HALEAKALA, Hawaii -- The narrow road snaking up seemingly endless switchbacks to Haleakala, a 10,023-foot volcano towering over the Hawaiian island of Maui, scales steep volcanic slopes spiked with pine, koa and mahogany trees overlooking a vast blue ocean. We're using this rutted route to test chassis dynamics and feel the nuances of a sporty ride quality bound into a 2017 iteration of the Edge, Ford's athletic and agile mid-size crossover wagon.
Of course, we're also assaying the get-up-and-go attitude of the CUV, and it does not disappoint because Ford has outfitted the Edge with the superior power of a strong engine and sophisticated electronic control systems always engaged to keep all four wheels tracking correctly along the bump-bump-bump Haleakala Highway.
The 2017 issues of Edge list three powertrain options spread through four trim grades -- SE, SEL, Titanium, Sport -- with standard FWD (front-wheel-drive) or optional AWD (all-wheel-drive) traction.
Ford's high-powered yet fuel-thrifty EcoBoost engine, a twin-cam 2.0-liter 4-in-line with twin-scroll turbocharging, is the standard plant for Edge SE, SEL, and Titanium editions and it delivers 245 hp at 5500 rpm plus torque of 275 lb-ft at 3000 rpm through a 6-speed electronic SelectShift automatic transaxle.
Edge, as equipped with the EcoBoost 4-pack plant, earns EPA-estimated fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg for city driving and 29 mpg on the highway with FWD issues or 20/27 mpg city/highway with optional AWD traction.
An optional engine for Edge SEL/Titanium is a DOHC (dual overhead cams) 3.5-liter V6 with performance-enhancing Ti-VVT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) technology. This plant produces 280 hp at 6500 rpm and SAE net torque of 250 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.
The shifter for the 3.5-liter V6 is the 6-speed electronic SelectShift automatic.
The 3.5-liter powertrain achieves fuel economy scores of 17 mpg for city driving and 26 mpg on the highway for FWD versions and 17/24 mpg (city/highway) with AWD.
Edge Sports edition comes with AWD and a twin-scroll turbo 2.7-liter V6. It hits 315 hp at 4750 rpm plus 350 lb-ft of torque at 2750 rpm with the 6-speed SelectShift automatic which adds paddles mounted on the steering wheel for finger shift manipulations.
Edge Sport racks up EPA fuel numbers of 17/24 mpg.
All versions of Edge 2017 employ a monocoque structure which unites chassis and body into one cohesive unit that remains extremely rigid when set to motion. A generous wheelbase length of 112.2 inches and broad wheel track of 64.8/64.7 inches front/rear set up a long and wide FWD platform which adds to the vehicle's stability when shooting through a set of mountain curves.
All issues of Edge also tote independent suspension components -- MacPherson struts and an isolated subframe up front and rear multi-link design with integrated knuckle and lateral links plus isolating subframe -- to deliver car-smooth ride sensations for riders.
Brakes on Edge consist of a disc at every wheel with linkage to ABS (anti-lock brake system) plus Ford's AdvanceTrac ESC (electronic stability control) device with RSE (roll stability control), which measures vehicle motion on both the yaw and roll axes.
The optional AWD system uses a smart traction control device which distributes the engine's power between the front and rear wheels selectively via an electromagnetic clutch -- the intent is to maintain a firm tire grip no matter what happens on pavement or dirt.
Styling for the body of Edge forges a bold look with a strafed hood and aggressive prow capped by a 6-sided grille with chrome-clad fins and squinty corner light clusters containing Halogen projector-style headlamps.
Edge's 5-seat cabin is substantial in size with a total volume of 113.9 cubic feet and 73.4 cubic feet of flat-floored stow space stretching from front-row seatbacks to the tail-side liftgate.
Two rows of seats apply to all trims and legroom for riders is generous. The layout pitches a pair of bucket seats up front divided by a multi-function console and followed by a bench for three that is split 60/40 and folds on the seatback to expand the rear cargo area.
MSRP figures for the 2017 Ford Edge extend from $28,950 (SE 2.0/FWD) to $40,400 (Sport 2.7/AWD).