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Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Edge Sport AWD

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Car Tech Video: 2011 Ford Edge Sport AWD

7:34 /

Ford's first car with the new MyFord Touch interface.

-The Ford Edge, it's the Ford Fusion in crossover form, more or less. But the world's already choked on compact, car-based SUVs. What we need now is a leap forward in cabin interface and what it controls, and that's exactly where the spotlight falls as we drive the 2011 Ford Edge Sport All-Wheel Drive, and check the tech. The 2011 Edge is the first revamp since this vehicle launched as a 2007. Generation 2 features a new face with a deep chrome cow catcher, can't miss it, and a nicely redone interior. But most importantly to the CNET crowd, this is the first ride with Ford's new myFord Touch Interface, which will also hit on the 2011 Lincoln MKX. It's a fairly radical departure in terms of how you control things on the dash. But there are quite a few asterisks around the edge of this Edge. Well, the first thing you notice getting into this new Edge is a great cabin design. This is, I think for the first time I could say, an import-quality interior, very understated, and the layout is just very nicely done, very high-end. That struck me right away. The next thing that hits you, of course, are the 1, 2, 3 LCD displays. And this, of course, is all part of the myFord Touch magic. So, you've got 2 four-ish-inch LCDs that brace the speedometer there. Each one has a dedicated controller here on the steering wheel. On the left-hand side, you've got things like a display mode, your trip odometer, some fuel economy included in that useless instantaneous stuff that you shouldn't care about, a whole bunch of settings----lots of things to dig into there. On the right-hand side, you have more of your outboard modules; so the entertainment menu, phone menu, compass, and your climate control. Then you get to the big screen here. Here's your 8-inch LCD. All of this, of course, is tied into one system, but over here, you handle the things you'd expect to. Right below that, you've got another touch panel, piano-black, Sony-branded. This is your entertainment and HVAC, kind of interestingly blended into one seamless piece of plastic. Now here's where I start to have my first gripe. A lot of this stuff is really great looking. The stuff over here on the 4-inch display, this works really well and responds well. But up here, the touchscreen and this touch panel are sort of annoying. You can't calibrate this touchscreen like you can on many smart phones, for example. For some people, it doesn't respond without a couple of pushes and presses. And when it does, it seems to be under-processored. Things don't happen fast enough for me. This dramatically new interface controls a mix of existing and pending features that are part of Ford's vaunted SYNC platform. You've got 4 zones on this guy. The upper left is your phone and communications. I've got my Droid hooked up. On the lower left is your media entertainment area. We have AM/FM, HD radio. Ford's pretty big on HD radio. It's executed well here in terms of display and being able to recognize and access those alternate HD channels. Sirius Satellite Radio, also Travel Link for weather, sports scores, gasoline prices, and traffic. Of course, there's live traffic here; single slot CD right there. If I get down here to USB, I've got a couple of things plugged in. One is my iPod Touch. I've also, strangely enough or not so strangely, got a Zune plugged in through the USB port. There are 2 by the way, the first car I've seen that has 2 right by each other like that. But it won't recognize the Zune, either of 2 Zunes I've got. Are they telling me something? Has Microsoft dropped support for the Zune? Now check this out. You got a whole menu for wireless internet. If you're near a Wi-Fi hotspot and not moving, or if you're got your, let's say, Sprint Overdrive or your Verizon Mi-Fi, that can be your hotspot. Or, you can stick one of those USB 3G dongles in here that you get from your wireless company, and that will be your ongoing connection. Or, you can use the Bluetooth data tether through your phone. The fuzziness continued when trying to have SYNC display and read an incoming text from Bluetooth-connected Droid 2. It just didn't work. Ford says aside from RIM's Blackberry Torch, pretty much no other phones at this moment are enabling that portion of Bluetooth that makes the texting feature work in this car. Now, if I had paired, let's say a Blackberry Torch and presumably got the text reading and reply feature to work, I would have had the very desirable ability to dictator applied to a text after hearing. Nice! Except that verbal reply feature only works when the car is stopped or going less than 3 miles an hour. One major feature we're still awaiting is Ford's SYNC Mobile Apps, where an app on your smart phone will transfer its interface and control to the head unit. It will be on the big screen. That launch is late 2010 on the Ford Fiesta with the simple head unit, but not until summer 2011 on cars like this with the big 3-LCD myFord Touch. Now the engine is an interesting story on this Sport version of the Edge. It's a 3.7-liter V6, 305 horsepower, 280 foot-pounds of torque. 17/23 is your MPG with all-wheel drive. You could also get front-wheel drive and get a little better than that, not dramatically. But if you get one of the lesser vehicles, like an SEL trim which is right below this, you get a 3.5-liter V6. That's about that much difference folks. And Motor Trend found that a SEL is faster than this car, not quite sure why. This one weighs more. It's got more equipment. It has gigunda 22-inch wheels versus 19s, which I think might sap some of the torque getting to the road, and they're probably heavier wheels as well. So, it's kind of a bragger's victory, but not really a reality victory to get this bigger motor. Now, an Edge Sport definitely moves well. But, I think the Sport badge is a tad trim-related more than performance-related. The suspension is not punishingly firm, which is good, but it's also not a canyon carver. And the engine response is basically what you'd expect from a 6-speed automatic. When I dropped back into the manual gate, then my paddles are active and I can, of course, go to any gear I want and hold it there. But this car feels more, oh, trim than sporty. In all the time I spent driving this car, I never failed to be wowed by the quality and the visual splash of this myFord Touch Interface. I mean, I play with this stuff for a living on notebooks and netbooks and iPads and smart phones and cars, and I thought there was too much going on. Now, the blind spot technology's pretty simple. It's bliss! The Blind Spot Information System, I get an amber LED right there in the mirror when I've got a car in my blind spot; cross-traffic alert when you're backing out of a driveway in the traffic, let's say. I think it also does a really good job there of picking up cars that are, you know, up to a few car lengths away that are approaching you in a t-bone manner. Now, let's price this guy. 2011 Ford Edge Sport Front-Wheel Drive is $36,200; add $1,850 for all-wheel drive like on our car. And again, it's kind of an urban all-wheel drive. Now, to go CNET style, a few things you wanna add. There's a Vision Package. That one's only $400 and that will get you the blind spot and the cross-traffic tech. Then there's the Nav Package. That brings in, for just $800, the ability to slide nav on an SD card and to get all the Sirius Travel Link technologies as well. The other thing you might consider, although it's kinda pressy, is the Driver Entry Package for $895. You get keyless access plus those Ford push buttons to get in. That's a Ford thing. You also get a push-button starter, I could pass on that; power lift gate, kinda nice; and a perimeter alarm.

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