Review: 2007 Ford Edge
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Ford Motor's new Edge crossover vehicle should improve the automaker's fortunes because it's stylish, roomy and has strong performance.
Ford's fairly new Fusion midsize sedan is a hit, and the Edge arrives at the right time. That's because the crossover market is rapidly expanding as consumers switch from SUVs to roomy car-based crossover vehicles that deliver better fuel economy and are easier to drive.
However, the Edge isn't a "make-or-break" Ford vehicle because preliminary estimates say only 100,000 units will be sold annually, not hundreds of thousands of units.
However, that's a fairly good number in an increasingly crowded market. And any successful vehicle will be welcome that enhances the reputation of troubled Ford, which has relied too heavily on trucks such as its Explorer SUV, which has seen declining sales as more crossovers steal former SUV buyers.
The Edge's three-bar chromed grille is similar to the Fusion's and is on its way to becoming more of a Ford trademark grille. The Edge's aggressively raked windshield and fast-sloping rear window provide the feeling of motion possessed by many successfully styled vehicles.
The Edge's wheels are pulled to the extreme corners of its body for a powerful stance and also for more secure handling and a comfortable ride. The raised beltline (area just below the windows) emphasizes the sculpted "shoulders" that are formed around sharp wheel arches.
The Edge is based on the platform of the sporty Mazda CX-7 crossover, which Mazda says has "the soul of a sports car." Ford owns part of Mazda and the CX-7 has a solid platform on which to base a good Ford-badged crossover.
The Edge has no third-row seat because Ford can't have its various vehicles "stepping on" each other. That is, Ford also sells it Freestyle and Explorer—and upcoming Fairlane—with a third seat.
The front bucket seats are supportive, but gauges seem designed more for style than function, although they're not all that hard to read. Front doors have beverage holders and storage pockets, while rear doors have juice box holders.
The front console has dual cupholders, but their cover partially blocks a driver's reach for a drink when it's opened, which seems like a silly design flaw. After all, a driver is busy driving and his reach for anything shouldn't be hindered.
The split rear seatbacks recline and also flip forward and sit flat to enlarge the spacious cargo area. An optional front passenger seatback folds forward to accommodate long objects while allowing the rear hatch to be closed. The cargo area has a conveniently low, wide opening.
The Edge comes in base SE or upscale SEL trim with front- or all-wheel drive (AWD). Prices for front-wheel-drive trim levels range from $25,320 to $29,070, while all-wheel-drive versions go for $26,970 to $30,720.
The AWD system has no low-range gearing for tough off-road driving. Ford says the Edge provides "confident all-weather (road) driving." In other words, leave the rough off-road stuff to its SUVs.
Impressive New Engine
Power is sent through a responsive new automatic transmission, which has six speeds for better performance and higher fuel economy. The automatic was developed with (no kidding) General Motors to hold down costs. There's no manual shift feature, but it's really not needed.
Fuel economy is decent: an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 25 on highways with front-wheel drive and 17 and 24 with all-wheel drive. Only 87-octane is required.
The ride is supple, and stopping distances are short during normal driving. The brake pedal has a progressive action for consistently smooth stops.
Standard safety features include anti-lock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags. The Edge also has Ford's Advance Trac with Roll Stability Control traction/anti-skid control system. Roll Stability Control is unique in that it utilizes two gyroscopic sensors.
The Edge is well-equipped. Standard SE items include manual air conditioning, speed control, AM/FM/Single CD/MP3 capable audio system with four speakers, front console—along with power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry.
Added for the SEL are a 6-way power driver's seat, premium CDx6 with nine speakers, steering wheel audio controls, unique interior treatments, overhead console, dual illuminated visor mirrors, fog lights and chrome tips for the Edge's nifty dual exhaust outlets.
A good number of options include SIRIUS Satellite Radio. But the best ones are reserved for the SEL: handsomely stitched leather seats, 6-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, remote release for second row fold-flat seats, dual automatic temperature control, audiophile sound, 18-inch (vs. standard 17-inch) wheels and DVD entertainment and navigation systems.
The engine compartment is covered by a hood held open with a prop rod instead of a more convenient hydraulic strut, but fluid filler areas can be easily reached.
The Edge should do well because it offers features many buyers of crossover vehicles—and even autos—want.