If you want to know about the state of the auto industry in the US, look no further than Ford. Once the home of sedans like the Taurus and Crown Victoria, Ford has decided to largely give up on cars and focus its efforts on SUVs and trucks.
That means more attention to models like the Explorer and Escape, plus the return of the Bronco (will it be available in OJ Simpson White?). Oh, and the Ford Edge has gotten some serious love from Ford for 2019—it has been redesigned with lots of help from the Ford Performance Team. Let’s have a look.
The Ford Edge slots roughly into the middle of Ford’s massive lineup of SUVs and crossovers. On the smaller side are the EcoSport and Escape; the Explorer, Flex, and Expedition complete Ford’s range of SUVs. At 188 inches long (4,775mm), the Edge looks more like a squat SUV with a blunt-looking front end than other compact crossovers like the Volkswagen Tiguan. Ford’s makeover for the Flex manifests itself with new bi-LED headlights, new 18-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels (20-inch wheels come with the Titanium Elite package), sportier-looking front and rear fascia, and a wider grille. And you can admire the new liftgate appliqué as you walk toward the Edge with your bags of groceries.
As is the case with most compact crossovers, Ford has equipped the Edge with a 2.0L, 16-valve turbocharged engine capable of 250hp (184kW) at 5,500rpm and 275lb-ft (373Nm) of torque at 3,000rpm, which comes with the SE, SEL, and Titanium trim. The Edge SL has a 2.7L 24-valve EcoBoost V6 that offers 335hp (246kW) at 5,500rpm. There’s a new eight-speed automatic transmission with standard front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is standard on the SL and available across the rest of the lineup). Our review car had the four-banger under the hood.
The Edge starts at $29,995 for the base SE model. The SEL adds a 10-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering, and the latest version of Ford’s infotainment system, Sync 3, which brings CarPlay and Android Auto support. SEL starts at $33,300. Our review model was the Edge Titanium, which starts at $38,760. Add the full suite of driver-assist tech, an Elite package which includes 20-inch wheels and some exterior upgrades, and the total MSRP for our review car is $46,590. That’s a far cry from the base model, but it’s absolutely typical stuff from automakers.
Smart design on the inside
While I don’t think the exterior of the Edge is anything special, Ford has done a very good job with the interior, with one caveat: If you’re over 6’2″ (188cm), you may find yourself short on room. It was OK for me at 6’1″ (185cm), but I invited my 6’5″ neighbor over to check it out. He folded himself into the driver’s seat and didn’t have enough space. Tall people, take note.
Ford has given the interior a clean and uncluttered feel, accomplishing this by tweaking the center console and dashboard areas. The gear shift lever has been replaced with a dial; in front of the dial and cupholders is a pop-open compartment that houses a wireless charging pad and a pair of USB ports; you’ll need the latter for CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford put most of the climate controls below the touchscreen infotainment system, but changing vents requires a trip to the climate settings in the infotainment system. There’s a large power and volume dial for the radio between tune and seek controls; everything else is in the infotainment display. Above the display is another compartment, which would be a great place for your vintage fold-out roadmap collection.
As far as infotainment systems go, Ford Sync has grown on me since I first encountered it in the EcoSport and a couple of rentals. Sync 3 has a clean and simple interface, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
The instrument panel is smartly done, featuring an analog speedometer flanked by a pair of 4.2-inch displays, each controlled by a dedicated set of buttons on the steering wheel. The right display can be configured to show phone, entertainment, or navigation info. The left display features the fuel gauge and can be tweaked to display other information (e.g., tachometer, mileage, driver assist settings). You can cram so much data onto the left display that it becomes difficult to read, but the variety of display options is useful. The steering wheel itself feels on the small side, and the number of buttons leaves an impression of clutter.
Our review model included a panoramic sunroof, which eats into headroom for passengers in the back seat. There’s a reasonable amount of legroom for an adult, but I wouldn’t want to be stuck back there for a long trip. Indeed, Ford appears to have prioritized cargo space over passenger space—there’s a whopping 39.2 cubic feet (1,110L) of room behind the second row, and that increases to 73.4 cubic feet (2,078L) with the second row folded flat.
Heading down the highway
The four-cylinder power plant is a solid but unspectacular performer. You can go from zero to 60mph in 6.8 seconds, and if you do, you will hear about it from the engine, which I found had a somewhat high-pitched drone under acceleration. Aside from some engine noise seeping through, the insulating side glass does a commendable job of filtering out other road noise.
The Edge felt a bit chunky on curving roads, with a hint of top-heaviness. At the same time, the front MacPherson struts and rear twin-tube shock absorbers provide a fairly smooth and easy ride—even with the 20-inch wheels.
Ford’s driver-assist technology is among the best I’ve seen from a mainstream SUV. The Edge Titanium comes with the full suite of driving aids. Adaptive cruise control includes stop-and-go support, which makes driving in rush-hour traffic slightly less evil. Turn on lane centering, and the Edge will follow the contours of the road to keep you smack dab in the middle of your lane. The sensors did a fine job tracking faded lane markers at night as well.
When it’s time to park, the Edge is ready to help. In addition to the backup camera, there is a 180° front camera that is especially useful for pulling into tight spots. And if you dread parallel parking or dealing with a cramped parking lot, you can let the Edge park itself. When you press the parking button, the Edge will search for a parking space. Once one is spotted, all you need to do is switch between drive and reverse as instructed and tap the brakes. I tried both perpendicular and parallel parking, and it worked flawlessly.
Fuel economy is rated at 23mpg (21mpg city, 27mpg highway). I saw 19.6mpg over a week of mixed driving in cold-weather conditions.
At the end of my week with the Edge, I was kind of sorry to see it go. It’s really a fine little SUV. The interior is intelligently designed and comfortable (if you’re not too tall), the technology in the car is in harmony with what you want to accomplish as a driver, and there is plenty of room in the back for all the trappings of life with children. At times, I would have preferred less noise from under the hood, but the Edge is a solid all-around performer on the road as long as you understand what the crossover is about. If the Edge is any indication of what Ford’s mostly post-car world will look like, there’s reason to look forward to it.