Technology: Impressive capability, but some assembly required
That’s the Edge. The other story here has little to do with the crossover and everything to do with the debut of Ford’s ambitious new user interface: MyFord touch. Standard on Sport and Limited models, MyFord touch effectively banishes buttons and knobs from the center stack. Instead, there is a large LCD screen with icons to operate navigation, radio, climate control, and phones paired via Bluetooth. Even the redundant controls below the screen for the climate control and radio are touch activated. A Sony audio system, also standard on Limited and Sport models, adds HD Radio and more important, some shiny black trim that makes the whole center stack look like something you might find at an Apple store. The touch screen looks and works much better than similar setups we’ve criticized on Jaguars and Land Rovers, though it still lacks the instantaneous speed that characterizes those popular Apple devices. It’s also far more intuitive, even on the first try, than most click-wheel-based telematics systems.
The touch screen, which will soon be applied across Ford’s lineup, is the most obvious sign of the Edge’s technological advancement, but there’s more. The crossover also features improved Sync voice recognition, can serve as a wireless hub for up to five devices, and can provide turn-by-turn directions beamed from Google or Mapquest. All of this, again, comes standard on the upper trim levels.
The catch? Well for one, Sync still has something of a learning curve, and we wound up shouting at it by the end of our drive. More important, all the new features mentioned above rely on third party technology provided by you, the car owner. The turn-by-turn directions work via your cell phone. Ford thinks most customers will take easily to this potluck approach to in-car technology. We tentatively agree, but think Ford will need to clearly communicate to buyers which services are included and which require some assembly at home. If all this sounds like too much work, you can purchase an SD card that turns the touch screen into a full-fledged navigation system for $795.
Has Ford Gained Another Edge?
Ford has become a master of late at making a huge impact on its vehicles with relatively minor changes (see: 2009 Fusion, 2010 Mustang). The refreshed Edge is no exception. With just a dash of new sheet metal, revamped engines, and a heavy sprinkling of technology and luxury inside, it has turned what was a competent but very bland vehicle into one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in its segment.
2011 Ford Edge
On sale: Now
Engines: 3.5L V-6, 285 hp, 253 lb-ft; 3.7L V-6, 305 hp, 280 lb-ft
Drive: Front- or 4- wheel
Price: $27,220 (does not include destination)