This is a unique Everyman Test Drive because I actually own an older model of the car I'm test driving. I purchased a 2012 Edge last August from CarMax and really like it. I narrowed in on the Edge for a few reasons. For it's class, the Edge comes equipped with more amenities than it's competitors like the Chevy Equinox. The Edge has a full roof panoramic sun roof, leather seats, and a number of other things that make the daily drive that much better.
I've taken it on a few road trips, most notably up the famed Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco. My Edge was a pleasure to drive on that 10 hour trip. If you ever have the opportunity to make that drive I can't recommend it enough. I did it solo and it was a meditative experience.
The CUV market is as packed as a Japanese subway car, with manufacturers shoving new models in where there doesn’t seem to be breathing room anymore. It helps to already have arrived and grabbed a seat, and there’s no question that the first generation Ford Edge CUV has carved out a solid niche in the very crowded market, and as more and more manufacturers are executing more consistent design languages across their lineups, it’s no surprise that the second generation Edge also moves in that direction with the 2015 redesign. Ford has typically sold about 10,000 Edges per month. We imagine the new one will bring even more shoppers to showrooms — and that’s on its looks alone.
The first thing you notice is the new grille, borrowing the same sharp trapezoidal design from the current Taurus and Explorer. The 1st generation refresh certainly helped improve the looks of the Edge, but this time the CUV looks distinctly upscale as a result. The ubiquitous use of headlamps that make contact with the center grille is well done here, though it’s by no means original. The two bar grille still has plenty of chrome in it, but it’s cleaner and has a flat front instead of that melted look from the last generation.
The headlights are larger and more dramatic, and the Edge’s body gets more pronounced creasing, with a distinct character line that runs from the front fender all the way to the trailing edge. The blocky taillights are gone, replaced by Fusion-like units that are slender and connected by a light bar underneath the rear window. It makes the Edge look more sophisticated, and more expensive. The whole exterior of the new Edge punches everything up a notch, and in Sport Trim, it’s got far more presence. In a time where Range Rover Sports, Porsche Macans and Lexus RXs, the Edge delivers excellent design at a more affordable price point.
The interior also gets gussied up nicely. Though there was nothing really wrong with the previous Edge’s cockpit, the new one’s changes are noticeable. Materials are higher grade, and though there’s still ample use of plastic, the look is more refined and touch points are much softer than before. The faux brushed aluminum bars that flank the center console are thinner and shorter, and the steering wheel adopts more of a European look. The Sport even gets some carbon fiber bits to amp up the “sport” feel of the cabin. AC vents in the center are now vertically set, giving the dash a cleaner appearance that’s less bulky than before. The seating position seems to have improved, as well as forward visibility, a boon for drivers of bigger vehicles. The armrest does seem set back a bit far compared to my 2012, but it’s manageable.
The center console’s controls are also easier to use, less confusing than the 2012 which had 5 ways to do everything. Capacitive touch buttons are long gone, replaced by two rows of easy-to-use circular buttons that add a measure of safety to use while driving. Too bad SYNC is unchanged since it’s in desperate need of an overhaul and remains frustrating to operate easily. The UI design was dated by the time I bought my 2012, so it's a bummer to see that it hasn't been given a redesign. Rumor has it that the next gen SYNC system may show up in the 2016 Edge this coming fall. It can’t come soon enough.
For 2015, the Edge adds some very nice technology that take the CUV to the next level: Enhanced Active Park Assist (which was a bit crazy to play with), Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning, a 180-degree front camera system with a washer, essential CUV Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, much welcomed heated rear seats and heated steering wheel, as well as two 2-amp USB chargers that are strong enough to charge your phone while you use it. Hell, that’s just expected now. The Edge Sport’s Tech Package also adds some seriously impressive parking-assist technology that will not only parallel park but also pull the Edge out of the space or back your vehicle into a perpendicular spot. Say goodbye to the need for parking skills. Suburbanites will love the damned thing for that reason alone.
Regarding what’s under the hood, there’s been a bit of shift. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is now standard and benefits from a nifty twin-scroll turbo that gives the Edge better low range punch, totalling 245 hp — up five from last year. Unlike the previous 2.0-liter EcoBoost, the new engine can tow 3500 pounds and can be mated with all-wheel-drive. The next cog up nets you the 3.5-liter V-6, with 280 hp — down five horses from last year due to engine modifications. The top ender found standard in our Sport model is a new 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 with 315 hp. All Edges get the new steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters and a Sport mode for more “spirited” driving. Having paddle shifters at the ready doesn’t make up for the turbo lag at the throttle, but it adds another dimension to the CUV that didn’t exist before with rapid upshifts and downshifts.
And drive the Sport does. In all-wheel-drive guise with 315 hp shot to all four corners, the Edge moves quickly, especially in light of the fact that it’s two corpulent tons of metal. It also benefits from the front strut and rear multilink suspension setup borrowed from the Fusion. The Edge Sport gets the kind of steering no CUV should inherently possess since it’s light and responsive. There’s no numbness we expect from this segment, and that’s a pleasure. You can’t toss it around on a track, but who the hell cares since most of the time it will be driven to malls and offices. In light of this, there’s no harshness to speak of, and the Edge still remains a truly comfortable ride even though the Sport gets front and rear antiroll bars that are 15 percent stiffer, larger monotube dampers and stiffer coil springs.
Customers who go with the Edge get one of the best CUVs in the segment, especially since there’s virtually no technology missing when it’s fully loaded. That being said, when the cost for a new one approaches $40K, you pretty much expect all the bells and whistles. The Edge Sport delivers the amenities, head-turning design and driver comfort that is commensurate with the price point, but that's a lot of money, considering the larger, once standard-bearer Ford Explorer Limited starts at $41,300. If you're not dead set on buying a new vehicle, I'd definitely recommend checking out a used Edge. The price is more attainable and you get more bang for your buck compared to similarly sized vehicles. If you want a sporty drive, get the new Mustang. If you want a rugged off-roader, opt for the F-150. The Edge Sport doesn’t do either of those things particularly well, but it blends parts of each into a handsome package that won’t disappoint.