Bigger and smaller engines
Under its skin, the Edge hasn’t escaped the engine downsizing zeitgeist at Ford, but there are some improvements for power-hungry buyers as well. To match the fuel economy of competitors like the four-cylinder Venza, a new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with joins the lineup starting early next year. We weren’t able to sample the new Ecoboost four-cylinder, but given its 237-hp rating in the new Explorer (where it will debut first), we feel safe in predicting it will easily outgun the four-cylinder competition from GM, Toyota, and Hyundai.
At the same time, Ford has fortified and expanded the Edge’s six-cylinder offerings. The familiar 3.5-liter V-6 gets a 20-hp shot in the arm, and is now good for 285 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. It’s also become a bit more efficient, with the front-wheel-drive model scoring 19/27 mpg in EPA testing. The Sport model, meanwhile, inherits the 3.7-liter V-6 from the Mustang. When paired with all-wheel drive, its 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque should serve as compelling stat-sheet candy for those reluctantly downsizing from V-8-powered SUVs.
A day of driving the six-cylinder models through some excellent if very damp Tennessee back roads finds that the Edge doesn’t set any brilliant new standards in terms of crossover driving dynamics. To wit, the class-leading power is largely offset by the class leading curb weight (4500 pounds in all-wheel-drive form -- some 200 pounds heavier than the Murano and almost 400 more than the Accord Crosstour and Venza). Still, there are a few pleasant surprises. New dampers and wider tires, along with some adjustments to the rear anti-roll bar and rear bushings have tidied up the Edge’s body control through sharp bends. Braking has been improved by lifting larger rear calipers off the Flex. They’re still tough to modulate, but proved commendably fade resistant after a few hard stops.
To improve the formerly numb and vague steering, engineers redesigned the steering gear and swapped in a hydraulic power-assist pump from the European Mondeo. The result won’t scare a BMW X5 but is nonetheless quite good for the segment, with decent feel and consistent feedback. For better or for worse, we weren’t able to notice much difference in the Sport model, aside from a bit more punch off the line. The Edge Sport’s huge standard wheels didn’t seem to negatively impact the ride quality, but we’ll remain a bit skeptical until we have a chance to drive it over pavement less perfect than we were able to find around Nashville.