Mountain Wheels: Ford’s Edge crossover gets the turbocharged treatment
October 26, 2012
I’ve got a feeling that you’re going to find most of the same material I enjoyed in the 2012 version of the Ford Edge in the 2013 renditions of this popular crossover – though the tricky blacked-out grille and bigger wheels available on the Sport model certainly do give it a little extra swagger, as they do on the long and boxy Flex, as well.
Ford’s round-ish crossover SUV is, on the whole, a nice piece of work, and a winner in that all-important Urban Stature Test. That is, it’s substantial enough and has a big enough vertical presence to fend off the road-raging hordes, even when outfitted in abuse-heaping Michigan plates.
And my test vehicle, a front-wheel-drive SEL model, also featured the 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged, direct-injection engine (a $995 option), imparting the sorta-big Edge with lots of torquey power but substantially improved mileage.
If you do the math, it works out – though not quite in an epic hybrid style, of course. The standard 3.5-liter V6 will get you slightly more horsepower (285 HP) but is only good for 22 combined mpg, 27 on the highway; the smaller EcoBoost block makes 240 horses and a much higher and steeper 270 lb.-ft. of torque, and is also good for up to 30 mpg, with a 24 mpg combined average. (Speed-demons can also upgrade to the Sport and its 305-HP 3.7-liter V6, though mileage drops to 22 mpg combined.)
The turbo’s torque is probably the biggest benefit, as it rather effortlessly hauls Edge’s 4,000 pounds of sheet metal around in a sprightly fashion. There can be just a tad of turbo lag if you stomp it on an on-ramp but once the power kicks in, it’s rather impressive.
You just need to be mindful of Edge’s stature: Handling is a little on the bulky side, though it’s pretty evenly balanced and the steering feel is good, but don’t overdo it with all that turbo boost. I also would have enjoyed more flexibility in shifting, but this particular Edge’s six-speed automatic featured only a Low mode and an overdrive button for those hilly climbs and descents.
Edge’s overall dimensions and general feel are unchanged since its 2006 debut and its round-but-not-too-round look, comfortable seating height and overall cabin dynamics are pleasant and amply commodious. My SEL lacked a power liftgate (the manual one is a little heavy, I noted) but if you flatten the rear seating, you get a significant, carpeted storage space with 69 cubic feet of storage.
Both front and rear seating is comfortable, maybe just a bit on the stiff side with my car’s leather comfort package, and the front cabin shows off the pleasantly futuristic dash and console details: Some red highlight stitching, silver-painted trim, stippled metal-effect inserts on the dash and a bit of chrome trim around the cupholders and shift lever.
Having been through the paces with several Ford offerings, I got into the car’s wheel-mounted controls a little more – turns out you can adjust the temperature and fan speed without your fingers leaving the wheel. Video screens to the left and right of the oversized (and curiously 110 mile per hour-centered) speedometer do require a bit of attention-straining flipping back and forth through menus, but that’s much preferable to reaching over and poking the MyFordTouch video screen.
Yes, there’s voice recognition and eventually you’ll be able to learn all the shortcuts and use nearly all of the car’s entertainment, navigation and even climate controls by voice command; in the meantime, the 2012 video screen was still a little fiddly and even a simple task like increasing the size of the navigation map requires a precise poke on a too-small button. Weather and ski conditions are available but definitely should be dialed up by voice, or your navigator.
The center stack’s touch-controlled buttons do feature better response and were easier to find and operate than the flat and all-black controls on the Taurus, for instance.
Safety systems are also plentiful, including a slightly too sensitive rear warning chime, and a backup camera.
FYI: the 2013 models do include a few extra do-dads, including a sport mode on the SelectShift automatic transmission and a further updated version of the SYNC system. There are also more AWD versions of the various builds.