BangShift Test Drive: The 2015 Ford Edge Titanium SE and EcoBoost Sport – A True Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Crossover


BangShift Test Drive: The 2015 Ford Edge Titanium SE and EcoBoost Sport – A True Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Crossover

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.

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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.

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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…

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The Edge’s new look is a safe shot, but it’s a big upgrade from the first generation. We’re glad to finally see the shaver grill leave the front-end. The overall look has managed to get away from the river-rock shape and won’t be anywhere near as anonymous as the outgoing model. Lighting is excellent, and you can see the 180-degree camera just underneath the Ford badge. Take note of all the sensors on the bumper cap – those sensors are vital to the Edge’s party tricks.

 

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Out back the visual re-work gets even better. The taillights are an adaptation of the current Focus, and had other testers drawing comparisons to Lexus…not a bad place to be. The black lower trim does a nice job of masking the fact that the Edge is still a pretty sizable vehicle. Dual exhausts on every model eliminate the “base model” feeling nicely, something Ford noticed with the V6 Mustang a couple of years ago. We dig that the body has lines and creases to break up the shape. In person the Edge comes off more muscular than you’d expect.

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The Titanium  (pictured) that we drove was packing an all-new 2.0L EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder engine. This is not a refresh of the older 2.0L four, but is a complete rework. Hooked to the six-speed SelecShift manu-matic, it did everything we asked of it: it cruised nicely, and only needed a downshift to fifth on the largest of the grades we drove.

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Making [email protected],500RPM and 275 ft/[email protected], the boosted four is more than capable of covering 95% of any Edge buyer’s needs. It’s smooth, with plenty of low end, but above about 3,000RPM this thing comes alive. It’s a RPM-happy mill that is more than capable of pushing the 3,900 pound Titanium around. Our biggest surprise with this mill is that you don’t notice the turbo at all…it feels more like Honda’s VTEC. Fuel mileage is 20-30 MPG, according to Ford. Since these are pre-production units, we can only say that from our fuel use, the numbers are close to what we saw. But you aren’t here for the base engine, are you? Keep reading…

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The Edge Sport is more up our alley. And Ford didn’t mess around with our tester, which had the optional 21-inch wheels shod with 265/40-ZR21 Pirelli P-Zeros. Visually, there’s a slightly different air dam on the front, integrated exhaust ports instead of twin pipes out back, and the grille is blacked-out instead of bright. Otherwise, from the outside, there isn’t a real easy way to tell that this is the model that can embarrass a surprising amount of stoplight jockeys.

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Since you live in the car, not outside of it, let’s start with the interior. There really isn’t a noticeable difference between the Sport and Titanium models for features or feel…then again, all of the testers were pretty much fully loaded. The steering wheel is extremely nice, and surprisingly small. The paddle shifters are useable, the main shifter is direct, and all controls are easy to reach and adapt. Without instruction or manual, I could easily figure out how to make the majority of things work, like cruise control, phone sync, the voice-activated nav system, and the HVAC. The driver aids took some instruction, but that was a different segment of the event. One thing we were missing: a boost gauge. We didn’t find one anywhere in the system,

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The optional vista roof is huge! With the shade retracted the Edge didn’t get hot inside but was nice and light. Controls are simple, and there is a shade if you don’t want the sun. It does cut a little into the headroom for taller guys, but it’s nothing that a seat adjustment can’t fix.

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If you’re familiar with Ford interiors of the past ten years, we’re happy to report that the interior upgrades are a nice as Ford makes them out to be. There’s a strong eye to detail here. Take note of the pedals if you don’t believe me. The Titanium’s seats were nice and comfortable, but the Sport’s bolstered buckets were significantly better. This is also the first vehicle I’ve driven with cooled seats, and if you haven’t treated yourself to that luxury yet, DO IT.

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Interior space in the Edge is very useable. With the seats up the Edge will handle most any task you may have, but with the seats down (which can be done simply by toggling a switch…nice touch, Ford!) you can really open up the back. Both Edges we drove had the power lift gate…you know, the one that you open by making a kicking motion near the rear bumper. It’s an option, and it’s an option worth paying for.

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Now, the best way to gauge interior room is to shove my 6’3, 300-pound frame into the seat. This isn’t with the seat all the way back…this is almost all the way forward, and I’m perfectly fine. It’s not tight, nothing is in danger of hitting anything. This might be the first vehicle outside of a medium-duty truck I’ve been in that can make that claim.

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With the front seat moved to all the way rearward, you can see that I still fit. My size 15 boots tucked up underneath the front seats without hitting anything, and I’m still quite comfortable. Unless you’re the second coming of Andre the Giant, you and your family will fit just fine with plenty of room to spare.

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Oh, yeah…the rear seats are heated and recline and the steering wheel warms up as well. For a vehicle pushing $45 grand, this is a good standard to set.

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More details: there are power outlets everywhere (I lost count). The outlet on the right is an actual household outlet, so laptop charging is good as gold. Doors have space to stash tons of whatever plus drinks. Whatever model of Edge you choose, you will not be hurting for space, amenities, or capability. Technology is the primary reason for most of the MSRP jumps.

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Ok, ok…let’s get straight to how it drives: It’s a bombshell. The power is seamless at low speeds, but shift the transmission from Drive to Sport, take control of the paddles and the sociopathic fiend comes out of the Edge. The Sport’s curb weight clocks in at a fairly hefty 4,060 pounds, but unless you get really stupid with it, you don’t feel the weight. The 2.7 responds to a swift kick of the long pedal with the kind of acceleration only all-wheel-drive can provide…it will pin you to the seat. The paddle shifters don’t waste your time…this is the first manu-matic I’ve ever liked.

 

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 Around corners this thing is FLAT, much flatter than a two-ton crossover should be. In a couple of sections of winding mountain roads, I pushed the Edge hard and it begged for more. I’m not kidding in the least when I say that I want to put this thing on a road course to see what happens when it’s driven at 10/10ths. The Pirellis would bite in a corner and not let go, the brakes were a dream, and the suspension (MacPherson struts front, independent multi-link rear with stabilizers at both ends) ate it all up. If I had any knock against the Edge, it’s that the electric steering is numb to feedback, but that’s typical and the rack does a great job of providing weight to the wheel during “spirited maneuvers.” If it had a suspension mode control of some sort I’d understand how it could be smooth one minute and a corner-carver the next, but it doesn’t have one. If the Edge, a simple crossover, is any indication, the upcoming Focus RS is going to be an absolute riot. Kudos, Ford: This is how to make the daily driver engaging and entertaining.

 

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So, does it work? Performance wise, the Edge Sport is a sleeper that is more than capable of shutting up a lot of bench racers and visually, it’s just aggressive enough to be satisfying, but would be at home anywhere you’d expect to see a crossover. The price is the only sticking point: our AWD Sport stickered at $45,785, from a starting base price of $40,095. The starting price of the Titanium, which was FWD, is $35,600, but our tester stickered at $43,285. The SE and SEL models do come with the 2.0L EcoBoost four standard (as well as a carryover 3.5L V6), and start at $28,900, but don’t expect to get all of the tech gadgets. If all you care about is a fast ride and nothing more, go hunt the classifieds. But if you’re looking for an engaging family vehicle that is just as comfortable making a canyon road straight as it is shuttling your kids around, be conservative when checking off options, pick the Sport and you won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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7 thoughts on “BangShift Test Drive: The 2015 Ford Edge Titanium SE and EcoBoost Sport – A True Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Crossover

  1. Clark

    Great write up! My wife and I have a 2010 Edge Sport with the 3.5V6. I still am amazed that we like it as much as we do. It will get itself out of its own way(270HP i think) get OK mileage and it handles OK for what it is and in this year the sports are not real real common so its not totally cookie cutter.

    I am glad to hear they stepped it up on the interior, that is the biggest complaint on ours. Its a rattletrap period, I just got done crafting some nylon bushings for the seatbelt buckle mounts in the front because they squeaked like an old swing set.

  2. Mercury Man

    I have been a Ford/ Mercury owner forever. What I have never been able to understand is why the blue oval cannot offer better interior colors.
    I have owned numerous black interior ford products but did not enjoy the Blah associated with a “Black hole” interior. The few Blue, red, grey colored interior ford products I have owned were more enjoyable to be in.
    Why can’t Ford understand that other manufactures, especially European brands offer more color choices not just black!!

    1. Sumgai

      They used to. You could have an Explorer interior in grey, mocha, red, blue, and green. I don’t think it sold well. Part of the problem is you get weenie car shoppers who like the rest of the car but turn it down because they don’t like the interior color. “I want Lapis Blue Metallic paint with a grey interior, not blue, and I’m NOT willing to wait” and then they go buy a Blazer.

  3. Ed

    A friend is currently out in western Canada showing a pre-production Edge Sport to the dealers out there. He is a car guy, and a former racer who understands vehicle dynamics pretty well … he has been going on about how great this new one is. As a guy working at a Ford dealer, I hope that this new one does well in the marketplace.

    1. Sumgai

      I’d drive an Edge Sport. I’m seriously considering one given the size of the Explorer.

  4. mooseface

    Day late and a dollar short as usual, but I just wanted to say that BS has become my go-to site for vehicle or product reviews. Lohnes has pointed out a couple of times how non-constructive and damaging the “everything sucks” mentality is in contemporary media and culture, and I appreciate his kind of unwritten policy on avoiding that, and being real about the things found in reviews that the hosts here don’t like while still discussing aspects that were received positively.
    I also feel that we get a more detailed breakdown of a vehicle’s features here or on Jalop than through mainstream sources, and that the perspective is certainly geared more in the real world.

    Thank you for sharing this, Bryan.
    I’ve actually had a secret thing for the Edge ever since my grandparents got one, and I enjoyed reading what you had to share about the new model.

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