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2016 Ford Edge Sport AWD Review by Carey Russ +VIDEO


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


The Muscle Crossover

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD WITH CAREY RUSS

               • SEE ALSO: Ford Research and Buyers Guide

Ford’s Edge has been the Blue Oval’s not-a-truck crossover since model year 2007. In size and mission — large enough inside to hold people and things comfortably but small enough to be easy to fit into a tight parking space while not looking like a truck — it fits between the smaller Escape and larger Explorer and Flex. As a car-based crossover, it originally used the same platform as the then-current Fusion sedan. The Fusion went to new underpinnings for 2013, and the Edge followed for 2015.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

If, stylistically, the new Edge looks not all that different from the first generation, there is more than meets the eye. Yes, the shape is familiar, and the new grille brings it visually in line with the current Explorer and Taurus. Structurally, it’s more rigid, and as it will be sold in Europe, its revised suspension has been tuned appropriately. It’s still a two-row, five-passenger vehicle, with no attempt to squeeze a third row where there really isn’t space, so all the better for that. As before, the new Flex has a transverse front engine, front-wheel drive chassis layout, with all-wheel drive optional.

In line with Ford’s increasing use of smaller turbocharged engines for improved fuel economy and performance, the standard engine is Ford’s newest 2.0-liter four-cylinder. If its 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque isn’t enough, you can get more horsepower, 280, out of the optional 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 — but it loses on torque, with only 250 lb-ft. And if you desire total performance in a family crossover, there’s the Sport model. Its 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 is good for 315 hp and 350 lb-ft. All are matched to a six-speed, multi-mode SelectShift® automatic transmission, and may be had in front- or all-wheel drive form, except for the Sport, which is AWD only.

A high level of standard equipment is found even in the SE, and for the first time 2.0 EcoBoost examples can be outfitted with a towing package, with a 3500-pound capability. Changes for 2016 are few, but important. The SYNC®3 connectivity system is revised for easier and more reliable use. Variable-ratio adaptive electric power steering allows easy parking and stability and control at speed on the highway. All of the current electronic safety and convenience features can be available, depending on model, and a front 180-degree camera is a Good Thing when peeking out from a blind garage or intersection.

My test car for the past week was a top-of-the-line Sport, with pretty much every option. And in the signature Electric Spice Metallic. Not likely to be a boring mommy-van in that trim, and it wasn’t. But it was quiet inside unless the loud pedal was in heavy use, composed, quick, and commodious. Fuel economy was not its best attribute, but such is Sport. And at an 18-mpg average with no long highway drives, not bad at all for a two ton-plus, 300-plus horsepower vehicle. I suspect that most Edges sold aren’t quite as, um, edgy, but they should be just as well-behaved, comfortable, and useful.

APPEARANCE: It’s identifiably an Edge, with the familiar two-box shape higher than a wagon but lower than an SUV. But all of the details are different. The bold hexagonal grill does give it presence, especially in the Sport’s gloss black contrasting with a light body color. There’s more than a little Explorer there, but that is appropriate as both are Fords. The hood, sides, and rear are interestingly sculpted, but not overly busy. The wheels fill the wheel arches, especially with the optional 21-inch wheels and tires.

COMFORT: Inside, there’s no doubt that the Edge is a Ford even without looking at the blue oval on the steering wheel hub. Cockpit-like partitioning of the front, with a protruding center stack and vertical center vents have been Ford cues for many years. It’s more than just style, as that places the center touchscreen and the controls on the stack closer to both the driver and front passenger. SYNC3 has a different, slightly simpler interface than the old MyFordTouch, with improved software, and hard buttons for climate and audio systems have replaced touch (too) sensitive pads below the screen. One button, marked with a movie camera icon, activates the 180-degree front camera. The programmable instrument display presents both critical information and things you didn’t know you needed to know very well. At premium Sport level, leather covers the seats and steering wheel rim, and seats are power-operated with memory. Comfort is very good. An “Intelligent Access” fob gives touch-sensitive locking and unlocking, with the venerable Securicode keypad adding another level of convenience by allowing keys to be stowed inside. Pushbutton start/stop is also standard. The comprehensive 401A option group adds upscale amenities including navigation, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, the front camera, and many safety features. The Sony audio system encompasses all current forms of musical input. The rear contoured bench provides very good accommodation for outboard passengers, and a nearly-flat floor means that the center position is useable. The seatback is split 60/40, and can be remotely folded from the cargo area. Storage abounds around the cabin. Door pockets with bottle holders, a double-layer console box, and locking glove box are expected. Covered storage at the top of the center stack, space in front of the console under the stack, and small trays between the seats and doors are unexpected, and useful. With the fob in your pocket, a swipe of a foot under the tailgate will cause it top open.

SAFETY: In addition to all of the safety features and equipment required by law, the 2016 Ford Edge features a strong and rigid unibody structure designed to absorb crash energy in a controlled manner for passenger protection. Passengers are further protected by front, seat-mounted side, and Safety Canopy™ side curtain airbags, and the AdvanceTrac® and Roll Stability Control® electronic traction and stability control systems. Powerful four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard. Blind-spot and lane-keeping assistance systems are available. Available rear-seat inflatable shoulder harnesses offer extra protection for outboard rear passengers.

RIDE AND HANDLING: All models of 2016 Edge have fully-independent suspension, with MacPherson struts in front and a multilink system in the rear. Compared to other trim levels, the Sport has stiffer springs and anti-roll bars and upgraded shock absorbers. Call it “sport-touring”. It’s not overly stiff, ride comfort is not compromised, but it handles better than expected of a heavy crossover. My test example was fitted with optional 21-inch alloy wheels and 265/40 VR21 Pirelli Scorpion tires. With all-wheel drive traction and that size contact patch, there is plenty of grip. And a surprising lack of harshness.

PERFORMANCE: The Sport’s 2.7-liter V6 is powerful, compact for its output, and technically interesting. Unlike most modern engines, its block is not aluminum alloy. It’s cast iron — but high-tech compacted graphite iron. It’s stronger than aluminum, and not much if any heavier. Strength is good with turbo boost… and this EcoBoost unit has one turbo per bank, direct fuel injection — which allows a higher compression ratio for greater efficiency (more power on less fuel) — and the now-standard dual overhead cam, four valve per cylinder valvetrain. Maximum horsepower is 315 at a low 4750 rpm, with torque peaking at 350 lb-ft at only 2750. You like “big block” low-end grunt? Here it is, without the big block. The six-speed automatic is a good match for the engine. Regular D mode is fine for everyday use. S (Sport) holds gears longer, favoring performance over economy. Manual shifting, by means of the paddles behind the steering wheel arms, allows maximum use of the engine’s power. Happy engine! But too much of that and you’ll be getting membership in Friends of OPEC right quickly. Horsepower = fuel + air, after all. Despite that, and as little highway driving as possible, I got 18mpg for the week. EPA estimates are 17 mpg city and 24 highway. The all-wheel drive system is transparent in operation, and eliminates any torque steer.

CONCLUSIONS: Ford gives you sport plus utility in its Edge Sport.




SPECIFICATIONS

2016 Ford Edge Sport AWD

Base Price $ 40,900

Price As Tested $ 50,490

Engine Type DOHC 24-valve twin-turbocharged and intercooled V6 with direct fuel injection

Engine Size 2.7 liters / 165 cu. in.

Horsepower 315 @ 4750 rpm

Torque (lb-ft) 350 @ 2750 rpm

Transmission 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase / Length 112.2 in. / 188.1 in.

Curb Weight est 4400 lbs.

Pounds Per Horsepower 14.0

Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal.

Fuel Requirement 91 octane unleaded premium gasoline for best performance

Tires 265/40R21 Pirelli Scorpion 105V m+s

Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc, ABS, AdvanceTrac®, Roll Stability Control standard

Suspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut / independent multilink

Drivetrain transverse front engine, all-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon city / highway / observed 17 / 24 / 18

0 to 60 mph est 6.0 sec

OPTIONS AND CHARGES

Equipment Group 401A - includes: voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, blind-spot monitoring system, remote-start system, aut-dimming driver’s-side mirror, lane-keeping system, heated rear seats, heated & cooled front seats, front 180-degree split-view camera, enhanced active parking assist system, rain-sensing wipers $ 3,150

21” premium painted aluminum wheels $ 995

265/40R21 summer tires $ 995

Cargo Accessory Package - includes: retractable cargo area cover, cargo mat, rear bumper protector $ 290

Cold Weather Package - includes: heated steering wheel, all-weather floor mats $ 325

Panoramic Vista Roof $ 1,595

Inflatable Rear Safety Belts $ 195

Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning $ 1,150

Destination Charge $ 895

AWD discount -($ 500)