Out in San Francisco for an evening with four passengers in the 2015 Ford Edge, I took the opportunity to see how this crossover's turbocharged four cylinder engine would handle one of our notoriously steep hills. While driving past multimillion-dollar mansions, blazing a trail into Pacific Heights, I had to work the throttle a bit, but the Edge pulled admirably, even handling a start from stop while its snout faced the stars, obscured by the fog, of course.
My passengers, nonplussed by the hill, marveled at the panoramic sunroof extending over the back seats and giving them all a few of the foggy night sky. The Edge coddled us all in its Cognac-colored leather seats, giving the cabin a touch of old-world class. If it had been cold out, all four of us could have enjoyed the heated front and rear seats.
The Edge is Ford's five-passenger crossover, restyled for the 2015 model year, losing its former slablike look in favor of a clean and light body design. It may seem like it and the Escape occupy a similar spot in the lineup, but the slightly larger Edge goes more upscale. In Titanium trim I felt that its interior appointments competed with cars in the premium segment. It is certainly priced closer to premium models.
A base SE trim 2015 Ford Edge will only run you $28,100, but this Titanium trim model comes in at $35,600. Add the $5,845 302A equipment package, which brought in the panoramic sunroof, heated seats and a host of other goodies, along with the White Platinum paint job, and we hit $42,735 with destination. And that's for the front-wheel-drive model. Pony up about $1,500 to go all-wheel drive.
Ford doesn't offer the Edge in the UK, as the S-Max model serves the same market. Nothing called an Edge is available on Australian Ford dealer lots, either, but folks down under can think of it as an Everest with less off-road capability.
Enjoying Ford's latest equipment offerings, the Edge can be had with the aforementioned turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine, marketed as Ecoboost and good for 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, solid numbers for a car that weighs about 4,000 pounds. However, getting that kind of power out of 2-liters requires a sacrifice of linear power delivery. The Edge experiences minor turbo lag, felt in an additional power surge under acceleration.
The seriously power hungry can opt for a 2.7-liter V-6 Ecoboost engine, making 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, useful for towing an Airstream or other trailers.
A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the Edge, which gave me a Sport mode and paddles for manual gear selection along with the usual PRND modes. With a car like the Edge, sport driving isn't really in the offing, but these transmission modes come in handy for hill country or passing. I found the transmission more than ready to drop down a gear or two when I slammed the gas pedal, even at highway speeds.
EPA fuel economy comes in at 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the 2-liter engine in the Edge. I came in at 25.9 mpg, the high side of the average, although my driving was biased toward 65 mph freeways. Ford's Ecoboost engine is very efficient, but a few more gears in the transmission and an idle-stop feature would likely raise the overall fuel economy.
The Edge is a bit of a Goldilocks when it comes to ride quality, neither too soft nor too firm. On the freeway the Edge delivered a smooth, easy drive, with good noise damping in the cabin. Driving over rough patches, I was impressed by how ably the Edge handled the bumps, communicating minimal jostling into the cabin. It's a quiet and confident driver, taking some of the road stress out of even longer trips. As for the turns, the Edge behaved about average for a vehicle of its weight and ride height.
360 degree sensors
Longer road trips could be made even more stress-free if Ford's adaptive cruise control system had been optioned on this Edge. I've used this system in other Ford models, and it let me drive for literally hundreds of miles without touching gas or brake pedals. I did have Ford blind spot monitor system, a very useful safety feature even with the Edge's large, airy cabin.
Giving me little excuse to scrape a parking garage pillar or another car, this Edge came with not only rear and forward cameras, but also a new surround sonar sensor. During low-speed maneuvering in tight spaces, I was pleased to see a top-down graphic of the car with proximity warnings all around.
Camera views and the proximity graphic showed up on the Edge's touchscreen, the main interface for the MyFord Touch system which comes standard at the Titanium trim level. In the plus column, the cabin electronics include two USB ports and a hands-free Bluetooth phone system that supports Bluetooth audio streaming. Voice command over phones and MP3-laden drives plugged into and paired with the Edge is very good. After my initial round of tests with this system, I tended to keep my phone in my pocket and let its music library play randomly through the excellent Sony audio system.
That system, playing audio sources such as HD radio, satellite radio, and USB and Bluetooth devices, delivered clear and robust sound through its 12 speakers. The Sony audio comes standard with the Titanium trim, and isn't even available as an option at lesser trims.
As for the Edge's touchscreen interface itself, that leaves a lot to be desired. Response times for button pushes fell a bit slower than I'm used to from my smartphone and tablet, making the system feel sluggish. My Ford Touch arranges navigation, audio, phone and climate controls in quadrants, color-coded for easy recognition. From any of the main screens, I could touch a small area in each corner of the display to bring up one of the other functions. With navigation and audio in particular, I found myself getting into a menu structure a little too deep for use while driving.
The navigation system, while providing good route guidance with traffic avoidance, suffered from maps that were slow to refresh. I found a couple of instances where I was in immediate need of new guidance information, but the system was still drawing its maps.
CNET and many other reviewers have criticized the MyFord Touch system for its slow response times and complicated interface. Ford recently responded with, a total redesign which looks substantially improved. Although no date has been announced, the Edge will be in line for this upgrade in a future model year.
Mid-size sedan replacement
In the configuration I drove, front-wheel-drive with 2-liter Ecoboost engine and Titanium trim, the 2015 Ford Edge felt like an upscale suburban cruiser. In fact, it seemed a good replacement for the ubiquitous mid-size sedan. Similar to that segment, the Edge offers comfortable seating for five, plenty of cargo room, and an easy, get-in-and-go driving character. However, it goes a bit better with its higher-riding position. If you are worried about its size, at about 15 and a half feet, it's about the same length as a mid-size sedan, and the proximity sensors make for safer low-speed maneuvering.
The 2-liter Ecoboost is a solid choice for fuel economy and everyday driving, although it may not be up to more serious tow loads. Ford offers more powerful engine choices for drivers with those needs, at a fuel economy sacrifice.
The MyFord Touch system isn't up to the latest and greatest from the competition, and will definitely cause some moments of frustration. Focus on its phone and audio connectivity to make it more palatable, or go with a lesser trim Edge to do without it. However, Ford has some excellent driver assistance systems available on its high trim cars.
And in Titanium trim, the Edge's cabin appointments give any premium segment car a run for its money. As an upscale mid-size sedan replacement, the 2015 Ford Edge should be on your test drive list.
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|Model||2015 Ford Edge|
|Powertrain||Turbocharged direct injection 2-liter four cylinder engine, six speed automatic transmission|
|EPA fuel economy||20 mpg city/30 mpg highway|
|Observed fuel economy||25.9 mpg|
|Navigation||Optional with live traffic|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard|
|Digital audio sources||Bluetooth streaming, iOS integration, USB drive, satellite radio, HD radio|
|Audio system||Sony 390-watt 12-speaker system|
|Driver assistance||Blind spot monitor, rear view camera|
|Price as tested||$42,735|