Despite the missing two cylinders, the new EcoBoost engine still pulls like a strong and smooth V-6. There is little lag, and I doubt that most buyers would notice any difference in power delivery. However, they will probably notice the very un-V-6-like noises coming from the engine bay - it may pull like a V-6, but sounds like the four-cylinder it is. What owners of previous Edge models will definitely notice is the electric power-assisted steering. The wheel feels as though it's attached to nothing, and makes the steering seem sloppy. It also gives zero feedback as to what the wheels are doing -- it's like something that belongs in a video game.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor
The Edge is a really nice vehicle; it's comfortable, easy to get into and out of, and, now with the optional Ecoboost four, it's peppy and economical, too. To my eyes, it looks better than the last generation, with the interior showing the biggest improvement. Almost every surface is trimmed in textured, matte plastics or leather. In this example, the chocolate brown leather gives the cabin a surprisingly upscale look and serves as a nice contrast to the otherwise fairly monotone black interior.
The information displays that surround the speedometer are also easy on the eyes. They are crisp and bright but manage to not visually compete with the centrally located speedometer. The Sony infotainment system is impressive as well. The display is big and the graphics are engaging and the HVAC and audio controls below it look modern and clean. The screen-based system is also fairly intuitive and I was able to learn the basics before I even exited the parking structure. Out on the road though, the system proved difficult to use while driving, as some of the touch-senstive areas are too small and located too close to the edges of the recessed display. They also require an accuracy and force that often eluded me, which on several occasions resulted in a barrage of angry, obscenity-fueled pokes at the screen. I found the HVAC and volume/tune controls below the display even more frustrating. They also require a force and accuracy that I failed to master even after a long weekend with the car. In addition, unlike most physical controls, they have absolutely no feel so unless I could hear the faint, computerized "plunk," I wasn't always sure if I had been successful at adjusting the blower or changing the temperature. The bottom line: the Sony infotainment system looks great and is intuitive, but it over-complicates what should be simple tasks and requires far too much eye contact to use while driving.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms
I cannot believe how poorly these headlights illuminated the country roads I drive on my way to the office. Even with the high beams on, the Edge barely gave me enough light to see the difference between pavement and a flooded field. If I were shopping for an Edge, I'd certainly upgrade to HID lights.
As Jen Misaros points out, the MyFord Touch system leaves a lot to be desired. All the system needs to become tolerable is a set of hard buttons instead of these terrible resistive touch buttons that become useless once the vehicle is in motion and you need to keep your eyes on the road. Yes, I know sync allows you to control virtually everything through voice commands, but the system is far too slow to activate and still doesn't handle normal speech patterns. There's an update coming for all 2013 model year vehicles that will also be made available to all owners of older MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles, so the early adopters won't be penalized. I haven't spent any time with the upgraded software so I'll reserve judgment for now and be happy Ford is admitting the system out now is not good enough.
I wasn't sure how well the 2.0-liter turbo-4 would move a heavy vehicle like the Edge. It wasn't quite as smooth as a V-6, but the power is adequate. I would like to see some real-world fuel economy numbers from the Edge with four adults in it for both engines to see if the fuel savings is more theoretical than practical.
Overall the 2012 Ford Edge is a reasonable choice in the crowded crossover field. Just do your homework before you opt for the EcoBoost engine or MyFord Touch. If that's too confusing, head over to a Nissan dealer and check out a Murano.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
The proportions of the Ford Edge have always struck me as kind of strange. The vehicle seems as wide as a much larger SUV, and quite tall too, but rather stubby. And while we're into the subjective, the giant-size, dip-down grille surely was not an improvement over the simple, three-bar affair that the car launched with.
Another change for the worse is the MyFordTouch system. Yes, it sure looks cool, with graphics that are so sharp and pretty they could have been designed by Steve Jobs his very own self. But, as Jen and Phil explained, its functionality is a disaster. Ford says a fix is coming for 2013; we shall see.
One change that's easy to get behind, however, is the EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. As Donny says, most Edge owners might never suspect that there is anything other than a V-6 under the hood. That's exactly was Ford powertrain engineers were shooting for, and they succeeded. My time with the car was too brief to get a read on real-world fuel economy, but a 30-mpg highway rating (with front-wheel drive) is pretty impressive for a crossover of this size.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
There are plenty of vehicles that are flashier than the Ford Edge in our test fleet, but I spend a weekend with this Edge Limited and was more than happy to do so. It's great for driving around town with its elevated seating position, and the four-cylinder Ecoboost engine never struck me as underpowered even as it was tasked with moving two tons of mass. The interior is quite well stitched together - it's not quite up to the standards of the very best in the business (that would be Audi), but it's a very pleasant place to be. I did, however, find the color scheme in this particular example kind of odd - black and dark chocolate brown. I prefer a two-tone scheme where the colors span a larger part of the shade spectrum.
It's a shame that all the gripes about the MyFord Touch system (which, by the way, are all perfectly valid) detract us from talking about some of the finer points of the actual vehicles it's installed in. I suppose Ford should take much of the blame for that, however, as they've seemed to put a lot of their eggs in the MyFord Touch basket as far the marketing of their new cars goes.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Ford is boldly pioneering the concept of paying more for less with its Ecoboost engines, hoping that customers will pay for lower fuel consumption even if it means giving up a good amount of power. Will consumers respond by snatching up the less powerful, more efficient models like this Ford Edge Ecoboost? I remain skeptical.
The fuel economy premium for this particular turbocharged four-cylinder rings in at $995 for an improvement from 22 to 24 mpg on the EPA's combined city/highway rating. Assuming that both the four and six-cylinder cars will achieve the estimated fuel economy, it will take 65,670 miles of driving before you've saved $995 at the gas pump, generously assuming $4-per-gallon gas.
Stripped of the pricing context, the Edge's Ecoboost powerplant is up to the task of moving this 4000-pound crossover. It has neither the character nor refinement of the similar engines powering BMW and Audi sport sedans but then, it doesn't need that kind of charm. The Edge Ecoboost accelerates assertively, never surprising the driver with a sudden surge of power. In terms of drivability and power delivery, the four-cylinder makes a strong case for itself. Still, seat time hasn't converted me into a believer. With other brands and in other segments, choosing the turbocharged four-cylinder over the six-cylinder engine is a no-brainer. The difference is that those cars don't require the buyer to pay more for the smaller, less powerful engine. Ford's Ecoboost four-cylinder is a good engine, but it's not worth paying the extra money for.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor