The Ford Edge crossover SUV fits between the compact Escape and the large midsize Explorer. Now in its second generation, redesigned for the 2015 model year, the popular Edge is based upon the same foundation as the Ford Fusion sedan.
Except for a new option group, featuring gray wheels and trim pieces, little has changed for the 2018 model year.
Ford offers three engine possibilities and four trim levels: Edge SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport. Base engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder, making 220 horsepower. When running on Premium (93-octane) gasoline, output escalates substantially: to 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.
Next up is a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 280 horsepower and 250 pound-feet. Strong choice, standard in Sport trim, is a twin-turbo, 2.7-liter V6 that generates 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque when running on Premium-grade gasoline.
Each engine mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive an option. The Sport edition comes only with all-wheel drive.
As expected by its dimensions, the Edge is more spacious inside than Ford’s Escape. In terms of appearance, it’s sleeker than the huge Expedition with its truck foundation, or even the unibodied Explorer.
Like many vehicles today, the Edge can be equipped with some of the latest active-safety technology. But most features are optional rather than standard, available only on upper trim levels. Available safety systems include blind-spot monitoring, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and a 180-degree front-end camera setup.
All Edges have a rearview camera and a driver’s knee airbag. Inflatable rear seatbelts are optional. Top Edge models get a large, configurable instrument cluster to replace the usual gauge setup.
Except for one instance, crash-test scores have been good. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Ford’s Edge a five-star overall rating, with five stars for individual tests as well. Crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety resulted in Good scores, with the exception of an Acceptable rating for the more stringent small-overlap frontal-impact test. That score kept Edge from receiving a Top Safety Pick designation.
The 2018 Ford Edge SE ($29,220) comes with the 2.0-liter turbo four engine, 6-speed automatic, cloth seats, air conditioning, cruise control, SYNC, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD player, and 18-inch alloy wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $895 destination charge.)
All-wheel drive ($1,995) is available on many models. Front-wheel drive is standard.
Edge SEL ($31,955) adds power front seats, rear parking sensors, LED signature lighting, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated power mirrors. Options include the 3.5-liter V6 engine, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation.
Edge Titanium ($35,930) gets a 12-speaker Sony audio system, heated front seats, hands-free liftgate, SYNC 3 infotainment, a sunroof, and 19-inch wheels.
Edge AWD Sport ($40,675) has distinctive styling cues, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive steering, SYNC 3, leather-trimmed seats with sueded cloth inserts, a hands-free liftgate, and 20-inch wheels.
Similarities to Ford’s other crossover SUVs are minimal. Designers chose instead to give the Edge a clean, more spartan appearance. Few suggestions of the familiar tough-truck, hard-duty themes are evident. As a result, the Edge seems more likely to deliver longer-lasting appeal than some companions and competitors.
At the same time, nothing about the design is likely to alter the entire crossover-SUV category. For instance, the front end is appropriately slanted, while the Edge profile includes somewhat thick pillars. An appropriate-size grille neatly balances the relatively large front end.
Although the Edge cabin is subtle, if not austere, its materials are nicely textured. Plentiful space for people and cargo adds to its appeal. So do the soft-touch surfaces and the comparatively tall dashboard, though considerable glossy black trim is used.
Seats are less appealing, those in front suffering from skimpy padding and flat,short cushioning. Supportive bolsters are largely absent, detracting further from comfort.
The back seat amounts to little more than a flat, rather hard bench. Installation of a panoramic sunroof cuts significantly into headroom.
Rear seatbacks recline and fold to create a large cargo well. Volume behind the second-row seats total 39.2 cubic feet, expanding to 73.4 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded. Small-item storage is bountiful.
In the Sport edition, perforated-leather front seats lack bolstering and contouring, but lateral support beats that of the regular seats.
Actual knobs, buttons, and switches control many functions. Controls for the climate system are helpfully identified. Active noise cancellation quiets the cabin, though not in every model.
Quick, nicely weighted steering helps give any Edge an eager feel. Steering and ride control don’t differ much from the related Fusion sedan. Ford’s electric power steering has ample on-center feel and tracks neatly on the highway.
Parking maneuvers can be accomplished without struggling back and forth with the steering wheel. Adaptive steering, standard on Titanium and Sport models, amplifies effort at lower speeds. Brakes can seem a little touchy at times, but they produce reassuring halts.
Unless big tires are mounted, the Edge’s ride is carefully composed and admirably controlled. The combination of a stiff body and an independent suspension translates to precision road feel and excellent body stability.
Performance is satisfying with any engine. Budget-minded buyers should appreciate the standard 220-horsepower turbo four, which develops smooth power even at low-end speeds, with little turbo lag.
Though low-end torque is less evident from the optional 3.5-liter V6, passing power beats that of the turbo power. More traditional than the turbo, the V6 ranks as a reliable all-around performer. Transmission downshifts are quick and crisp with each engine.
More than some vehicles dubbed Sport, the Edge variant deserves its model designation but suffers a stiff ride, battling potholes and harsh pavement. Special steering ensures lower-speed agility, but stiffer shock absorbers roughen the experience. Enthusiasts are likely to enjoy ts responsive turbo V6 and quick steering, along with the taut ride and gurgling exhaust.
Real-world fuel economy might fall short of EPA estimates. A 2017 base Edge with 2.0-liter turbo four was EPA-rated at 20/29 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive was rated at 20/27/23 mpg. The 3.5-liter V6 was EPA-rated at 17/26 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined with front-drive. The all-wheel-drive Sport edition, with twin-turbo V6, was rated at 17/24/19 mpg.
Exuding an uncomplicated aura, any Edge delivers a pleasant drive, helped by sharp road behavior. Four trim levels should appeal to quite a range of crossover-SUV customers. Lower-end models may compete against Honda and Hyundai compact crossovers. A stiff ride limits the appeal of the Sport model.
Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.