The crossover SUV has become a staple of the American car buying diet, so much so that it has driven the once ubiquitous large family sedan to near extinction. Although some have lamented this trend due to the poor performance and efficiency of what were initially little more than boxes on wheels, the current crop of crossovers are much more interesting to look at, and the best ones even provide admirable performance.
The new 2015 Ford Edge perfectly illustrates the improved design and performance of the modern SUV, and is light years better than what was available 15 years ago. Although still a bit boxy looking, the more sculpted exterior design looks every bit as fresh and athletic as the current crop of luxury crossovers coming out of Germany.
The new Edge also drives impressively well, with a smooth ride that glides over the road, but also stays remarkably flat when cornering. Only when you start to really hustle does it become clear that this is not a sports sedan, as the suspension starts to pitch and heave a bit much, but even then the large 19-inch wheels and low profile tires hang on with a surprising amount of grip.
Powertrains have also changed quite radically over the past decade, and a 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine now serves as the base engine for the Edge. Putting a small 4-cylinder engine in a mid-size SUV might seem like a bad idea, especially for power-hungry American drivers, but this one is quite the overachiever.
The Twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine features direct injection and makes 245 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and a healthy 275 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 rpm, which is 25 lb-ft more than the optional 3.5L V6. Acceleration is brisk, although not breathtakingly so, which is understandable given the Edge’s over 4,000 pound curb weight. The ample torque makes for effortless everyday driving, and the engine is impressively smooth and quiet. If you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t guess there’s a turbocharged four under the hood.
As the EcoBoost name implies, one of the main benefits of this engine should be increased efficiency. Unfortunately, during my time with the Edge, the fuel efficiency gauge languished around 22 mpg during mixed driving. While this is a few mpg better than what a V6 powered Edge would achieve, I was hoping for a bit more payoff at the pump.
The main performance drawback is the 6-speed automatic transmission, which doesn’t seem to have been updated in quite a few years. Shifting is a bit sluggish, and performance would definitely improve with a few more available gears. Putting it in Sport mode does help somewhat, and there are paddle shifters, but using them is simply a painful reminder of how slow the shifts are. With more and more brands now offering 8- or even 9-speeds, Ford needs to get with the program and develop a more competitive transmission.
The Edge does feature a nicely appointed interior, which in higher trim levels could easily be confused for an entry-level luxury car. The Edge is also spacious and exceptionally quiet, and would be an excellent companion on an extended road trip. There’s plenty of room for the whole family, so long as you don’t need a third row of seats.
Numerous driver-assist technologies are also available, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keeping system, and enhanced parking assistance, all of which work as advertised. Unfortunately the Ford MyTouch infotainment system remains frustrating to work with, but luckily it will be replaced in 2016 by the new Sync 3 system, which based on initial reviews should be much better.
While the Edge starts at a reasonable $28k for the FWD SE base model, the AWD Titanium trim test car rang in at well over $40k with options. That kind of money can also buy a small luxury crossover, like the Audi Q5, or a larger 7-passenger SUV like the Honda Pilot or even Ford’s own Explorer. The recently remodeled Nissan Murano also offers stiff competition in the mid-size category, and features even more dramatic styling.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy It,
- Lease It,
- Rent It,
- or Forget It,
Overall, the 2015 Ford Edge is a competitive, well-rounded performer that definitely pushes the brand forward. If it weren’t for the aging transmission and lackluster MyTouch system I would be comfortable giving it a Buy It! recommendation, but given those two flaws, as well as disappointing fuel efficiency, we have to stick with a “Lease It” recommendation.
2015 Ford Edge Titanium AWD Specs:
- Engine: Twin-scroll 2.0L EcoBoost® I-4 turbocharged, direct-injection engine
- Power: 245 hp @ 5500 rpm
- Torque: 275 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Drivetrain layout: AWD
- Curb weight: 4,078 lb.
- EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/hwy/combined mpg): 20 / 28 / 23
2015 marks the second generation of the Ford Edge and is available with three engine choices, and both FWD and AWD. Enjoy this “first drive” review of the 2015 Ford Edge by Roman.