the brake pedal and gas pedal. Nothing else. Touch the steering wheel and the automated feature will cancel.
To park the car, all you really need to do is follow the prompts displayed on the center touchscreen. It will tell you to add gas, brake, and shift into Park or Reverse. The instructions are fashioned in an extremely large font so even your myopic mother has no excuse for a poorly parked car. With previous iterations of this tech, the sensors would take forever to find a spot, were unable to detect a legitimate parking space, and ultimately felt unrefined. They used to be slow and unresponsive. I always told myself, I could do it faster. But after witnessing what the new Ford Edge could do, I’m not so sure anymore.
There’s also a new front-facing 180-degree camera so you can spot pedestrians coming out of corners. My favourite part of all of this, call me silly, is the camera washer. Remember those snowy days when you’re trying to park your car but the rear view camera is all blocked up with mud and slush. You would have to climb out of your car into the frigid temperatures and wipe it with your sleeve. Well the Ford Edge utilizes a nozzle, like windshield washers, that pops out and hoses down the camera lens - this should really come standard in every vehicle with a rear view camera.
Other notable features include active grille shutters to improve aerodynamics, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, cross-traffic alert, forward and reverse sensing systems, a hands-free liftgate, lane-keeping assist to steer the vehicle if it’s drifting into another lane, and side parking sensors.
We only had a limited time behind the wheel of each Ford Edge trim, so we’re unable to come to conclusions with fuel economy or everyday usability. What we were convinced about however is that the staggering amount of cutting-edge technology and choice of three well-bred engines puts the Ford Edge at an extremely competitive angle. If I were to spec it my way, I’d opt for the 2.7-litre Ecoboost in Electric Spice (that striking yellow you see in our photographs), blacked out 20-inch wheels, and all-wheel drive. The 2015 Ford Edge has only just begun to roll out of showroom floors for customer deliveries, but I’ve already seen a countless number of them on the streets of Toronto. Ford’s not surprised, and neither are we.
The Ford Edge starts with the SE FWD ($31,999), SE AWD ($33,999), SEL FWD ($35,099), SEL AWD ($37,099), Titanium FWD ($39,199), Titanium AWD ($41,199), and caps it off with the Sport AWD ($45,199).