2007 Ford Edge
Ford's newest model, the 2007 Ford Edge, marks the second in a new generation of cars from the venerable automaker that can compete in quality with European and Japanese imports. Like the Ford Fusion, the Edge takes build quality up a notch and uses generally nicer cabin materials than previous Fords. The Edge also includes cabin technology, which younger car buyers are coming to expect.
The Ford Edge is marketed as a crossover car, combining the cargo space and visibility of an SUV with the smooth ride and fuel economy of a sedan. It shares a platform with the 2007 Mazda CX-7--evident from the cars' similar body style--and is also the source of Ford's newfound quality touches. This quality can be felt in the Edge's comfortable leather seats, in its hushed cabin, and with its smoothly shifting, six-speed automatic transmission, which seems to always hit the right gear for the driving conditions.
Not fancy, but functional
Our test car was fully loaded with a navigation system; an in-dash, six-CD changer; and a ceiling-mounted DVD player for the rear seats. A touch-screen LCD acts as the interface for these systems and includes function buttons along its sides. The console is not particularly fancy--there is no multifunction knob, such as with BMW's iDrive--but it gets the job done. The LCD is a little small and can get quickly cluttered with the settings screens and their many options. But we still found it easy to select audio sources and navigation functions. The main interface is supplemented by steering wheel buttons that not only control the stereo and cruise control, but also set temperature and fan speed--a nice addition.
We like the navigation system in the Ford Edge. Setting even complex routes is intuitive, as the system lets any entered destination be set as a waypoint or as a final destination. A split-screen view shows the car's current position on the left side and route guidance on the right. The map has good resolution, and it's easy to read individual street names. Our two gripes with the system have to do with the points-of-interest (POI) database and route guidance. The POI database doesn't include all retail stores, although, as a somewhat esoteric choice, it does include bookstores in its shopping category. (Perhaps Ford is appealing to a more literate buyer with the Edge?) We also couldn't turn off or even adjust the volume of voice prompts, once route guidance was set. On the positive side, the system has text-to-speech capabilities, so voice prompts can actually pronounce the names of streets.
Once an address is entered, it can be set as a waypoint or as a final destination.
The navigation system comes integrated in a module with the premium audiophile stereo, which includes a six-CD changer located above the LCD. While the changer reads MP3 discs, we didn't find the system interface very convenient for selecting music. Instead of presenting a list of available folders, we had to push a forward button to sift through folders one at a time. The system does display ID3 tags, however, and we like its interface for choosing audio sources, with tabs at the top of the screen marked AM, FM, CD, DVD, SR (for Sirius satellite radio), and Line In.
The Line In source comes from the auxiliary audio jack, a standard component on the Edge. The jack is hidden in the center console, right next to a 12-volt power point. The console also has a convenient opening to run a cable out to an iPod or MP3 player, and it's deep enough to fit a laptop.
Choosing audio sources is easy with the tabbed interface at the top of the touch screen.
The stereo includes a digital signal processing screen, with different settings to focus the audio sweet spot on the driver, the rear seats, or the whole car. The system also includes a speed compensation setting, which automatically raises the volume as the car goes faster. Although not the finest-quality audio we've heard, the system does deliver clear, reasonably rich sound. Sound comes through nine speakers: two speakers are located at each door, and a subwoofer can be found in the cargo area.
Our review car came with an optional DVD rear-seat entertainment system mounted on the ceiling. For an Edge equipped with the panoramic sunroof option, DVD screens can be mounted in the back of the front-seat head rests. Bluetooth cell phone integration, however, is not available on the Edge.
The six-speed automatic is the best thing about the power train in the Ford Edge. It gives the car a good array of options to get the best revolutions per minute for the car speed. Similar to the Mazda CX-7, the Ford Edge is programmed for efficiency, with upshifts happening at a fairly low engine speed. Unlike the CX-7, however, the Edge doesn't have a manual gear selection mode, instead going with a Drive and a Low mode. There is also a button on the side of the shifter which engages a Hill mode. The button is poorly placed, as it can't be easily reached with a natural grip on the shifter. And under bright conditions, it's very difficult to see if the indicator light is on.
With a curb weight of 4,282 pounds for the all-wheel-drive Edge, Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 engine has its work cut out. And it doesn't always measure up. Even with 265 horsepower, the engine can't move the car very fast from a stop, and the whine it makes when the pedal is held down is almost scary.
The steering is very responsive on the Edge.
Given the car's height and weight, it's not built to carve corners, but handling is nice and tight, and steering responsive. All-wheel drive contributes to the car's grip on the road, whether for driving in bad weather or negotiating mountain roads. MacPherson struts in front and an independent suspension in back give the Edge a carlike ride, while helping with the handling.
The EPA rates the Edge for 17mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway, which is reasonable for this size of vehicle. Although our test period wasn't long enough to publish an observed fuel economy, we don't expect it to show as much variation as the Mazda CX-7, as the Edge's V-6 engine should be more consistent than the CX-7's turbo engine.
Ford brags that safety is not optional on the Edge, and the list of standard safety equipment is lengthy. It starts with full airbag coverage: the driver and front passenger are protected with front and side airbags, while side curtain airbags cover the whole cabin. Antilock brakes are also standard, as is Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control, which uses sensors to determine if the car is about to roll over or spin out, applying brakes and reducing engine power to compensate.
A sonar-based warning system gave us adequate warning before backing into solid objects. A reverse camera isn't available, however--a surprising omission given the presence of the LCD.
The base front-wheel drive 2007 Ford Edge retails for $25,995. Our all-wheel-drive SEL version started at $31,395, with options raising the price to $36,770.
We liked the Edge's well-designed interior space and were generally happy with its dashboard electronics, although we would have liked a Bluetooth option. In these regards, the Edge compares favorably with the Mazda CX-7 and the Subaru B9 Tribeca. But the Edge isn't as quick as the Tribeca and generally feels like a much heavier vehicle.