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PowerSteering: 2015 Ford Edge Review

PowerSteering: 2015 Ford Edge Review

By Christian Wardlaw, October 23, 2015
Redesigned for 2015, the angular new Ford Edge finally lives up to its name. It replaces a vehicle design that was eight years old, though regular updates kept the previous model appealing despite its age. In fact, in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study,SM the Edge ranked seventh out of 20 midsize SUVs in overall appeal.*

Now, the new 2015 Edge arrives, based on Ford’s global midsize vehicle platform, the same one underpinning the Fusion sedan. It remains a 2-row, 5-passenger crossover SUV but grows slightly in terms of passenger and cargo space.

For this review, J.D. Power evaluated a 2015 Edge Sport. The test vehicle was equipped with a twin-turbocharged, 315-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine, which is reserved for this trim level. A sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive exterior appearance are standard for the Edge Sport, and the test vehicle included all-wheel drive (AWD) and optional 21-in. wheels equipped with summer performance tires.

What Owners Say…
Before we discuss the results of our evaluation of the redesigned 2015 Ford Edge, it is helpful to understand what owners told J.D. Power about the 2014 Edge, and who those owners are.

Owners of the 2014 Edge reported that their favorite things about the SUV were, in descending order, the exterior, seats, driving dynamics, engine/transmission, and the interior. Owners also reported that their least favorite things about the Edge were, in this order: fuel economy, the climate control system, infotainment system, interior storage and space, and issues related to visibility and safety.

Compared with the midsize segment as a whole, and according to J.D. Power data, buyers who chose the previous version of the Ford Edge were older and less affluent, many of them retirees who preferred to buy a vehicle from a U.S. company.

What Our Expert Says…
In the sections that follow, our expert provides his own perspectives on how the new 2015 Edge measures up in each of the 10 categories that comprise the 2015 APEAL Study:

Edgier than ever, the 2015 Edge looks like a Hyundai Santa Fe in the front, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In Sport trim, with its blacked-out grille and enormous dark-finish 21-in. aluminum wheels, the Edge takes on an aggressive appearance not unlike that of an AMG-badged Mercedes-Benz. Our test SUV’s bright Electric Spice paint might not be for everybody, but the glowing color is suited to the Edge Sport.

You can get your Edge Sport’s interior in any color you want, as long as it’s black. The gray headliner helps to lighten the mood, but what this version of the Edge could use is some Audi-inspired detailing to spruce the place up.

As far as materials are concerned, there is evidence of inexpensive plastic inside the Edge, but Ford’s use of it is not egregious. Our test vehicle did, however, display obviously uneven gaps on either side of the center stack of dashboard controls.

Apparently, Ford has also learned a lesson about touch-control switchgear, because unlike recent products from the company, the Edge’s control layout employs several traditional knobs, buttons, and switches, making it very easy to access and adjust commonly used features.

Front-seat occupants enjoy very comfortable seats offering a wide range of power adjustment. You sit in them, rather than on them, and with the available heating and ventilation, all the seats lack is the massage function available in the larger Ford Explorer.

The rear seat is roomy enough for adults, though the seat cushion is mounted low and is rather soft. This is most likely to help ensure a flat cargo load floor when the seat is folded down. The front seatbacks are softly padded and kind to knees or shins with which they might come into contact.

Climate Control System
From how the Edge’s climate controls work to how effective the system is, no significant issues were observed, aside from difficulty detecting whether or not the seat ventilation system was engaged. Temperatures during testing were mild.

Infotainment System
Despite regular updates and improvements since the technology debuted nearly half a decade ago, the MyFord Touch infotainment system remains a source of aggravation to the people who use it every day. This is one reason that Ford’s next-generation infotainment system, debuting in selected models for 2016, is called Sync 3.

Pairing a smartphone to the Edge’s MyFord Touch system is easy, and with acclimation using the system becomes second nature. However, because it lacks gesture-recognition control, and because the size of the text on the screen is small, it can come across as outdated.

Storage and Space
With larger cargo measurements, numerous thoughtful storage solutions for front passengers, and front seatback pockets that easily accommodate laptop or tablet computers, Ford has strived to improve the 2015 Edge in terms of storage and space. A hands-free, power rear liftgate is available this year, too, one that came in handy when loading bags of ice.

Visibility and Safety
Except perhaps for the bottom portion of the windshield pillars, which are thick as they arc down to meet the dashboard, a blend of large side mirrors and technology make it easy to see out of the 2015 Edge. The test car included a reversing camera, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind-spot warning system, and park-assist sensors for the front and rear bumpers, each of which made it easier to maneuver the SUV.

Safety systems include 911 Assist, which is activated using MyFord Touch after pairing a smartphone to the system. Inflatable rear seat belts are designed to provide extra cushion to rear-seat occupants in a collision, while lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist systems help to prevent one from happening in the first place. A forward-collision warning system is also available, but does not include an automatic emergency braking system. Ford will need to fix that.

If it wants to keep the Edge’s “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2016, Ford will also need to improve upon the Edge’s “Acceptable” rating in the small overlap frontal impact test conducted by the Institute. In all other tests performed by the IIHS and federal government, the Edge performs well.

Power is no problem for the Edge Sport’s twin-turbocharged, 2.7-liter V-6 engine, which emits a pleasing, almost guttural rumble under acceleration. The effect is much like a V-8, but subtle.

Ford supplies paddle shifters for the Edge Sport’s 6-speed automatic transmission, but because the engine is rather isolated from the cabin it is difficult for the driver to determine when to stop downshifting. Apparently, Ford’s attempts to quell noise, vibration, and harshness have been successful. Rather than manually shift, leaving the transmission in Sport mode proved most entertaining for back-road antics.

Under normal driving conditions, the transmission shifted exactly as the driver would expect, drawing no undue attention to itself.

Fuel Economy
According to the EPA, a 2015 Ford Edge Sport with AWD should get 20 mpg in combined driving. Our test vehicle returned 19.3 mpg on the test loop. To be fair, though, the twin-turbocharged engine delivers addictive power, and the driver might be guilty of a heavy foot during this test.

Driving Dynamics
Get a Ford Edge Sport, install the optional 21-in. wheels with summer performance tires, and hold on for dear life. Extraordinary grip allows this SUV to take curves with so much speed that the front seats could actually use more aggressive bolstering.

Ford has perfected the art of tuning electric steering, and that is the case with the 2015 Edge. Our test car’s lane-departure warning system, however, regularly issued false warnings in situations when two lanes would narrow to a single lane.

Our test vehicle’s brake pedal was difficult to use. Situations in which the driver might wish to use just a little bit of braking—such as when adjusting speed in heavy traffic or when approaching a gentle bend on a country road—reveal a brake pedal that is initially unresponsive and then, as the driver pushes a little harder, the brakes respond to a greater degree than the driver would prefer.

Final Impressions
Based on what previous-generation Edge owners liked and disliked about their crossover SUVs, it appears that Ford has successfully retained those traits that are the most appealing about the vehicle, while working to resolve several of the traits that owners found to be less appealing.

The “Acceptable” rating in IIHS testing is disappointing, as is the lack of automatic emergency braking, which the IIHS has determined is critical in helping to reduce collisions. The automaker also needs to replace MyFord Touch with Sync 3 technology just as soon as it can.

Otherwise, what is most memorable about driving the 2015 Ford Edge Sport is the driving. With this model’s twin-turbo engine, big wheels and tires, sport suspension, and aggressive engine note, it’s the closest thing to a performance SUV an American automaker builds on the affordable side of a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

Ford Motor Company supplied the vehicle used for this 2015 Ford Edge review.

For more information about our test driver and our methodology, please see our reviewer profile.

*The 2015 Ford Edge was released in March 2015 and missed the sampling period for the 2015 APEAL Study, and therefore is not included in the study.

Additional Research:

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