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2007 Ford Edge Crossover Utility Vehicle Review


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

FORD EDGE
Nice But Not Edgy
By Steve Purdy
TheAutoChannel.com
Detroit Bureau

We had the opportunity to drive the new Ford Edge in and around San Francisco last year before it was introduced to the public. Most of the assembled media, a usually critical bunch, were favorably impressed. I know I was. I was particularly fond of the looks, ride and handling which I thought were as well balanced and pleasant as any of that genre of vehicles I had driven. Now we have one for a week so we’ll get a better sense of whether it can compete in one of the most intensive and important market segments – the mid-size crossover segment, or CUV.

Edge is the new CUV version of Fords mid-size sedan - Fusion. Lincoln also has a version called MKX which we’ll be testing in a few weeks. The platform, or architecture, from which these vehicles are derived also underpins the Mazda 6 and Mazda CX7, both competent and respected rides. Ford is getting plenty of good products from this platform and they are doing an admirable job of differentiating them from one another.

The shape of the thing is impressive. Think of a more squared-in-the-rear version of Nissan’s innovative Murano. With big tires, wheels stretched far out to the corners of the vehicle, broad and sturdy stance and styling that catches one’s eye. Ford’s typical horizontal three-bar chrome grille gives Edge an imposing look augmented by chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets. Not as eye-catching perhaps as the Murano was at first blush, but eye-catching none-the-less.

The interior design is particularly well thought out. Space is used well. A small indented area at the atop the center stack makes a nice little shelf for loose stuff. A larger tray at the front of the console will keep things from rolling away and a little cubby at the bottom of the stack is handy to hide small things. Fit and finish inside are excellent as are the materials. Nothing garish or distracting interferes with the classy look inside. The black leather seats are sewn with off-white stitching – very sporty looking and mighty comfortable. Rear seats recline a bit to make our rear seat passengers feel special.

Cargo capacity is good, but not exceptional. Lots of other vehicles in this class are better in that regard. We have about 32 square-feet behind the rear seats, and about 70 square-feet with the rear seat folded.

Power is more than adequate for this relatively heavy vehicle. This all new 3.5-liter, 60-degree V6 with 4 valves-per-cylinder and twin cams makes 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. EPA estimates that it will get between 17 and 24 miles/gallon. We are getting exactly 20 mpg average this week, if the car’s on-board computer is accurate. Our AWD version has a 20-gallon fuel tank. This thing weighs over 4,500 pounds, considerably more than most of its competitors.

The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission and a viscous-coupling automatic All-Wheel-Drive. Torque is automatically sent to where it is needed including up to 100% in the rear if that becomes appropriate. I found that the shifts were smooth and predictable until we pushed it too hard. Passing traffic on my way into town I put my foot to the floor accessing what we used to call passing gear. It was jerky and indecisive when downshifting as it didn’t seem to know what gear it wanted to be in. Likewise, when I tried to downshift with the switchgear. There are only two forward positions, D and L. I moved it into L-(low) while moving along about 60 mph and it thrust itself in too-low. I have no way of telling what gear it actually went into but the rpms went up too high too-quickly, so I popped it back into D. If Ford did just one thing to improve this vehicle it sould be to add a manual mode to this otherwise fine transmission.

Braking is not a strong point of the Edge according to many of the other reviewers who have done more extensive testing than have I. We have disc brakes at all four wheels but they are not vented and did not perform up to expectations, say those other pundits. During my week with the Edge I felt nothing to indicate a deficit, but I didn’t do any panic stop testing either.

Our test car has the optional DVD screen for our back seat passengers so we don’t have the super-duper panoramic moonroof that stretches over the back seat as well as the front. The front section opens up but the back does not. Still it would be quite a treat to ride in the back on a dark summer night with a full moon and clear skies.

No third row seat option is available though it appears there would be room for a small one. Many of Edge’s competitors have the third seat. Apparently, Ford believes they have enough vehicles with a third seat in the Freestyle and other SUVs.

Pricing for the Edge begins at $25,995 but most are around 30-grand or more. Once you add AWD, a nav system and a few other options the price is climbing into a range that we expect to find luxury CUVs occupying.

Our “SEL Plus AWD” shows a base price of $30,720. That would include All-Wheel-Drive, of course, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, the chrome-tipped dual exhaust, rear spoiler, leather seats, 6-way power heated front seats, in-dash 6-CD player with standard audio-input jack (a class exclusive, Ford claims), dual-zone temperature controls, particulate air filter, a premium package, automatic dim rear view mirror, ABS and other stuff we would expect on a fully equipped CUV. Options on this one include 18-inch wheels with all-season 60-series tires, heavy-duty battery, DVD-based navigation system, reverse parking sensors, Sirius radio with six-months service, an the DVD rear entertainment system. With the $675 destination charge it all adds up to $36,730. Not out of line for what we’re getting, I guess.

Warranty is 3-years/36,000-miles comprehensive, 5-years/60,000-miles on the powertrain and 5-years/60,000-miles for roadside assistance.

One little niggle needs attention. There is no remote release for the rear hatch. We were coming across the tunnel from Windsor to Detroit and the boarder agent managing the line we were in was making almost everyone open their trunks and hatches. Most seem to have remotes because none got out of the vehicle. I could not find one – but when it was our turn to be examined she didn’t ask to look at our behind.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved