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2017 Ford Edge
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Since its introduction 10 years ago, the Ford Edge has become a big hit, with models competing in price and equipment with other crossover SUVs ranging from the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe, to the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Lexus RX.

Its popularity seems to be because the Edge handsome, has a wide range of power options, handles well, and includes many features. It hasn’t gotten lost in the full Ford crossover lineup, having more cargo space than an Escape, but less seating than an Explorer or Flex.

The 2017 Ford Edge is unchanged from 2016, except for a new cold-weather package and new 20-inch wheels.

The Ford Edge has three engines to choose from, all using a 6-speed automatic transmission. First is a mostly perfectly adequate front-wheel-drive turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder making 245 horsepower that can tow up to 3500 pounds. The 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower doesn’t cost much more. The twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 is strong and confident with 315 horsepower.

All-wheel drive is available. The system constantly sends some power to the rear wheels, and adds significant weight, cutting fuel mileage by two highway miles per gallon. Some systems nowadays send all the power to the front wheels until it’s needed for traction at the rear, helping fuel mileage.

The base turbo four engine with front-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 20 miles per gallon City, 29 Highway, and 24 Combined; all-wheel drive is 20/27/23 mpg. The front-wheel-drive 3.5-liter V6 gets 17/26/20 mpg, while the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive only gets 17/24/19 mpg. The V6 engines need Premium fuel. The turbocharged four-cylinder should have it; but the engine won’t be damaged with Regular 87 octane gas, but the horsepower will drop to about 220.

In safety tests, the NHTSA gives the Edge five stars overall, with four stars in rollover resistance. The IIHS gives Edge its top Good score in every test but the small-overlap frontal test, which simulates hitting a telephone pole. It rates only Acceptable in that test, despite an additional glovebox airbag designed to protect the passenger’s knees.

A rearview camera is standard, but most other safety equipment is optional, even on the expensive Titanium model. That includes inflating rear seatbelts, lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning with brake support, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and a 180-degree front camera with washer.

Model Lineup

The 2017 Ford Edge comes standard with front-wheel drive and the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive is optional.

Edge SE ($28,950) includes cloth upholstery, power features, climate and cruise control, a rearview camera tilt/telescope steering, and AM/FM/CD audio with Bluetooth audio streaming. Options include LED headlamps and parking assist.

Edge SEL ($31,790) adds dual-zone climate control, power front seats, satellite radio, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated mirrors. Options include 3.5-liter V6, Sync 3, navigation, heated seats, and premium audio.

Edge Titanium ($35,600) is upgraded with leather-trimmed upholstery, 12-speaker Sony audio system with HD Radio, ambient lighting, heated front seats, and a hands-free tailgate system. Options include 3.5-liter V6, panoramic roof, 180-degree front camera with washer, leather seats, ventilated front seats, remote start, heated rear seats, second-row inflatable seatbelts, and Active Park Assist. Adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warnings and automatic braking are packaged together as an option.

Edge Sport ($40,900) is equipped with the twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive. Distinguished by blacked-out trim, Sport models also include active noise cancellation, adaptive steering, 21-inch wheels.

Walkaround

The sheetmetal is clean and austere. The surfaces and details wouldn’t be out of place on a BMW. The grille is big, the front end is rakish, and the profile is framed by sloping pillars. The rear pillar kicks up, making the Edge look lighter and more agile.

The Sport model looks better, with black-out trim replacing some of the glossy bits on the other models, making it look more like a sport wagon.

Interior

The interior feels sparser than some rivals, but the trim and materials are about the best in the class. It’s warmer and richer than it used to be, and the design of the high dash will look good for a long time, and the black matte facing on the huge center console is nice. Not so the piano-black trim on the door pulls and cupholders that unavoidably collects ugly fingerprints.

For a while, Ford went all futuristic with touch screens, but the far more functional buttons and knobs are back. Hooray for less distraction and effort! A big round knob precisely controls the volume of the sound system, and the climate controls are clear and easy. Remaining from the future is the gauge cluster that’s configurable with steering-wheel switches.

Ford’s current Sync 3 infotainment system is a big improvement over the previous MyFord Touch system. With a true capacitive screen interface, streamlined menu system, and easier upgrades, it’s simpler to operate, clearer to interpret, and more capable at recognizing voice commands.

The front seats are high but easy to climb into, and the cloth fabric is rugged, but the seat cushions are a bit short, and skimpy on thigh support. The Sport’s perforated-leather buckets have more lateral support, but the contouring doesn’t feel much better

The split-folding rear bench seat is flat and hard, not up to the level of rivals like the Nissan Murano, even though it can recline. Which it might have to, to gain headroom with the optional panoramic roof. However there is great legroom back there, and it’s easy to fold the rear seat. There’s 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded, and 39.2 cubic feet with them up.

There are storage spaces everywhere. There’s a shallow but big latched bin on the dash, another just ahead of the shifter, deep door pockets, and a drawer ahead of the driver’s left knee, and a storage drawer to the left of the steering wheel.

Driving Impressions

The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 makes 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. It was revamped for 2015 to be smoother with less turbo lag, meaning fewer downshifts from the 6-speed automatic upon acceleration.

The 3.5-liter V6 with 280 horsepower is a bit shy on the low end, but it has more passing power than the turbocharged four.

The Sport model uses the same top-drawer 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 in the F-150 pickup truck. With 315 hp and an awesome 350 pound-feet of torque. It’s punchy in the middle of the powerband, with an interesting, off-cadence sound.

The standard 6-speed automatic has one or two or three gears less than some rivals. Maybe that’s why it performs so well, with quick, crisp downshifts, using the paddle-shifters in S mode, or allowing it to shift itself in D mode.

Handling is quick, reassuring, and relatively precise. The ride is taut, with great body control on the multi-link rear suspension. The Edge takes a set into corners without fuss.

Edge Sport models have stiffer suspensions with monotube dampers, and 21-inch wheels, which give a ride that verges on stiff. Steering-wise, the Sport also has a heftier on-center feel and a little more weighting off-center. Active noise cancellation gives the Sport the quietest cabin.

The Edge’s brakes can seem a little touchy at first, but they provide strong, reassuring stopping power.

The available lane-keep assist applies steering force to help keep the vehicle in its lane when it thinks you might be veering based on how its camera reads white lines, whether you actually are or not. The good news is that it can be shut down to just send you a warning through a vibration in the steering wheel.

Summary

The Ford Edge boasts stylish looks and good powertrains, but its best feature might be the sharp handling. Its worst feature might be uncomfortable seats. The Sport offers a lot more power, but a ride that verges on stiff.

Sam Moses contributed to this report.


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