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2007 Ford Edge SEL Plus AWD Review

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2007 Ford Edge

SEE ALSO:Compare Fords - Ford Buyers Guide DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD

2007 Ford Edge SEL Plus AWD

It's no exaggeration to say the the Edge is the most important Ford vehicle since the original Explorer of 1991. But it is a very different vehicle than the Explorer.

Like many - sometimes it seems like most - new vehicles today, the Edge is a crossover, built like a car, with unibody construction and a fully-independent suspension, but styled more like an SUV. Ford calls it a "crossover utility vehicle", or CUV. Based, loosely, on the mid-size Fusion sedan, the Edge combines a distinctive look with excellent space utilization and features a new, more-powerful V6 engine.

The Edge is not Ford's first crossover, as it follows the smaller, and more SUV-ish Escape, and the slightly larger, more wagon-like, Freestyle the Blue Oval lineup. But the Edge is more directly aimed at the existing mid-size, middle- and upper-middle class crossovers from the Japanese manufacturers than the Escape or Freestyle. Is there room in that already-crowded arena for yet another entry? Ford is betting "yes" - that crossover segment is growing, quickly, and much of that growth has come at the expense of more traditional SUVs like the Explorer.

Size matters, and so the Edge is noticeably larger than the Fusion in all dimensions but overall length. Add nearly four inches in wheelbase, over three in width, and ten in height in a short-overhang package five inches shorter, and the result is a great amount of interior space in a relatively compact, easy-to-park package. It should fit into its expected urban/suburban real-world environment very well.

Three trim levels are offered, SE, SEL, and SEL Plus. All are available in front-wheel drive form, or with all-wheel drive. The only powertrain is the new 3.5-liter, 265-horsepower Duratec V6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing is competitive, ranging from $25,995 for the FWD SE to $31,395 for the AWD SEL Plus (with destination charge). A full range of options is available, to outfit an Edge in any manner up to high-tech luxury. All models hold five passengers, as Ford has (wisely, in my opinion) decided not to cram a tiny, marginally-useful, access-impaired third row in as an option. Want seven-passenger ability in a Ford crossover? Take a look at the Freestyle.

After a week with a rather fully-equipped all-wheel drive Edge SEL Plus, I'm impressed by its exterior and interior design and execution, and by its good road manners and powerful, refined drivetrain. It really is a vehicle that can interest people who would usually look to an import brand as well as domestic customers. Ford is in a tough position at the moment, but the way back to health is by making good products and the Edge is a strong step in the right direction.

APPEARANCE: Looks attract, and the Edge will neither be ignored nor mistaken for anything else. Ford's most recent styling trends, developed on the Fusion sedan, work very well on the Edge. Its tasteful combination of simple shapes, with gentle roundness and subdued angles should wear well, and look good long after it's paid off. The new-look Ford bold chrome grille establishes identity from the front; chrome-trimmed, clear-lensed taillights do so at the rear. In proportion, the Edge is unique. With a relatively long passenger cabin and short hood, it doesn't try for a rugged, outdoorsy SUV look, yet its short overhangs and high, eight-inch, clearance don't say "car" or "minivan", either. Its proportions are such that, with no external point of reference, it is very difficult to tell its size. It's bigger than it appears to be.

COMFORT: What the Edge's exterior styling really says is "space within". And that's for both passengers and cargo, with no compromises. As outside, styling is geometrically simple and not distractingly busy. Silvery plastic around the center stack and shifter, and real aluminum trim on the face of the center stack, offsets an otherwise monochromatic lower interior color scheme. Chrome bezels adorn the instruments and central air vents. Instrumentation is complete, shaded from glare, and easily read, and all controls are easy to use - even the optional touch-screen based navigation system. Front seat comfort is very good, and the rear offers excellent room for three people, helped by a nearly flat floor. In the SEL Plus, night access is improved by puddle lamps, and there is power adjustment, heat and memory for the front seats, leather upholstery all around, and a 60/40 split to the rear seat by means of the "easyfold" power release. Each side reclines separately. With the rear seat flat, there is a nearly six-foot load floor. Under that can be, if so specified, the "Rear Cargo Management System", which divides the area around the space-saver spare into useful compartments for small items best kept hidden from prying eyes. There are power points at the bottom of the stack, the rear of the console, and in the cargo area - plus another one next to a mini-jack for a music player inside of the console box. And the console box is large enough to fit a small laptop or two. Need to fit something really long inside? Fold the front passenger seat forward, along with the rear seat. The Edge has a minivan-like interior reconfigurability.

SAFETY: The Edge surrounds its passengers with a unibody structure designed to absorb crash energy in a controlled manner, from all directions. Occupants are further protected by front, seat-mounted side, and Safety Canopy(tm) side curtain airbags, and the AdvanceTrac¨ and Roll Stability Control¨ electronic traction and stability control systems. Powerful four-wheel antilock, vented disc brakes are standard.

RIDE AND HANDLING: On the road, the Edge feels like a car. There is no truck in its ancestry, and that shows. The fully-independent, MacPherson strut front, multilink rear suspension is tuned moderately, with an emphasis on a smooth, comfortable ride. But it controls body motion well, and the Edge has good manners on backroads as well as superslab. It feels lighter than its rather hefty 4282-pound curb weight (in SEL AWD trim), with quick response to driver inputs. Interior noise levels are low, for less driver and passenger fatigue.

PERFORMANCE: If the Duratec name is familiar, that and six cylinders in a 60-degree vee alloy block are about the only similarities between the Edge's new 3.5-liter engine and the venerable 3.0-liter unit still found in most other Fords. Not only is it larger and more powerful, with 265 horsepower (at 6250 rpm) and 250 lb-ft of torque (at 4500 rpm), it uses variable intake cam phasing and electronic throttle control for improved refinement and power output with lower emissions and fuel consumption. Even with a high 10.3:1 compression ratio, it runs on regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline. It's matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with software and hardware control that ensure smooth, quick shifts and optimum performance. The Intelligent AWD all-wheel drive system works seamlessly with the AdvanceTrac stability and traction control system to apportion torque front to rear and side to side for optimum traction in all conditions. Acceleration is quite good for a 4300-lb vehicle, with 60 coming up in less than eight seconds, but that mass showed in 17-mpg fuel consumption in mostly city and backroad driving.

CONCLUSIONS: Ford has a good handle on the future with its Edge CUV.


2007 Ford Edge SEL Plus AWD

Base Price			$ 30,720
Price As Tested			$ 36,480
Engine Type			dual overhead cam 24-valve aluminum
				 alloy V6 with variable
				 intake cam phasing
Engine Size			3.5 liters / 213 cu. in.
Horsepower			265 @ 6250 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)			250 @ 4500 rpm
Transmission			6-speed automatic
Wheelbase / Length		111.2 in. / 185.7 in.
Curb Weight			4282 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower		16.2
Fuel Capacity			20.0 gal.
Fuel Requirement		87 octane unleaded regular gasoline
Tires				P245/60 TR18 Continental Cross Contact
Brakes, front/rear		vented disc / vented disc, ABS, traction 
				and roll stability control standard
Suspension, front/rear		independent MacPherson strut /
				  independent multilink
Ground clearance		8.0 inches
Drivetrain			transverse front engine, all-wheel drive

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
    city / highway / observed		17 / 24 / 18
Towing capacity				3500 lbs. with towing package
0 to 60 mph				7.7  sec

Chrome wheels with P245/60 R18 tires			$750
Class II trailer towing package and heavy-duty battery	$350
Navigation system with Audiophile CDX6 sound		$2,380
Rear cargo management system				$ 65
DVD rear entertainment center				$ 1,295
Reverse sensing system					$245
Black roof rails 					$95
Destination and delivery				$675