The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Ford Edge Sport

By Steve Purdy Detroit Bureau

SEE ALSO: Ford Buyers Guide

We picked up our Edge Sport on a sunny winter day just after a substantial snowstorm. I should have photographed it in the parking lot before we headed home because the melting snow and salt covered this big, good-looking, 5-passenger crossover before we had gotten back to the highway. The practical and technologically advanced front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive in this case) Edge has been around for a few years but this one looks unusually striking because of the color, special trim and those huge 22-inch wheels.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Ford Edge Sport

Minimal chrome, lots of flat black trim and cool vertical accent lights on the lower front fenders make this one stand out in a crowd. Lower fascias front and rear match the body color for a bolder, more monochromatic look. Special side rocker moldings, also painted body color, make it look a bit lower, in fact it is just a few millimeters lower than the regular Edge. But those 22-inch, five-spoke, polished aluminum, two-tone wheels, shod with low-profile (265/40) Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires, are primarily what make it look so “sporty.”

We weren’t far down the road when its other sporty elements made themselves known – suspension tuning and engine performance.

Though I haven’t driven the other Edge models for 2011 I’m guessing by the feel that the fully independent suspension, while geometrically and structurally the same, is tuned with more stiffness. Our tester also has all-wheel drive, which requires a bit more stiffness as well. This Sport model, I thought, may be a bit rigid for some tastes. Our country road has had little maintenance in the past few years and the uneven pavement made for substantial jumpiness. If you like a stiff, in-control feel though, you’ll like this one.

Under the hood we find quite an engaging power plant. Tucked tightly into the engine compartment this 3.7-liter, Duratec, V6 with variable valve timing makes a solid 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine that powers the impressive base Mustang, by the way. We feel the torque early in the power range partly because of the true dual, tuned exhaust. Many mainstream cars these days claim dual exhaust when the system splits somewhere downstream of the catalytic converter - “dual” amounting to maybe two resonators and dual outlets – great looking but not particularly advantageous in terms of power enhancement. In this case the pipes come off the exhaust manifolds and remain separate as well as perfectly equal in length – an engineering feature common to racecars and hot rods.

An efficient 6-speed automatic transmission allows us to feel the shifts and is controllable with paddles on the steering wheel, in case we like to shift ourselves. Acceleration and grip with those big tires and our optional all-wheel drive is great even on snow. Getting onto the freeway with a short ramp is not a problem. Fuel mileage is listed at 24-mpg on the highway, 18 in the city and 20 combined using regular fuel. Our on-board computer showed an average of 18.8 since it was reset. That’s not bad considering the rough weather around here.

Safety features include all the airbags you might expect and, like most vehicles in this class, all the chassis dynamics are standard - ABS, traction control, stability control, and rollover mitigation. Our test car has the optional blind spot warning system as well - lights in the side-view mirrors that glow whenever someone is in the lane next to you and near your rear. It does get fooled, though, if you are on a narrow two-lane with trees close to the roadside.

Click PLAY to watch a Ford Edge Sport video

Inside the Edge Sport I found an attractive and comfortable but confusing environment. Materials, fit and finish are excellent and the aesthetics of the interior and dash designs strike me positively. But I found the controls difficult to manage in a variety of ways.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Ford Edge Sport

With standard leather seating and trim the Sport has a near-luxury feel and ambiance. Seats are a bit softer and flatter than I would expect in a sport model but it is easy to mount and dismount. Rear seat backs fold 60/40 for extra cargo capacity. Folded we have almost 70 cubic-feet of space and with the backs in position we still have 32.2 cubic-feet. The optional folding front seat back will allow 8 foot-long cargo as well.

Standard on all but the base SE model Ford’s dual-zone, electronically controlled heat and AC have basic controls readily available on the floating center stack’s buttonless panel but to change mode, for example, you must go into the electronic system. The audio controls, HVAC and other essentials are only accessible from inside the system, no more rows of buttons and knobs on the dash and center stack. I must say, though, that system is not particularly intuitive. I thought all week that we did not have heated seats or even control over fan direction. I finally found them in the HVAC screen.

Now, let me acknowledge up front that I remain technology-averse and am having trouble keeping up with things like Sync and MyFord Touch. Integrating a smart phone, MP3 player, WiFi and all the other things you can do with these systems is not something that is important to me, but I can say with confidence that Ford is leading the pack with all this connectivity and sophisticated interactivity. In fact, if you are the kind of person who gets excited about learning all the functions of your new smart phone or iPad or other device you’ll love this. For me, it seems like answers to a couple hundred questions I never asked.

Warranty covers the Edge bumper to bumper for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the drivetrain for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Not the best in the industry. Ford has, though, earned more than its share of quality awards over the past 5 years.

Pricing on the Ford Edge starts at less than $28,000 for the basic SE model and the Sport shows a base price of $36,735. Our Sport with all-wheel drive lists at $38,070, and with a few minor extras and destination charge it’s just over 40 grand.

This Ford Edge Sport is an upscale, sporty, practical crossover that ought to be on your shopping list if you’re in this market.

Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved