Test Drive: 2015 Ford Edge

IMG_3149In the crowded mid-sized crossover SUV segment, Ford Edge is the leader, selling just over 100,000 units last year. This, despite some shortcomings like a slab-sided exterior, cheapish interior quality, and underwhelming performance. However, Ford has really stepped up Edge’s game for 2015, making it more visually appealing, more powerful, and adding a luxury trim, Titanium, that has been successful in both the Fusion and Escape.

Raj Nair, Vice President of Global Product Development for Ford, explains the Edge’s evolution: “The original Edge was our first entry into the world of crossover utilities. Now, we are building on that success, building on the emotional appeal of the vehicle by offering more of the technology our customers want in a package that meets the highest expectations for quality and craftsmanship.”

15FordEdge-Sport_09_HRDiscriminating drivers will notice a significant improvement in both materials and appearance, not to mention performance. The overall look has a more consistent, tight flow, with fewer cutlines and seams, and more thoughtful and better aligned merge points. The interior noticeably upgraded, with soft touch materials, contrasting color options, and ambient lighting and bright illuminated scuff plates on the Titanium. Taller and wider, the Edge has more  room for both passengers and cargo.

Not only is Edge bigger, it’s also more visually appealing, bulking up around the wheel wells and upfront, with a more sculpted beltline and raked windshield, and a single stripe taillamp adorning the wider liftgate . While the look is definitely an upgrade, most manufacturers seem to be following this chiseled trend, making many vehicles in this segment practically indistinguishable once the nameplates are removed. Still, Edge projects a handsome visage.

I spent a day behind the wheel of the new Escape, beginning in Old Town Scottsdale, segueing into some freeway driving before heading out on the desert roads toward Superior, Globe and Miami. The thinner, supportive seats were much appreciated on the long drive, as was the larger, more spacious interior. As passenger, I gazed out at the desert sky above through the largest panoramic sunroof in the business, spanning 47.7 inches, front to rear.

Acoustic windshield glass, underbody panels and wheel-well liners make the ride quieter than it was in the previous model, and standard features like adaptive cruise control with brake support, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure technology keep you safe on the road. It is surefooted, handling all road conditions with aplomb.

The performance news is the new EcoBoost engines: the standard 2.0-liter 245-horsepower four-cylinder engine; a 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 horses, optional on the Platinum, and a 2.7-liter V-6 with 315-horsepower exclusive to the Sport model. If you really want to be “wowed” by technology, try out Perpendicular Park Assist, which effortlessly backs the vehicle into any parking space, hands-free.

The new Edge is well-equipped with tech features, particularly in the higher trim levels where SYNC with MyFord Touch is standard, along with a Media Hub that houses two USB ports, an auxiliary input jack and SD card reader.

Overall, the Edge is an attractive, well-equipped vehicle that has seen vast improvements over its previous generation. The top trims are the new Titanium (starting at $35,600) and the Sport (starting at $38,100).

 

Sign Up for the Ford EcoBoost Challenge

For a chance to drive the new Edge, along with the all-new 2015 Mustang, F-150 and Escape, head-to-head with competitor vehicles, sign up for Ford’s EcoBoost Challenge, rolling into WestWorld on Saturday, May 2. Or, get behind the wheel of an ultra-high performance Fiesta ST or Focus ST in the ST Reaction Challenge, and get a change to go off the track with a series of street drives. To register and reserve your track time, visit the EcoBoost Challenge website.

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