2011 Ford Edge Road Test
Changes make it More Than an Also-Ran
Ford's chrome-tastic 2011 Ford Edge crossover benefitted from as bold of a makeover as the 2010 Fusion midsize sedan. Like that midsize sedan, the changes made to the refreshed 2011 Edge make it more than just an also-ran in the marketplace. That's incredibly important considering the 2011 Edge competes in the crowded $30,000-$40,000 range of five- and seven-passenger crossovers.
The Edge is a five-seat crossover with a base price in the high-$20,000 range, just like the new seven-passenger Explorer. Why, then, would anyone get an Edge over an Explorer? Image and maneuverability probably have a lot to do with the Edge's appeal. The Edge's true segment is with the Nissan Murano and Toyota Venza, crossovers that try to have a more edgy image and are simply easier to park than vehicles like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.
While the 2011 Edge wasn't good enough to win Motor Trend magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year award, it did qualify as a finalist. The new Edge is offered with two powertrains -- for now. The volume engine is standard on the SE, SEL, and Limited models. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine is one we've seen in other Fords. In this form, it makes 285 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 253 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm.
The Sport model is now more than just badges and large wheels. For the 2011 model year refresh, Ford gave the Edge Sport a Mustang-derived 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 305 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. That extra power doesn't actually make the Sport significantly quicker than the other Edges, but it does have a sportier and stiff ride. For a comparison, Motor Trend found the Edge SEL to be cushy and compliant without wallowing. Unfortunately, the magazine's tests showed the Edge Sport's brakes to be subpar. Most of the Sport's appeal comes from its huge 22-inch polished aluminum wheels with black accents. The four-inch chrome dual exhaust tips, darkened grille, and body color lower front fascia solidify the impression that the Edge Sport is not your average family hauler.
Then again, thanks to Ford's controversial MyFord Touch technology, neither are the other 2011 Edge models. MyFord Touch is a feature that's spreading across Ford and Lincoln lineups, from the Ford Edge and Explorer to the Lincoln MKX, where it’s called MyLincoln Touch. The technology is designed to change the way in which the driver uses the vehicle's controls, from the sound system to the climate control and the optional navigation system. Voice commands and numerous buttons on the steering wheel are designed to minimize the number of times the driver must touch buttons on the center stack. Those buttons, Ford says, are made to feel like buttons on a cell phone. Some Motor Trend editors felt the MyFord Touch controls were too fussy. Ford is becoming a technology leader among mainstream automakers and we fully expect the MyFord Touch system to be refined in the near future.
Before that happens, 2011 Edge drivers will probably see combined city and highway mileage of about 20 mpg. Official ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency range from 19/27 mpg city/highway on a front-wheel-drive non-Sport model to 17/23 mpg for an all-wheel-drive Sport model. Later in 2011, a new EcoBoost I-4 engine is expected to join the lineup. This direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant is likely to be mated to a six-speed automatic (as with all Edges) and produce about 230 horsepower. Thanks to the efficient technology, mileage ratings may improve a couple ticks in the city and highway categories.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's now more strict safety crash tests starting with the 2011 model year, the Edge scored an overall four-star rating. The 2011 Edge was deemed good in the front and side impact tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but only acceptable in the roof strength test.
Nevertheless, the 2011 Ford Edge is, generally, a quality crossover. Even among Ford's own lineup, though, there are many crossovers from which to choose, like the Edge and Explorer. Crossover buyers would be wise to consider those vehicles in addition to the 2011 Edge before making a final decision.
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