Ford stays on the cutting 'Edge' with redesigned crossover

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When the first Ford Edge was rolled out at the North American International Auto Show in 2006 as a 2007 model, it was in response to a very real consumer need. Ford research showed that consumers wanted a vehicle that offered the roominess of a full-sized, body-on-frame SUV, but still had the driving characteristics and handling of a car.

That meant sacrificing some off-road capability with a unibody carriage, and thus the Ford Edge was born.

For 2015, the Edge will receive it first major overhaul, all-new from wheels to roof. Based on Ford’s successful, global midsize vehicle platform seen in the Fusion sedan, the new Edge has a stronger, more athletic shape.

“The original Edge was our first entry into the world of crossover utilities – a technologically advanced vehicle that was the perfect blend of sedan comfort and efficiency with SUV functionality,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. “Now, we are building on that success, and building on the emotional appeal of the vehicle by offering more of the technology our customers want in a package that meets the highest expectations for quality and craftsmanship.”

The new Edge is larger than its predecessor, offering up slightly more legroom and headroom front and back. Cargo capacity has also grown, with it offering up more than 73 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded down.

The general manager of Moon Township Ford, Allan Bross, believes that there are several other features of the new Edge that will make it a popular choice amongst his customers.

“The Edge has more room then the Escape and the cargo room is more important than the third seat that the Explorer offers,” he said.

And then there’s the additional safety features and power options.

“One huge selling point is the visibility from sides and rear glass,” said Mr. Bross. “Blind spots are non-existent. The V6 engine is also a plus in Pittsburgh with the terrain.”

In addition to its traditional SE, SEL and Sport trims, Ford will also offer the Edge in a new Titanium trim level, which will enable it to compete with upscale brands that have carved out a larger share of the crossover market of late. Yet the price of its base model is expected to start close to the current model’s $28,995 sticker, which keeps it very competitive in the market. The new Edge will be offered in front wheel or available all wheel drive, both well suited to the weather conditions in Western Pennsylvania.

In addition to its larger size, the 2015 edition has also been engineered to deliver a smoother, quieter ride, thanks to a reengineered suspension. The front-wheel-drive Edge retains a MacPherson-type front suspension, but features an entirely new, sophisticated integral-link independent rear with coil springs and a 23-millimeter antiroll bar. The advanced new system has been tuned to deliver a more dynamic, engaging ride customers will feel immediately.

Thanks in part to the use of more high-strength steels, the solid body structure of the all-new Edge, provides a far better platform for the new suspension to work. Compared to the 2014 Edge, the new model shows a 26 percent increase in stiffness when reacting to bending forces and a 16 percent increase in stiffness when reacting to twisting forces. This means less noise, vibration and harshness characteristics, giving Edge customers a quieter, more substantial ride.

A standard feature on Edge Sport and available on the new Titanium series, adaptive steering changes the ratio between a driver’s actions at the steering wheel – the number of turns – and how much the front wheels turn. In traditional steering systems, this is a fixed steering ratio. With Ford adaptive steering, the steering ratio continually changes with vehicle speed, optimizing steering response in all situations.

Under the hood, you’ll have three engine options, two of which are new powerplants: a standard twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. A normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine will also be offered. All will be equipped with dual output exhaust and a six-speed automatic transmission.

The twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost, offering an estimated 245 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque, is significantly improved over the previous 2.0-liter EcoBoost. Beyond efficiency advantages, this new engine will also provide more capability. An Edge equipped with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost can be specified with newly available all-wheel drive and a towing package capable of hauling a 3,500-pound trailer.

The new Edge Sport features the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, expected to deliver more than 300 horsepower, making it the highest-performance Edge ever. The suspension in Edge Sport has also been upgraded over the base model, with front and rear antiroll bars that are 15 percent stiffer.

The coil springs are also 10 percent thicker. Overall, with improved damping and control, Edge Sport offers 15 percent to 20 percent better road-holding capability, giving the driver more control, sharper steering and greater confidence.

The 2015 Edge will be a technology leader for Ford, with a suite of standard and available technologies designed to improve the driving experience and the level of occupant comfort. The easy-to-use, kick-open tailgate returns, as well as a host of other technologies that include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and automated braking.

Technologies being offered for the first time include adaptive steering, enhanced active park assist, side parking sensors and a front camera with washer.

“The new Edge is a rolling showcase of Ford’s commitment to developing and offering the latest, most advanced technology in the business,” said Judy Curran, vehicle line director for Ford. “We know our customers have embraced technology – from smartphones to wearable devices that track their health. Technology is part of their lives. We want to make it part of their driving experience as well.”

While the 2015 Edge represents a significant move forward in both material and technology, it is not expected in Pittsburgh area dealerships until later this winter. And the 2014 model currently available is still a very good value. As the release date of the new 2015 Edge draws closer, the deals on the outgoing 2014 should also improve as well.

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