2011 Ford Edge Sport AWD: A Mean High-Tech Machine
Christina DesMarais, Thu, 28 Apr 2011 09:56:36 PDT
The 2011 Ford Edge has quite a following in my neighborhood. Bridget, across the cul-de-sac, drives one for her sales job and brought it home a few months ago. Everyone noticed and I ran over there right away to check it out.
"I love it," she said, offering to let me sit in the driver's seat while she used voice commands to call her husband or tune the radio.
Then there's Kerri Ann, a friend from down the street whose son plays with my kids. After going on a walk with me, we returned to my driveway where she sat in the press version I recently tested. "This is nice," she said, marveling at the plethora of information shining back at us from the instrument cluster and center stack.
"It looks like a bulldozer, like it could rip off your head," said my husband, who has a unique and colorful way with words. "This is the best car you've been able to test this year."
"What!" I exclaimed. "You like the Edge better than the Audi A8 I drove over the holidays?" That luxury sedan broke my heart when she moved on to the next journalist.
"Do you like the Edge better than the Cadillac Escalade?" I asked him, my curiosity piqued at his admiration for Ford's mid-size crossover.
"If someone gave me an Escalade, I would definitely take it, but I might be tempted to sell it and buy two of these," he said.
Huh. I couldn't wait to find out for myself if he was right in his cursory estimation of the Edge.
A new look
The Edge was restyled for 2011 making it look "sharper" than previous models since its inception in 2007. Ford let me drive its "Sport" model, although it also comes in SE, SEL and Limited trim packages. The Edge Sport AWD comes with huge 22-inch wheels, privacy glass, an imposing black grille and a rear spoiler, all of which contribute to that mean look my husband talked about. The headlights even brag a little bit by touting an "Edge" inscription in them.
The cabin is roomy with soft, comfortable leather seats, although my daughter said the middle rear seat was "hard like there's a board in it." My realtor brother-in-law, however, loved the back seat and talked about a Chevrolet Traverse he rode in with clients. He said in comparison, the Edge felt spacious. With no third row (like the Traverse has) the Edge's cargo area is more than ample.
Ford created a little stash space under the center stack area, much like the one included in a new Toyota Prius I recently inspected at the Twin Cities Auto Show. This hidden spot is where I liked to tuck away the key fob which needs to be in the car to enable the push-button start.
The Edge is renowned for its cutting-edge SYNC technology that will do things like speak text messages to you and even translate acronyms like LOL. Indeed, it takes some time to uncover all its magical capabilities. In the instrument cluster on both sides of the speedometer are two display screens that can be controlled by toggles on the respective sides of the steering wheel.
The left display is where you can change a plethora of car settings, such as whether you want the seat to automatically move back when you shut off the car, or if you want to enable the "My Key" feature which allows a parent to program a teenager's key fob so that when he's behind the wheel the car knows to govern the speed or limit the speaker volume. Genius, I say, considering my eldest will be behind the wheel this fall. The left display can also show fuel economy, vehicle diagnostics and other information.
The right display on the instrument cluster is where you can adjust entertainment, the dual zone climate controls, navigation options and a phone paired to the car using a Bluetooth connection. Many (you'd be surprised at how many) of these settings can also be changed using voice commands. For instance, using the optional Sirius Travel Link, I spoke to the Edge and asked it to show me movie listings playing in nearby theatres and fuel prices at gas stations within close proximity. No problem on both counts.
The center stack includes a touch screen that displays video from the rear view camera when in reverse and can also be used to adjust dozens of cabin and car settings. Below the touch screen are even more touch-sensitive controls. Because of their sensitivity I accidentally engaged the hazard lights several times by hovering my hand over the triangular indicator when turning on and off the heated front seats.
The center arm rest houses a port where I was able to charge my iPhone and listen to music stored on a USB drive. About that, the kids and I found it particularly amusing to speak to the car, saying things like "Play Black Eyed Peas" or "Play Lissie."
Again, no problem.
One thing I'm noticing: Ford has nailed ambient lighting. Just like the Fiesta I recently tested, the Edge offers seven color choices for the ambient lighting shimmering out from the cup holders and foot wells. I don't know what it is about ambient lighting, but it makes such a difference. The famed A8 that seduced me had ambient lighting like a limousine which definitely got me into a car-loving mood.
Driving the Edge
The AWD Edge Sport has a six-speed automatic transmission and is powered by a 3.7 liter V6 engine that puts out 305 hp and 280 ft.lbs. of torque. Non-Sport models deliver 285 hp.
With healthy acceleration that can be augmented using paddle shifters on the steering wheel, the Edge confidently pushes through traffic. Even with the larger wheels on the Sport model, I didn't feel a lot of bumps and ruts coming through to the driver's seat. In short, the Edge Sport feels solid on its wheels, and with all wheel drive it can assuredly handle most driving situations.
Rear parking sensors make sure you won't back into something and blind spot mirrors help when changing lanes.
As for fuel economy, the AWD Edge Sport gets an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Front-wheel drive Sport models get around 18/25 mpg. Non-Sport models can expect 19/27 mpg.
Once my time in the Ford Edge was up, I agreed with my husband. It does look mean. That said, "mean" isn't really something this suburban mother is looking for.
What I appreciated were its super-high-tech features and comfortable cabin, both of which improved the driving experience for me.