The Ford Edge isn’t the first vehicle that you would think should pop up on BangShift’s radar. It’s a crossover SUV that does it’s job and that’s that, right? Pretty much what we thought, too. But the Edge received a complete reworking for 2015, part of Ford’s big push for new models. We’ve reported on the exciting vehicles in the press, including the upcoming Focus RS and the Mustang EcoBoost, but what would the Edge bring to BangShift’s table to make us perk up and take note? “How about a 315hp all-wheel-drive version?” they asked. We were on a plane in short order…over 300hp and you’re treading into ten-year-old Mustang GT territory with a crossover. We had to find out: could the new Ford Edge be the kind performance sleeper that could do it all? Could a crossover not only haul a few asses and some cargo around in comfort, but haul ass, period? We had to get our hands one one and test out our theory, so we headed to Phoenix, Arizona to see what Ford’s new SUV was all about.
The Edge is two things for Ford: It’s a big seller (over ten thousand a month) and it’s a leader in it’s market, easily outclassing it’s nearest rivals, the Kia Sedona and the Hyundai Santa Fe. The Chevrolet Equinox is more cute-ute than anything, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Edge’s physically closest competition, has more off-road leanings than the Ford does. Plus, Jeep bristles at the thought of calling the Grand Cherokee a “crossover”. Even though everything under the body is all new, Ford didn’t go ballistic with the Edge’s outward styling, choosing to play a safer route while increasing the “aggressive factor”. These are larger than the outgoing model by small margins, but physically it’s very close to the Jeep Grand Cherokee in size. Visually, you know this is an Edge from the moment you lay eyes on it. The “electric razor” grill of the previous Edge gives way to a more Taurus-inspired design, and the headlights echo Fusion and Mustang’s design language. On the Sport, the grille is blacked-out with a matte silver trim, while the remainder of the lineup gets a silver/chrome treatment. The side profile is safe, but the body is broken up some to be more visually interesting and the back end looks inspired instead of the previous Edge’s anonymous look. Out back, more Fusion cues appear in the form of a LED taillights with a red racetrack LED ring and dual exhaust on all models.
The amount of technology embedded into the Edge is ridiculous. Really ridiculous. And Ford made a note that I found quite surprising: technology is a deal make-or-break currently. The reason you see all of these trick gadgets in cars is because the customers demand them, and if the manufacturer doesn’t have them, then customers are willing to drop the deal and walk away from the company. You can’t fault Ford for jamming so much into the Edge: the majority of the crossovers they sell are loaded to the maximum, and besides, it’s not a Mustang or Raptor…it’s not meant for enthusiasts who have wanted a bare-essentials car. Even the base model SE comes with a ton of features. Yes, this thing can park itself. It can also un-park itself, keep you from overcooking a corner, and can charge your devices through USB twice as fast as before. If you forget to release the E-brake (a button), the Edge checks to see if you are buckled in. If you’re buckled, it will disengage the E-brake. If you aren’t, it will refuse to move and chastises you for forgetting. If you try to drive off without the keyfob, the horn honks and the dash lights up to remind you that you’re forgetting something. It also has active aerodynamics for fuel economy gains, a knee-airbag for the front passenger (something that actually makes sense), adaptive cruise, lane departure warning with intervention (that kind of works…our test turned into Pong on the road, bouncing from one end of the lane to the other), collision warning with brake intervention, and yes, they even put that device that opens and closes the tailgate with a swift kicking motion. We got to try out the parking assists for ourselves, and they work well. You are still involved in 90% of the action, it’s just that the steering wheel and the sensors take over for positioning the vehicle. And they do a good job…the tolerances for space were considerably tighter than what we were comfortable with ourselves.
It’s a looker for a crossover, and instead of making me think of “ten-year-old Ford Five Hundred meets The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, I’m seeing the latest Fusion, Fiesta, and Focus. Given Ford’s current push of new vehicles, that’s a very good move. Comparing a new Edge to an old one can’t be done…the new generation is, visually and dynamically, leaps and bounds above the old one. The fit and finish is spot on, and the interiors are a vast improvement upon Fords of even recent past. The power figures of the Edge Sport exceed a used Mustang GT, a very nice consequence of the horsepower war. But does the Edge Sport have enough going for it that a BangShifter would want it as a daily driver, or would they be better off hunting Craigslist for a deal to satisfy that performance itch? Read on…