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2015 Ford Edge Revealed

DEARBORN, Michigan - Jim Farley explains why the all-new 2015 Ford Edge is such a big deal. "One thing you should all remember is the demise of the C/D-coupe segment," he said Tuesday at the unveiling. Those buyers, Farley suggests, have migrated to two-row midsize crossover vehicles. Perhaps we should name this segment "personal premium crossovers."

This explains the midsize, two-row crossover's place in the Ford lineup between the compact Escape and the larger three-row Explorer. It's an affluent empty nester's CUV, though it will be more family oriented when it goes on sale in Europe for the first time next year. Farley, Ford's marketing, sales and service vice president, says the average middle-class American Edge buyer is willing to spend about ten percentage points more of his or her income for an Edge than for a Fusion sedan.

The segment leader with 120,000 annual U.S. sales, Edge has ditched its aged platform and uninspired Bauhaus styling. Get beyond the Explorer/Transit-style grille, and the Edge features crisp, interesting sheetmetal. It looks best from the rear-3/4 view where the taillamp treatment and rear quarter panels lend a vaguely Asian air to the styling. The interiors in the Sport and the new Titanium trims look much like the interior in the Fusion, with which it shares Ford's global CD4 platform. The Edge has a lower cowl and provides outward view than the sedan.

The 2015 Ford Edge is 3.9 inches longer, at 188.1 inches overall versus the 2011-14 model, with a one-inch increase in wheelbase, to 112.2 inches. Width is down 0.1 inch, to 75.9 inches. It's 1.6 inches taller, defying crossover dimension trends, at 68.6 inches, and cargo capacity is up seven cubic feet thanks to a longer load floor, though the more rakish D-pillar cuts into cargo space.

The trailing arm suspension in back has been replaced with an independent, integral link setup. New coil springs and an "advanced antiroll bar system" result in 20 percent more roll stiffness than the previous model, and greater use of high-strength steel helps increase stiffness and improve noise, vibration, and harshness. The curb weight is about the same as the old model's.

The 2015 Ford Edge Sport comes with a black grille, black 21-inch wheels, and the new, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that will premier in the aluminum 2015 Ford F-150. It's rated "more than 300 horsepower" in the Edge Sport, with the torque of a midrange V-8. The engine uses compacted graphic iron for its cylinder block, like Ford's 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel. Chassis upgrades include larger-diameter monotube dampers and antiroll bars that are 15 percent stiffer than other trim levels. Coil springs are 10 percent thicker, and Ford claims "15 percent to 20 percent better roadholding ability," though any bit of understeer or oversteer will be blunted by the Edge's Curve Control, which slows the CUV "efficiently" through a curve (as in the Explorer, the system cannot be turned off).

Except for the Sport, a 2.0-liter turbo four is standard. The Edge is the first Ford to have an EcoBoost base engine. Ford says the engine is virtually new, with the addition of a twin-scroll turbo to minimize lag, plus a lighter engine block casting and aluminum balance shaft. A stop/start system is optional with the 2.0. With optional all-wheel drive and the towing package, the 2.0-liter Edge can tow 3500 pounds. The naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 option carries over. All three engines are paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Ford isn't talking horsepower, though the current 2.0-liter EcoBoost and 3.5-liter V-6 make 240 and 285 horsepower, respectively, in the 2014 Edge.

Ford promises better material and visual quality in the 2015 Edge, with tighter and more consistent seams and a reduction in cutlines. There's also a high level of standard and optional safety and convenience features, including adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support, adaptive steering, a blind spot information system, cross-traffic alert, enhanced active park assist, forward and reverse sensing systems, a hands-free liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a lane-keeping system, side-parking sensors, an active glovebox knee bag as previewed recently for the 2015 Mustang, inflatable rear seatbelts, and a 180-degree front camera with a washer.

Ford has expanded Sync and MyFord Touch availability across Edge trim levels. Though we've excoriated these systems in the past for being distracting and difficult to use, J.D. Power recently noted in its 2014 Initial Quality Survey that the company's constant improvements to these systems have vastly improved customer satisfaction. Radio, climate control, and heated/cooled seat controls are analog buttons, though radio tuning and search are bars, not dials.

How much of this translates into a better driving experience? We'll find out by the time the new 2015 Ford Edge goes on sale early next year.