Driving Impressions – October 2014

More Than Filling a Niche: 2014 Ford Edge SE FWD

By Greg Cavanaugh

Gallup Journey Driving

If you were to look at Ford’s list of crossovers and SUVs on its website, you’d find a rather exhaustive list.  From the Transit Connect, to the Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex and Expedition, it seems Ford has you covered.  But it does make you wonder, why so many? Don’t these vehicles overlap enough to satisfy the car buying masses? The reality is, the Edge only has one obvious direct competitor, the Nissan Murano.  Not many vehicles on the road can claim they’re one of two in a segment.  Fortunately, the Edge is good at its job.

What exactly is its job?  The Ford Edge serves as the non-third-row, non-compact, V6 powered crossover, for those that want a crossover’s upright and high seating position, oversized object cargo capacity, optional AWD, and solid passenger space for five adults.  For reference, at 98 cu-ft, the Escape’s passenger space is 10 cu-ft smaller than the Edge’s 108, while sharing similar sized cargo holds (34 cu-ft for the Escape, 32 for the Edge). Basically, if a typical 4-door sedan can serve your day-to-day needs, the Edge will be perfect for you.

One thing the Edge has always had going for it was looks.  Not normally a fan of super-sized, overly wrought grills, in my opinion the Edge is one of the sharper looking crossovers on the road.  While the sport model steals a lot of the visual spotlight, even this base model Edge incorporates nice details, like bejeweled headlights and duel exhaust tips, and the large grill works quite nicely to give it an aggressive look.

When it comes to powertrain choices, the Edge presents an interesting case study.  The largest, with over 300 hp, is a 3.7-liter V6, specific to the Edge Sport only. The SE model you see here is equipped with the standard 3.5-liter V6, and Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder turbo is optional.  All models are mated to a 6-speed automatic with manual shifting.  Rated at 285 hp and 253 lb.-ft., the 3.5 V6 does an excellent job of pulling around the Edge and is no penalty of a base motor.  Rated at 240 hp and 270 lb-ft. (on 93 octane), the EcoBoost makes more power down low but runs out of legs at the top.

In my opinion, when it comes to power, the 3.5 and the 2.0 are essentially a wash, with perhaps a nod going to the V6.  So at almost $1,000 more for the EcoBoost, why consider it?  Fuel Economy.  Rated at 19 mpg city, 27 hwy and 22 mpg combined, the 3.5 liter is already considerably better than the Nissan Murano’s and GMC Terrian’s 24 mpg highway ratings.  The EcoBoost however, is top dog, returning an impressive EPA rating of 21 mpg city, 24 mpg combined and 30 mpg highway.  That final number of 30 mpg highway, in and of itself may be all that’s needed to get a buyer into the EcoBoost.  In reality the EcoBoost will save you money . . . it’s just going to take awhile.

Inside, the Edge is comfortable and easy to use.  While not abounding in cubbies and cup holders, the ergonomics of the climate controls and infotainment are well laid out and within finger tip reach.  In an effort to not waste unused space, no doubt, there is a small well behind the climate controls that is hard to reach and even harder to see, making its use rather limited.  The gauge cluster is well executed with large numbers and cool looking blue needles on the tach and speedometer.  The ride quality is smooth with well-controlled movements, and road noise is kept to an appreciable minimum. Overall the Edge is sharply styled and well composed, if not overtly luxurious.

At around $28K as tested, there is a good-sized price premium for opting for a CUV over a comparably equipped sedan.  Cross shopping the Edge with its only real rival, the Murano, reveals it is par for the course in the 2-row, midsized market.  The reality is, however, most buyers are not cross shopping cars and crossovers and the price difference is not a defining priority for the buyer.  The Ford Edge, on its own, stands up as a well riding, spacious, comfortable, and stylish choice in the market.

*Thanks to Sal and the folks at Gurley Ford for the test drive!
**Head over to my YouTube channel, Gallup Journey Test Drives, to see more of the Edge.

SPECIFICATIONS

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front- or 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon
BASE PRICE: SE, $27,995;
AS TESTED PRICE: $28,995
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 213 cu in, 3496 cc; 227 cu in Power: 285 bhp @ 6500 rpm; Torque: 253 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
DIMENSIONS: 
Wheelbase: 111.2 in 
Length: 184.2 in
 Width: 76.0 in Height: 67.0 in
 Curb weight: 4100-4400 lb
FUEL ECONOMY:
 EPA city/highway driving: 19/27/22 combined mpg

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