2009 Ford Edge Expert Review:Autoblog
Twenty-two inch wheels. A chocolate bar shy of two feet, the 2009 Ford Edge Sport has alloys the size of manhole covers. Despite being made of aluminum, these wheels pull the eyes of onlookers magnetically. The big rollers are not everyone's cup of tea, but they're the defining feature of the Edge Sport – even the standard Sport model kicks it with 20s. Ford adds even more visual slickness to the Edge Sport with smoked lenses for the head- and tail-lamps that go along with an uncommonly tasteful bodykit. We spent a week to-ing and fro-ing with an Edge Sport just to see if those rollers crushed our kidneys into renal failure, or if this crossover's aggressive looks are matched to a chassis that you can get along with every day. Click on the jump to find out.
Photos Copyright ©2009 John Neff / Weblogs, Inc.
Surprisingly, the Ford Edge Sport is not a four-wheeled meat tenderizer. Ride quality is always a subjective land mine where one man's buttoned down is another man's harsh, but the Edge Sport pulls off its outsized sneakers. The Sport is firmer than other Edge models, partly due to the tires matched with the 22s – high performance 40-series Pirelli all seasons sporting a 265 millimeter cross-section.
Beyond tires that would be aggressive for any street car, the unsprung mass of such gigantic hunks of metal at each corner could make for terribly bad vibes from behind the wheel. To bolster its chance for success, Ford set its suspension tuners upon the big CUV. The result is increased damping rates all around, stiffer rear springs and an additional millimeter of diameter for the front anti-roll bar, now 34mm.
The attention given to the suspenders works well out in the wild, with the 22s costing surprisingly little in terms of ride quality over the standard 20s with which the Sport ships. The Edge's normal poise is there, with noticeably tight rebounding that keeps ride motions on the well-disciplined side of firm. For drivers that find the typical soft, slow-witted dynamics of most SUV/CUVs objectionable, the Edge Sport shows that the segment can be tuned for something other than lumbering mush.
Mechanically, the Edge Sport isn't terribly different from its other brethren. The same 3.5-liter V6 and slick-operating six-speed automatic transmission are here. The 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque that this engine delivers will pull the 4,000-plus pounds around with satisfying snap when the tachometer needle swings north. Admittedly, however, those gigundo hoops promise performance that the engine bay can't muster. EcoBoost anyone?
The Edge Sport's braking prowess is a bit of a letdown from the rest of the mechanical harmony. While pedal feel is reasonably good, there's surprisingly little return without a firmer-than-normal braking foot. Peering through the spokes of those big wheels just adds aesthetic disappointment to the performance shortcoming. With Conestoga-sized wheels, the standard rotors and calipers appear puny. More rotor diameter would not only add visual horsepower, but might actually result in more responsive brakes to boot. At the very least, a color on the calipers would have been a nice touch, though perhaps it's better to avoid drawing any attention to the otherwise stock hardware.
Ford's 6F transmission is smooth like butter and still responsive in this age of recalcitrant self-shifters. Gear changes do not slam harshly or snap heads, even at wide open throttle, and the optional all-wheel drive system flattens any torque steer that may try to rear its head. The front-drive Edge Sport would save you some bucks and a little weight, and AWD doesn't figure to be as helpful in foul weather thanks to those those big wheels and steamroller rubber. If you live where it snows, a winter wheel/tire package for this vehicle would be money well spent.
In any weather, the Edge Sport's interior is a comfortable place to spend time. Seats are covered with a combination of leather and perforated Alcantara, held together by French stitching. They're some of the best in Ford's furniture warehouse, but having power adjustment for fore/aft and seat bottom tilt teamed with a manual lever for rake seems strange. At least the mechanisms should remain reliable over time with no drive cables for the seatback.
Metallic trim accents the center stack with the Sport logo embossed as a pattern, lest you forget where you are. It's an Edge SEL inside otherwise, meaning attractively designed, rendered nicely, mostly in good materials and long-haul comfortable. Most option boxes are pre-ticked for Edge Sports, but there are ways to spend more than the $35,770 base price of our AWD tester. $1995 will buy the Premium Package that nets you heated, power-operated front seats; climate control; a power liftgate; integrated garage door opener and heated mirrors with puddle lamps. Additionally, those wheels that have everyone talking will cost you a grand, and the massive Vista Roof, which makes the interior feel open and airy, will lighten your wallet by another $1595.
Switchable ambient lighting is more of a novelty than anything else, but it comes standard, along with Sync. Ford's world-beating navigation system is only available with the Premium Package, so while the nav option is $2380, you have to spend nearly two grand just to get the chance to spend even more. The only other high-buck option is a rear-seat DVD system that puts screens in the headrests. Smaller additions to the options list will run you in the hundreds. All tallied, one can easily push the Edge into market waters infested with exceptionally stiff competition.
The Edge Sport we borrowed from Ford was solidly in the low $40,000s, with room to go. That pricing level sees the Edge Sport butting heads with a Lexus RX350 that carries a more luxe interior – one possibly even optioned up with a premium package. While a topped-out Edge is going to have more stuff for less money than a similarly priced Lexus and the Ford may be more pleasing to enthusiasts, it's out of its league when the needle on the cash-o-meter swings past $40,000. Also puzzling is the fact that the Edge Sport fits in above the Limited trim level, while actually offering less off the bat.
At least the body enhancements look like a million bucks, making the extra thousands feel like a bargain when you set your gaze upon the Edge Sport. The unique lower fascias front and rear and rocker panels are body color, exhaust tips are larger on the Sports, and of course there are those chromey wheels, either as 20s or 22s. With the Edge Sport, Ford takes an already good vehicle and trims, tucks and tweezes it into something entirely more compelling. The actual reasons for the Edge Sport's existence might be murky – perhaps Ford didn't want Toyota to have a lock on titanic wheels with its Venza.
The Edge Sport delivers a lot to like. It's very comfortable, performs well and looks great. Price-wise, it's mildly painful and flirts with competition that, while admittedly focused on a different buyer, offers much more prestige for about the same price. There's a lot of pleasure to be had behind the wheel, though. We drove the Edge Sport all over the place while enjoying the change in attitude these tweaks have wrought. It may not be a sports car or stuffed to the gills with bone-crushing horsepower, but the Edge Sport does live up to its badging with a touch more capability and discipline, and it adds a big wallop of style inside and out that's unique among blue-collar Detroit offerings. That distinction may be exactly where the Edge Sport belongs, as it offers something that's a bit of a reach for the brand, yet has no direct competitors, preferring instead to crash the party of a more elite clique.
Photos Copyright ©2009 John Neff / Weblogs, Inc.
UPDATE: The Edge Sport in the gallery is a different vehicle than the one the reviewer drove. The review car was equipped with navigation and climate control, but not with the Vista Roof.
|2009 Ford Edge Sport|
|Engine||3.5-liter V6||Front Brakes||Ventilated Discs (ABS)|
|Configuration/Valvetrain||DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder||Rear Brakes||Solid Discs|
|Max Horsepower @ RPM||265 hp @ 6,250 RPM||Wheels (front)||20x7.5-inches|
|Max Torque @ RPM||250 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM||Wheels (rear)||20x7.5-inches|
|Drive Type||All-wheel drive||Tires (front)||245/50 R20 all-season|
|Transmission||Six-speed Automatic||Tires (rear)||245/50 R20 all-season|
|Fuel Injection||Sequential Multi-Port|
|Compression Ratio||10.3:1||Exterior Dimensions|
|Recommended Fuel||87 octane||Length||185.7 inches|
|Fuel Capacity||20 gallons||Width||75.8 inches|
|EPA Fuel Economy (city/hwy)||15 / 22 mpg||Height||67.0 inches|
|0-60 mph time (MFR est.)||Not Available||Wheelbase||111.2 inches|
|Top Speed||Not Available||Curb Weight||4,288 pounds|
|Front||MacPherson, w/ anti-roll bar||Maximum Seating||5|
|Rear||Independent w/ anti-roll bar||Luggage Capacity||32.2 cu-ft|
|Steering||Power rack-and-pinion||Head Room (Front/Rear)||40.0 / 39.3 inches|
|Turns Lock-to-Lock||3.1||Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)||58.9 / 58.8 inches|
|Turning Circle (feet)||38.6||Leg Room (Front/Rear)||40.7 / 39.6 inches|
New Car Test Drive
A big crossover that's more efficient than SUVs.
The Ford Edge is a midsize crossover sport utility that offers better fuel economy and road manners than traditional truck-based SUVs such as the Ford Explorer.
The Edge handles better than truck-based SUVs while offering almost as much cargo space. It's 500 pounds lighter than an Explorer, enjoys an edge of two to three miles per gallon in fuel economy and offers similar advantages over other traditional SUVs. Benefiting from all-wheel drive and a fully independent suspension, the Edge is easier to control than a truck-based SUV in the snow or on wet, slippery roads. Getting in and out of it is easier, too. Yet it gives up nothing in passenger and cargo space. In fact, the back seats in the Edge are roomier than those in the Explorer, a benefit of its design.
The Edge is not small. Considered a midsize crossover utility vehicle, the Edge competes with the Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander. All of these vehicles are larger than they look, a result of their slippery styling.
We found the Edge roomy and comfortable with fully foldable seats for big cargo carrying. It drives well, with good performance from a modern V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Edge has a contemporary look we find appealing. We like its bold chrome grille. We think it'll please buyers coming from SUVs who want a rugged look with room for the family and assorted stuff. And we think it'll satisfy buyers moving from a sedan who will find they haven't given up much in the way of comfort, convenience and driving dynamics.
The Ford Edge was introduced as a new product for the 2007 model year. A Limited model was added for 2008 and new features were added. For 2009, there is a Sport version, which features 22-inch alloy wheels mounting P265/40R22 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires and an eight-piece body kit to give it a sporty look. There is also the availability of a next-generation voice-activated navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio Travel Link, which is free for six months, and an ambient lighting package that illuminates the footwells.
The Ford Edge comes in four trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited, and Sport. All models are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 265 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available for all models except the SE.
The Edge SE ($26,635) is equipped with cloth upholstery, driver's seat lumbar adjustment, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split second-row seat, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack, rear spoiler, and P235/65R17 tires on alloy wheels. Options include a Convenience Package, which includes an auto-dimming mirror, reverse sensing system, automatic headlamps, door-entry keypad, and steering-wheel audio controls ($650); a trailer towing package ($395); and a roof rack ($95).
The Edge SEL ($29,545) and SEL AWD ($31,395) add fog lamps, six-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, keyless keypad entry; six-disc CD changer, automatic headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a vehicle information center. A Leather Comfort Package ($1,125) includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, particulate air filter and six-way power fold-flat front passenger's seat. Other options include a blue suede interior ($525), cargo package ($555), Sight & Sound Package ($650), Panoramic Vista roof ($1,595), Ford's Sync entertainment and communications system ($395), 18-inch chrome wheels ($840), voice-activated navigation ($1,995), and DVD entertainment ($1,995).
The Edge Limited ($32,300) and Limited AWD ($34,150) come with leather upholstery, Ford's Audiophile sound system with nine speakers, Ford Sync communications and entertainment system, rear park assist, heated front seats, flat-folding six-way power adjustable front passenger seat, memory for the driver's seat and exterior mirrors, second-row reclining and power-folding split seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, universal garage door opener, interior air filter, heated mirrors, and P245/60R18 tires on chromed alloy wheels. Items not included as standard on the Limited are available as options, for the same prices as on the SEL, and the Limited is also available with 20-inch chrome-clad wheels ($895).
The Edge Sport ($34,755) and Sport AWD ($36,605) come with unique features, including leather seating with Alcantara suede inserts; an eight-piece body kit, with special front and rear fascias, body-side cladding, and side-skirt rocker moldings; and a 22-inch machine-polished wheel package. Options available on other trim levels are also available on the Sport.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front seats, side-curtain airbags with rollover protection for both rows of seating, anti-lock brakes, traction control, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Rear park assist is available and can help alert the driver to objects or people behind the vehicle when backing up.
The Ford Edge is bigger than it looks in photos. The reason is that it has a wide track and a long wheelbase with short overhangs. The Edge is eight inches shorter in overall length than the Ford Explorer yet its wheelbase is just two inches shorter. Also, the track on the Edge is four inches wider while the overall width is just one inch wider. This means that, in relation to the Explorer and speaking proportionately, the Edge has it tires pushed farther outward, closer to the corners, both in length and width, which gives it a wider and longer stance on the road. (The track is the distance between the left and right wheels. Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear wheels.)
The wide track and long wheelbase relative to the body make the Edge look solid: The four wheels are near each corner, making it appear firmly planted on the road. The long wheelbase and wide track are not just about looks; they make for a more stable vehicle because the majority of the mass is inside the wheels. Visually, this aggressive stance makes the Edge stand apart from the relatively tippy look of traditional SUVs.
The Edge features Ford's bold, American design. The big chrome grille is placed well forward and has wide chrome slats that merge into the relatively small headlights at each side. The high hood is short as the windshield rakes forward more like a sports car or modern minivan.
Despite having a relatively high waist line with shallow side windows, the Edge does not appear as stubby as photographs sometimes suggest. The sporty look is helped by pronounced fender flares and large wheels. The tailgate slopes quite significantly and is nicely rounded, avoiding the truck-like tailgates found on many SUVs. We found the rear design to be a cross between a Lexus RX and a BMW X3, which cannot be a bad thing.
The Vista Roof adds expansive twin glass moonroofs that cover the whole roof, providing all passengers with a clear view of the sky. There is only a foot-wide panel between the front and rear panels that is not transparent.
The Edge combines a stylish, comfortable interior with lots of cargo-hauling utility.
Front-seat occupants find a generous amount of room, largely due to the vehicle's generous width. There is a large center console with a storage box big enough for a laptop computer. Two decent cupholders reside alongside the substantial shifter. The center stack is angled outward to make it easy to reach the large knobs for the climate and entertainment controls.
The Ford Sync communications and entertainment system can be controlled via voice commands or dashboard buttons. It can recognize Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, access their phonebooks, and play calls and read text messages through the speakers. It also has a USB interface to connect with iPods and other MP3 players (it will charge an iPod). To issue a voice command, the driver hits a steering wheel button and speaks the command. Occupants can tell the system to play a specific artist, album or track stored on an MP3 player. While Sync is nicely integrated, we've found it takes time to learn the voice commands, and there may be some frustration until the system is mastered.
The rear seats offer a decent amount of leg room; in fact, there's two inches more here than you'll find in the larger Explorer. Headroom is also reasonable in the rear, even with the optional Vista Roof. The rear-center passenger even gets more room than normal in a vehicle of this size, thanks to the wide track. Getting in and out is easier thanks to rear wheels that are placed well back and thus allow for less intrusion from the wheel wells.
Cargo carrying is an area where the Edge excels. The tailgate lifts to reveal a wide opening. With the rear seats in place there's a reasonable amount of cargo room, but pressing a button automatically reclines the rear seats to open up 69.0 cubic feet of storage space on a nearly flat floor. Furthermore, the front passenger seatback can be folded forward to provide a mostly level floor space for long objects all the way to the dashboard. The rear seatback splits 60/40 for increased versatility and the back reclines several degrees on all models for improved rear-seat comfort.
Underway, the Ford Edge handles reasonably well, given its considerable size and weight. The Edge starts life with a good basic structure. It's based on the same platform as the Ford Fusion and the Mazda6, regarded as one of the better handling midsize sedans. Having its wheels out near the corners aids stability and handling. Naturally, the higher center of gravity prevents the Edge from being as nimble as a sports sedan, but unless you need to drive fast through the corners, you'll find it is perfectly adequate with less body roll than a regular SUV.
The Edge shares its platform and engine with the Mazda CX-9 crossover, as well. The CX-9 has a slightly firmer ride than that of the Edge, and Ford said that was intentional.
Ford's 3.5-liter V6 engine has variable valve timing and is much smoother and more refined than its previous V6s. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. We found the engine produced a good range of power at all speeds and the transmission shifted smoothly. We would rate the performance as middle of the pack: it's neither a barnburner nor a slug.
We found the rack-and-pinion steering provided good feedback with precise control. We tested Edge models with both the optional 18-inch wheels and the 20-inch wheels and found the latter did not produce a harsh ride, despite the larger, heavier wheels and shorter tire sidewall. So, buyers can opt for the flashy looks without worrying about paying a hefty price in ride quality.
We drove the Edge with all-wheel drive, which helped make the car more sure-footed. The all-wheel-drive system is simple, with a viscous coupling that constantly alters the power to the front or rear depending on the need at any given time.
The Edge is not designed for off-road use yet it has a decent ground clearance of eight inches. Ford even lists its approach angle (16 inches), departure angle (24.5 inches), and ramp break-over angle (17 degrees), specifications usually reserved for off-road vehicles. We think the Edge will be fine on unpaved roads. We drove the Edge through snow and ice in Chicago and found it handled quite well thanks to the independent suspension and all-wheel drive.
The four-wheel disc brakes worked well, although we haven't tested them with a fully loaded vehicle hurtling down a mountain road. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control is standard on all models and can help the driver maintain control. AdvanceTrac operates via the ABS to control wheel slippage when the driver pushes the vehicle beyond the limit in slippery conditions or in emergency avoidance situation on a dry highway.
The Ford Edge offers striking styling. The Edge is a far more efficient vehicle than a traditional SUV. Opt for all-wheel drive and you've got a great all-year-round car as well. This is a roomy five-seat vehicle with two rows of seats. We find the Ford Edge a smarter choice than a traditional, truck-based SUV, unless you are towing heavy trailers or frequently driving over rugged terrain.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Kirk Bell took a test drive in the Edge in Chicago. John Rettie drove the Edge in and around San Francisco.
Ford Edge SE ($26,635); SEL ($229,545); SEL AWD ($31,395); Limited ($332,300); Limited AWD ($34,150); Sport ($34,755); Sport AWD ($36,605).
Options As Tested
Vista roof ($1,595), navigation system ($1,995).
Ford Edge Limited AWD ($34,150).
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