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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

2018 Ford Edge Review

2018 Ford Edge Review
The 2018 Ford Edge has an eager feel and crisp design; safety scores and Sport ride quality give pause.

The 2018 Ford Edge is a relative newcomer to the long list of storied Ford SUV names, but it's made its name already among families. Introduced in 2007, and in its second generation, the Edge slots nicely between the Explorer and Escape and will feature some of the brand's most advanced safety features next year.


The Edge satisfies more than a few needs. It’s sleeker than the truck-infused Expedition, even the Explorer. It’s more spacious than the Escape. It’s also devoid of any off-road pretense, any faux-SUV ruggedness.

The 2018 Edge comes in SE, SEL, Titanium, and Sport trim, with almost nothing changed save for a new package of gray trim and wheels.

We give the Edge a 7.0 out of 10. 

With the Edge, Ford has developed a spare, clean look that’s unlike any of its other SUVs. The BMW references are rife and strong, down to the blackout trim packages and lack of tough-truck frippery. The cabin’s warmer than the previous Edge, but it’s still a rather austere place that we like for its balance of rich textures and high-resolution screens, rather than for any avant-garde appeal that might fade quickly.

The base Edge’s 220-hp turbo-4 spools up to 245 hp when premium gas courses through its veins. It’s a fine bargain choice, with enough low-end guts to pull 3,500 pounds through available all-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic. The more pedestrian 3.5-liter V-6 has 280 hp and less peaky, less interesting power delivery, but some drivers will prefer its benign appeal. The top 315-hp twin-turbo V-6 responds with a kick in mid-range passes and an interesting snarl. All Edges have nicely weighted steering and a well-controlled ride; Sport editions have special steering for zippy low-speed agility and stiffer shocks that unbalance the Edge’s even keel, especially when the wheel-and-tire sizes move into the 20-something range.

With no clever cargo stowing tricks up its sleeve, the Edge doles out lots of cabin and storage space. The seats don’t take advantage: they’re thinly padded, flat of cushion, and in need of some of the bolsters and padding from other Ford models. The rear seats recline and fold to open up a big cargo well, and the tailgate can be fitted with hands-free power operation.

Safety scores find the Edge lacking in one IIHS test, and much of the latest safety technology comes only after an upsell. All models have the usual power features and a basic smartphone connectivity setup; Titanium and Sport models get navigation, voice commands, leather, a power sunroof, and Sony audio, but the Edge comes with just average warranty coverage.

Styling
Spare, clean sheetmetal and a warmed-up interior give the latest Ford Edge a long-lived appeal.

The 2018 Ford Edge boasts an interior that’s a warm contrast to its spare and uncluttered sheet metal. We’re fans, but not superfans. We give it a 7 for its uncomplicated appeal. 

Nothing about the 2018 Edge’s styling will transform the crossover-SUV genre. Smartly, Ford doesn’t even try. The Edge just takes the usual cues and shapes them in an attractive way. The front end has the right amount of rake, the side view has thick (but not too thick) roof pillars, the grille’s sized just right to balance the big SUV-style front end. We detect some faint hints of BMW X5 at the Edge’s rear end, though the Ford comes across as lighter and more agile. Some styling packages black out its exterior trim, to mixed effect.

The Edge’s cabin looks softer and more appealing than in the previous generation. It’s no lush Benz GLC with layers of styled wood, but the Edge’s soft-touch materials and tall dash relieve some of the austerity of the last generation of Ford SUVs.

The best touches in the cockpit are the switches, buttons, and knobs that returned with the Edge’s 2015 redesign. We’re all for touch-sensitive surfaces that make sense and work well; the previous Edge couldn’t claim either, with its touch-slide volume and fan controls and unusable MyFord Touch interface. Now its high-resolution screen glows with a cleanly laid-out interface, a round knob controls volume, climate functions get well-marked controls, and physical buttons control seat heat and ventilation.

Ford doesn’t offer lighter-toned interiors like some of its rivals, and stuffs the Edge with lots of gloss-black trim that hoards fingerprints like they’re fuel. It does fit the expensive Edge crossovers with a configurable gauge cluster.

Performance
The 2018 Ford Edge clicks with enthusiasts through its powerful turbo-6, a taut ride and quick steering.

The Ford Edge spreads its crossover-SUV credentials over a wide powertrain range. Want a fuel-saving 4-cylinder, light on the equipment? Or a twin-turbo all-wheel-drive family rager? The Edge can do both.

In all its forms, it’s pretty pleasant to pilot, with handling that will ease sedan buyers seamlessly into the tall-wagon lifestyle.

The Edge rates a 7 here, thanks to crisp road manners and lots of variety under the hood. 

A 2.0-liter turbo-4 slots into the base 2018 Edge. With 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque when run on premium unleaded fuel, it’s fitted with a 6-speed automatic that shifts power through the front wheels or through all four wheels. New for the 2015 model year, this engine has smoother power and less turbo lag than Ford’s old turbo-4s, but regular gas drops output to 220 hp. This powertrain also can tow up to 3,500 lb, something the former Edge turbo-4 couldn’t do.

An old-school 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 hp powers midrange Edge crossovers. It’s somewhat shy on low-end torque, stronger in midrange passing power than the base turbo-4, and a solid performer all around.

A 315-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 powers the Edge Sport. With 350 lb-ft of torque, it has punch through its rev range, has a burbly and interesting exhaust note, and doesn’t betray at all the fact that it also powers a lot of F-150 pickup trucks.

On all models, the Edge’s 6-speed automatic lacks the 7th and 8th (and 9th) forward gears of rivals, but it doesn’t let it get in the way of a good drive. Downshifts come quickly and crisply, and Ford allows complete control over the gears through shift paddles and an “S” mode selected on the console-mounted shift lever.
Ford Edge ride and handling

The Ford Edge has a stiff body structure and an independent suspension. Together they deliver precise road feel and great body control, without roughing up the passengers.

The Edge has steering and ride control that feel much like the Fusion sedan on which it’s based. Lower and midrange versions have a fuss-free electric steering system that tracks extremely well down interstates, and makes curved roads mildly interesting–a nifty trick for a high-riding crossover. On the Edge Titanium and Sport, Ford fits adaptive steering that amplifies inputs at low speeds and tapers off the effect as speeds climb. Parking-lot maneuvers require less hacking at the wheel, while highway tracking benefits from lots of on-center feel and immediate weight build-up off-center.

Well-isolated but firm, the Edge rides well until it’s configured with the Sport edition’s monotube dampers and big wheels and tires. Potholes and choppy pavement are its enemies: if you like the look, consider the impact it’ll have on your wallet and your teeth before ticking the Sport box.

The Edge's brakes can seem a little touchy at first, but they provide strong, reassuring stopping power.

Comfort & Quality
Better seats would improve the Edge’s comfort scores.

At the midpoint of Ford’s crossover SUV family, the Edge has two rows of seats for five passengers. There’s more space than in the tidy Escape, fewer seats than in the Explorer, Flex, or Expedition.

The Edge shines when it carries four adults and their stuff. It’s worth a 7 for comfort and utility.

The best seats are those in front, of course. The driver and front passenger have an easy step into the cabin, and the seats have a high bottom cushion, both factors that will appeal to mature drivers. The seats aren’t quite up to the ample space that surrounds them. Whether they’re the leather Sport buckets or the base cloth versions, the Edge’s seats skimp on leg support and length. On the Sport, the perforated-leather chairs don’t have much in the way of bolsters or contours, but do have better lateral support.

Small items have myriad places to hide. A shallow bin carves out space from the dash, the center console is deep and wide, the door pockets have deep wells. The bin ahead of the shifter stows smartphones, and toll tickets can live in the drawer that faces the driver’s knee.

Flat and hard seats let down the Edge in back, too. The space outdoes the flat, featureless bench, and the available panoramic roof chops out a significant chunk of headroom. The backrest reclines, and can fold down for storage, but Ford could learn something about seat comfort from its old cousins at Volvo, or from the Nissan Murano.

It’s odd, then, that the Edge seems designed more for people-carrying than cargo-hauling. The rear seats fold easily, and open up a total of 73.4 cubic feet of space (there’s 39.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seatback). Packaging is better, but the Edge lacks some of the clever two-tier cargo floors of rivals.

At least its cabin is no longer a stark, barren enclave of hard plastic trim. Stylists have paid more attention to texture and tight trim fit. Active noise cancellation quiets the cabin in some models, and the Edge Titanium has thicker side windows that damp out road noise.

Safety
Crash-test scores are just okay on the Ford Edge, and its most coveted safety features are extra-cost options.

The Ford Edge has room to improve its crash-test performance. We give it a 7 for safety, based on its federal scores and safety features and options. 

On the test front, the IIHS scores the Edge in its recent tests as “Good” in most tests. In the tougher small-overlap frontal-impact test, it’s rated just “Acceptable,” which keeps it out of the Top Safety Pick ranks combined with "Poor" ratings for its headlights.

The NHTSA says the Edge is five-star safe overall, with five-star ratings on all tests save for a four-star rating on the agency’s rollover-resistance test.

All Edge SUVs have a rearview camera in addition to mandatory equipment. A driver knee airbag is standard, but inflatable rear-seat belts are an option.

Forward-collision warnings are available on the most expensive versions, but they’re also options. So are blind-spot monitors, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and a 180-degree front-end camera that aids in tight parking spots.

Features
With the Edge, Ford stuffs in the features, but its warranty is just average.

The Ford Edge spans a wide range of crossover-SUV buyers. Low-end models overlap some Honda and Hyundai compact vehicles, while the pricey models tip into Lexus territory.

We rate the Edge an 8 for features. It has a full roster of standard and optional gadgets and a good infotainment system, but there’s not much much new under its sun, and the standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty is nothing special. 

All Edge crossovers come with power features, a rearview camera, cloth seats, air conditioning, cruise control, and an AM/FM/CD player with Bluetooth audio streaming. Rear-seat inflatable seat belts are an option.

The Edge SEL adds power front seats, rear parking sensors, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated mirrors. The Sync 3 infotainment system is an option, as are heated seats, blind-spot monitors, premium audio, and navigation.

Ford's latest Sync 3 infotainment system is a major improvement over past MyFord Touch systems. With its streamlined menu system, clear touchscreen display, and easier upgrades, it's simpler to operate, more capable at recognizing voice commands, and simpler to navigate.

The Edge Titanium gets that infotainment standard along with HD radio, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, heated front seats, a hands-free tailgate, and ambient lighting. Options include leather, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, active park assist, a 180-degree front-end camera, remote start, and a bundle of safety gear that includes forward-collision warnings.

The most expensive Edge Sport has its own styling cues, and comes standard with the twin-turbo V-6, all-wheel drive, and adaptive steering. It can cost nearly $50,000, well within range of vehicles like the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus RX, and Audi Q5.

Fuel Economy
All-wheel drive costs some fuel economy, but all Ford Edge crossovers have reasonably good EPA ratings.

The 2018 Ford Edge posts competitive fuel-economy figures, across its lineup of turbo-4 and turbo-6 engines.

It earns a 6 on our green scale. 

The Edge’s all-wheel-drive system adds a fair amount of weight, and it can’t be decoupled from the drivetrain as some newer systems can. As a result, the all-wheel-drive models can be up to 2 mpg lower on the EPA cycle versus their front-drive counterparts.

The base Edge draws power from a 2.0-liter turbo-4. According to the EPA, the 2018 front-wheel-drive Edge rates 20 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined. At 20/27/23 mpg, the all-wheel-drive edition falls off measurably on the highway and combined cycles.

At the middle of the Edge lineup, a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 garners EPA figures of 17/26/20 mpg with front-wheel drive. It's rated at 17/23/19 mpg with all-wheel drive.

A twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 pairs only with all-wheel drive in the Edge, and it’s scored at 17/24/20 mpg.

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