I was one of the few gear heads who took to the Ford Edge when it was released back in 2006. Ford may have called it a crossover, but to me it represented the evolution of an American classic – the station wagon. Got passengers and cargo to haul? No problem, throw ‘em in the wagon. Need to haul lumber and paint? Drop the seat, throw down a tarp and you’re good to go. Want to drive the US from coast to coast with three kids and a dog? Although I have no idea why any sane individual would want to do this, simply bolt the Turtle to the roof rack, load up the flock and you’re off on vacation.
Though recognized with awards from magazines like Parents and AAA, the Edge took some time to become the sales success it is today (best selling midsize crossover in the United States). Critics called the styling of the first generation bland, and panned the Edge’s relatively poor mileage ratings (16 city, 24 highway for FWD and 15 city, 22 highway for AWD). Ford listened, and made some major improvements for the 2011 model, shown at this week’s Chicago Auto Show.
The exterior has been freshened up with a modest restyling. The Edge now rocks a “Cylon helmet” grille (particularly distinctive on the blackened Sport version) and smaller, cleaner headlamps. Other exterior changes appear to be minor, and you’d be hard pressed to spot them without the old and new versions side by side.
The interior has received a major technology makeover, and available options now include MyFord Touch, a touch-screen interface for the center stack coupled with two LCDs in the instrument cluster. MyFord Touch allows the driver to select the desired display, including trip information, navigation, audio, climate and phone. Synch, Ford’s interactive system developed in conjunction with Microsoft, now allows song tagging. Hear a song on the radio and want more info? Tag it to your iPod, and iTunes will display the song (giving you the option to buy it, of course) the next time you synch your iPod.
Interior tech is not limited just to entertainment, as the Edge becomes the first vehicle in its price category to offer adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. Adaptive cruise control uses forward facing radar to determine if a crash is imminent; if a crash is detected, the system applies additional braking pressure and pretensions the seat belts. Blind spot detection gives the driver a visual cue, in the side view mirror, when another vehicle is in the Edge’s blind spot.
Ford’s 3.5 liter V6, used in the Edge since it’s introduction, gets Ti-VCT, Ford’s acronym for variable cam timing. The technology boosts horsepower to 280 while improving fuel economy to an estimated 27 mpg on the highway. A new 3.7 liter motor, good for 305 horsepower, will be available in the Edge Sport. Future plans include a four cylinder Ecoboost motor, anticipated to produce V6 level power but with 15 percent greater fuel efficiency.
Source: cnet Cartech