2011 Ford Edge
Base price: $27,220 – $38,845
As tested: $36,185
MPG: 19 city/27 highway
- Better in every way than previous generation Edge
- Comfortable, roomy and pleasing to drive
- Enough high-tech wizardry to please Steve Jobs
- Need three-row of seats
- Others offer a hybrid in this class vehicle
- MyFord Touch is frustratingly slow
By Jim Prueter
Ford freshens best-selling Edge for 2011
Ford introduced Edge for the 2007 model year, and recently its sales topped 400,000, more than any midsize crossover since its introduction. This segment — with entrants like Edge, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Murano, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and others — is one of the most fiercely contested in the industry, expanding 220 percent since 2006 and expected to grow another 20 percent this year.
With other manufacturers restyling and freshening their products — Kia Sorrento, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain — Ford moved up its usual mid-cycle freshening schedule to keep Edge competitive with others in this vehicle segment.
Like most mid-cycle refreshes, the Edge’s 2011 update starts with a nose job. Every panel up front is new: hood, fenders, grille, and fascia. The result is a sultrier shape than the blocky original Edge. The headlights are narrower, the three-bar grille dips deeper into the fascia, and the overall look is softened and rounded — but still clearly descendant. Around back, the hatch is new, with taillights that ditch the trendy clear lenses of the original model for more timeless red ones.
The Edge’s new interior is perhaps even more attractive than the sheet metal. Some of the cabin materials in the previous Edge, like the dashboard and door panels, had an economy look given the class vehicle. It’s apparent that Ford has improved the interior with upgraded materials and better build quality.
A sleek new center stack steals the show, housing Ford’s new MyFord and MyFord Touch vehicle-interface systems. These two are the next evolution of Ford Sync. MyFord will be standard on all 2011 Edges, but MyFord Touch costs extra.
Both are vehicle-management systems using a small LCD screen in the gauge cluster; the fancier MyFord Touch gets two, one on either side of the speedometer and a larger eight-inch LCD screen in the center stack. The voice command system has 10,000 controls, versus 100 in the previous version.
Various commands can be given for the same function. To turn up the cabin temperature you can say “warmer,” “increase temp,” or “temp up.” You no longer need to keep a phrasebook handy to get the desired effect. The Edge even becomes its own mobile WiFi hotspot, with the ability for up to five users to connect. Ford also offers a factory-installed HD-radio receiver equipped with iTunes tagging. When you hear a song you like, press the “TAG” button and the song information is stored in the radio’s memory. For 2011 Edge is available in four trim levels: base SE ($27,220), SEL, Limited and Sport ($36,220). The Top-of-the-line Sport model is distinguished by unique tuxedo-black grille slats up front, smoked head and taillights and black-trimmed 22-inch wheels, and is powered by a new 3.7-liter 305-horsepower V-6 (borrowed from the 2011 Ford Mustang) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The other three Edge models are powered by a 3.5-liter 285-horsepower V-6. All four trim levels come standard with front-wheel drive; SEL, Limited and Sport are available with all-wheel drive. Edge seats five adults; a third-row of seats is not offered.
I recently drove a well-equipped Limited for a full week and was more than impressed and found it better in every way than the model it replaces. The seats are comfortable, legroom ample and, most importantly, it drives great, handles confidently, riding more like a car than a truck. Now it isn’t a sports car but the 3.5-liter V-6 in our tester was good enough to handle everything we demanded from it.
But as enjoyable as it is to drive, the MyFord Touch drew most of my attention, both good and bad. The main infotainment stack on the center LCD screen is divided into fourdifferent sections (replacing traditional control knobs and buttons): the phone, the information screen, the climate control and the entertainment section. The main problem is the amount of lag time after touching the screen. It takes a good second or two before what you press and request actually is performed. I found it frustrating, but did learn to slow down and wait a bit. The good part is that everything you need is there and it’s easy to use. Again, just slow.
Conversely, the instrument cluster is easy to love. First, on either side of the speedometer are two LCD screens. The one on the right controls everything that’s on the infotainment screen. Control pads on the steering wheel relate to controls on the screen to manage your audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone, even the compass and climate controls. And best of all, there is no lag whatsoever like there is on the MyFord Touch.
The screen on the left relates more to the vehicle’s driving dynamics. You can change the screen to show gauges like temperature, tachometer, all-wheel drive, and trip computers that show much more than just the mileage, including trip time, fuel economy, gas used and so on.
Standard safety equipment includes dual front, side and canopy airbags, available SecuriCodeäkeyless entry keypad, standard blind spot mirrors, roll stability control system, easy fuel capless fuel filler, post crash alert system and available adaptive cruise control that allows the driver to set the vehicle’s cruising speed, using advanced radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and scan for slower vehicles. The system slows the vehicle to adapt for traffic conditions and to maintain the preset distance between vehicles. Once traffic clears, the set speed returns. Gap distance settings can be customized from four predetermined options. The 2011 Edge has not been crash tested.
Overall, the new Edge is a smooth, capable two-row crossover with comfortable seats, a roomy interior and a pleasing driving experience. If you don’t need three rows of seats, we think it’s definitely worth a test drive if you’re shopping for a midsized crossover.