For 2011, the Ford Edge gets an unusually thorough refresh that sees significant changes to the exterior, interior, powertrain, and chassis. Our SEL was equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6, just like last year’s model, but power is up 20 hp and 3 lb-ft of torque. It’s difficult to detect that kind of power change, but I did quickly pick up on the revised steering effort, which, for a crossover, is quite satisfying. There’s excellent on-center response and a natural effort buildup that’s atypical in this segment.
Ford’s crossover-dense lineup probably has consumers wondering which vehicle they belong in. The Edge would make a great vehicle for those with high-school-age kids who have moved beyond carpooling duty but like the rear-seat space for family trips. Many buyers might compare the upcoming Ford Explorer with the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, because of those vehicles’ long history. However, the Edge, more so than the Explorer, is the closer competitor in terms of packaging and size. Of course, the Jeep makes a far different claim with regards to off-road capability, while the Edge very much lives up to its billing as a crossover with carlike comfort. The ride is excellent, the cabin is nicely finished, and the seats are supportive.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
The Edge’s major update for 2011 has resulted in surprisingly nice materials in the cabin, which are especially noticeable from the first time you close the door, as its inside handle is lined with nice grippy plastic. I’m not so keen on MyFord Touch and its supersensitive touch controls for audio tuning and climate controls, but I could probably get used to it after spending a more time with the vehicle. The information-heavy instrument panel features some nice colors and graphics, but I actually think the bright teal speedometer needle is the coolest aspect of the gauge cluster.
As Eric mentioned, the revitalized Edge is much sportier than its predecessor, not to mention most of its rivals. I was particularly impressed with its willingness to turn-in and its crisp handling, although it does exhibit moderate amounts of body roll. The high load floor in the cargo area is a bit off-putting, however, making the sporty Edge less utilitarian than some of its competitors.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Ford has become the best in the business at wringing major improvements out of relatively limited and inexpensive changes. Without resorting to a single platform change or full-scale redesign, Blue Oval engineers and designers vaulted the Fusion close to the top of the mid-size class, fortified the Mustang to go head-to-head with the brand-new Chevrolet Camaro, and even breathed new life into the milquetoast Taurus née Five Hundred.
It appears Ford has accomplished the same feat with the Edge. The midsize crossover didn’t impress us that much when we first drove the 2007 model, and hadn’t aged very gracefully. And yet, the 2011 model, which hardly looks any different than the old one, is right in the mix with new midsize crossover offerings like the GMC Terrain and the Honda Crosstour. The key, as others have noted, is the high-class interior. Cheap materials have been all but vanquished and the technology has been more than brought up to date. The jury is still out on the functionality of MyFord Touch — the screen is too fussy and sluggish for my taste — but there’s no arguing with its cosmetic and marketing appeal. Ford’s formerly dowdy crossover is now, well, edgy.
Ford also sprinkled a bit of magic dust on the suspension, steering, and brakes. You’ll still find plenty of body roll and understeer if you push beyond its limits, but at any reasonable pace it’s more responsive and confident.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
If the competition for this car is (as David suggests) the Terrain and the Crosstour, then Ford is in very good shape. This car is far more functional than the Crosstour, and exponentially more attractive than the blocky and already outdated-looking Terrain.
I came away very impressed with the Edge. The cabin is extremely nice, with pleasing visual and tactile materials everywhere. However, I’m not a fan of the Ford’s overreliance on the touchscreen to control various dashboard functions. Navigation and the bulk of audio functions I can live with, but I really hate having some of the climate function thrown in there for no good reason. In my opinion, making too many things accessible only through the screen is akin to having drivers texting behind the wheel. It’s too distracting due to the difficulty of use and the inability to make adjustments based on feel/touch.
I thought the Edge handled very well on a variety of road surfaces-highway, rough secondary roads, and unpaved rural routes. There’s also plenty of smooth and accessible power and the steering is excellent.
As Rusty suggests, I’d seriously consider a vehicle like this in favor of another minivan if my kids were older, and I didn’t need to worry about ferrying any extra passengers along with them. I think the Edge is a fantastic car for a family of 3 or 4.
This car was pretty much equipped exactly as I would order it-love the candy apple red, I thought the cloth seats were attractive and seemed durable, though I’d pocket the $1850 for AWD in favor of a set of snow tires and save on gas as well. Also, two grand (or more) each for the entertainment package or nav/leather seems like a waste when portable DVDs and Garmins go for less than $200 at Target.
Matt Tierney, Art Director
As the person who wrote a review of the first Ford Edge some four years ago for this magazine, a review where I made it clear that the first-generation Edge was okay but only okay, I am happy to report that this 2011 Edge is a much more impressive effort in virtually every department: looks, comfort, tactile and perceived quality, features, performance. Well worth putting on your crossover shopping list.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
2011 Ford Edge SEL
Base price (with destination): $30,995
Price as tested: $34,240
3.5-liter V-6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Advancetrac stability control
Tire pressure monitoring system
Reverse sensing system
MyKey programmable key
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Tilt/telescoping steering column
Dual-zone climate control
AM/FM single CD/MP3 audio system
Sirius satellite radio
Steering wheel audio controls
60/40 split rear seat
Dual power/heated mirrors
Capless fuel filler
Options on this vehicle:
All-wheel drive — $1850
Rapid spec 201A — $1000
Sync voice activated systems
Red candy metallic paint — $395
Key options not on vehicle:
Rapid Spec 202A — $2500
Leather seating surfaces
Family entertainment package — $1995
Rear seat entertainment system
18 / 25 / 20 mpg
Size: 3.5L V-6
Horsepower: 285 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Wheels/tires: 18-inch aluminum wheels