Thursday, May 5, 2011

Latest version of Ford crossover hasn't lost Edge

This review originally appeared in the April edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California -- When I reviewed the all-new-for-2007 Ford Edge, it was … edgy.

And by that, I mean it was a relatively spicy-looking crossover with sporty touches and enough styling sexiness to draw young buyers into the fold along with their baby boomer parents.

A lot has changed since then. When the Edge was rolled out, Ford was coming off a year when it lost $13 billion. Now, Ford is making money hand over fist, at the expense of its rivals.

A lot has changed on the Edge as well. Most of it is positive.

The 3.5-liter V-6 that delivered 265 horses four years ago now has a rating of 285. Yet the more-powerful engine gets 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the open road, up from 17/24 in 2007.

Alas, I’d say the 2011 Edge is less edgy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s styled nicely inside and out, but there are lots more edgy-looking SUVs and crossovers out there now. Ford’s own Flex SUV is more edgy-looking on the outside than the Edge. The three-bar horizontal chrome grille on the Edge is its edgiest feature now.

My tester was the 2011 Edge Limited with front-wheel drive. It’s smooth and agile enough, but be forewarned that you really have to mash the gas pedal to blend into 65-70 mph freeway traffic. Ditto, your right foot must be assertive on steep hill climbs.

The interior cabin is serenely quiet, even when your right foot is against the floorboard, and the interior controls are nicely placed and easy to work. Exterior vision is fair. You do need to stretch your neck to peer into the blind spot on the right side of the vehicle. There is a blind spot-monitoring system lined up with the exterior mirrors, but in bright sunlight, I had trouble picking it up on the tester’s right side.

There has been some reworking of the model’s exterior skin for 2011, but the basic look of the Edge still remains. I thought the starting price of $34,220 on the tested vehicle was a touch high, but perhaps dealers are willing to wiggle some with the Edge. Worth a try anyway.

Please note that the 2011 Edge can be had with a 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 305 horsepower, but those Sport FWD/AWD models are going to push you pretty close to the $40,000 threshold.

One other thing: I’ve driven AWD versions of the 2011 Edge and, not surprisingly, I found those models to be much more agile on city streets and mountain roads. If you can go that way, I’d recommend it.

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