2007 Ford Edge
By Ann Job of MSN Autos
Automaker Ford Motor Co. has been in the news a lot in recent years, and most of the news has been bad—money-losing financial results, factory closings, employee layoffs and sagging sales that have put Ford behind Toyota as a worldwide auto company.
But Ford fans and detractors alike should find the company's newest twist on a sport-utility vehicle—the new-for-2007 Ford Edge—to be a pleasing and enlightened change of pace.
A 5-door, 5-passenger vehicle that looks like a tall-riding wagon, the Edge offers all-wheel drive, a flexible cargo area and the kind of above-the-pavement visibility and security that epitomize many SUVs, even though the midsize Edge isn't exactly an SUV.
In fact, the Edge sits on a modified car platform and rides and handles comfortably—more like a car than an SUV.
Priced like an SUV, though
That's the bad news.
The good news is the U.S. government fuel economy rating for the Edge is 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway for a two-wheel-drive model that runs on regular gasoline. This is notably higher than the 15/21-mpg rating given to the long-running, midsize Ford Explorer SUV, whose starting price is the same as that for the Edge.
Safety is standard
But I'd advise adding rear parking sensors—an option costing some $250—to help make backing up the Edge safer. Frankly, I couldn't see anything that was close to the back of the vehicle, because the lower edge of the rear window sits up high.
For the record, the Edge received the federal government's top five-out-of-five-stars rating in frontal and side crash tests save for head and chest protection for the front-seat passenger in a frontal crash. The Edge's rating was four out of five stars, instead. This compares with across-the-board five-star ratings for competitors such as the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox and Chrysler Pacifica.
One engine only
About the same length and height as a Toyota Highlander on the outside but 4 inches wider, the Edge is well-proportioned—neither too small nor too big.
All three trim levels—SE, SEL and SEL Plus—come with the same power plant: A 265-horsepower 3.5-liter, double overhead cam V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Torque, or that thrust of power that passengers can feel during aggressive acceleration, peaks at a commendable 250 lb-ft at 4500 rpm.
The power is enough for Class II towing of 3,500 pounds and gave the test Edge SEL with two-wheel-drive good get up and go, even on winding, hilly roads.
Yet the Edge was easy to drive in more leisurely travel in the city.
It has more power than many other V6-powered crossover SUVs, such as the 185-horsepower, Chevy Equinox and the 215-horsepower, 2007 Toyota Highlander.
The Edge is a bit heavy, though. Even without all-wheel drive, the test Edge tipped the scales at just over 4,000 pounds, and this heft was noticeable, especially as the vehicle moved through curves and turns.
In comparison, a two-wheel-drive Equinox weighs 3,741 pounds and a V6 Highlander with two-wheel drive as well as third-row seating—something not offered in the Edge—weighed just over 3,700 pounds as a 2007 model.
This helps explain why the Equinox and Highlander can have better fuel economy ratings than the Edge.
Commendable road manners
Steering is accurate but not twitchy, and brakes worked strongly in the test vehicle.
I found myself likening the experience to the pleasing feel of Subaru's B9 Tribeca, except that the Edge feels heavier and a bit larger.
Traction control and stability control are active in the Edge and came on during the test drive as I entered a couple tight curves a little too fast. As the hefty Edge began to swing out of its lane over the yellow line, the safety system automatically applied brakes judiciously and pulled back on the engine power to slow the vehicle. It was a more aggressive reaction than many other stability control systems I've tested.
Edge can get pricey
An Edge SEL Plus with all-wheel drive carries a lofty starting retail price of some $30,000. Add stylish chrome wheels, satellite radio and navigation system and the Edge is nearly up to $35,000.
Even a budget-conscious Edge buyer who wants to be sure the front passenger can adjust his or her seat up and down for a comfortable height must move up to an SEL model with optional Seating Flexibility Package. Unfortunately, this Edge model starts at more than $28,000.
Odds and ends
The Edge uses the platform, based on the Mazda6 sedan, that's in the new-for-2007 Mazda CX-9. But the CX-9 comes standard with three rows of seats. The Edge does not have a third row, even as an option.
Why the link to Mazda? Ford Motor Co. owns a portion of Japan's Mazda Motor Corp. and the two companies sometimes share vehicle platforms to save money and time in new-vehicle development.
Another Edge sibling is the more luxuriously appointed Lincoln MKX, which starts at more than $34,000. Like the Edge, it debuted in 2007.
Ford officials said they aren't worried about the Edge cutting into sales of midsize SUVs, such as the Explorer. Midsize SUV sales already were declining before the Edge arrived. Indeed, the company hopes the Edge attracts consumers who want to avoid lumbering, fuel-thirsty SUVs.