If you’ve been following my column for a while, you’ll remember my first-ever official press vehicle was the Ford Taurus SHO back in 2010. At the time, Ford was getting their feet wet with the notion of combining turbocharging and direct fuel injection in a smaller engine package that, ideally, would deliver lots of power while simultaneously using less fuel.
Ford calls their version of this technology EcoBoost, and in the 3 years since its introduction in the Taurus SHO, the Detroit automaker has gone absolutely berserk with it. There are now more vehicles in Ford’s lineup that can be had with an EcoBoost engine than there are that can’t, and their goal this year is to offer it in 90% of its current models.
One such vehicle now available with EcoBoost is the popular Edge crossover. Still in its first generation since 2006, the Edge has only had a minor facelift in 2011. In 2012, Ford hoisted the 2.0L 4cyl out of the Focus, strengthened its internals, added a Borg Warner K03 turbocharger and intercooler to it, set the boost at 16lbs, tuned it to 240hp and 270 ft-lbs of torque, dropped it in the Edge’s engine bay, and affixed the requisite EcoBoost badge to the tailgate.
Ford has a lot of faith in their engineers to put an engine no bigger than a bottle of soda into a vehicle that’s eight quarter-pound hamburgers away from weighing two tons. But the Edge EcoBoost is capable of a 7.6-second sprint to 60mph, the quarter-mile in 15.9 seconds at 84mph, and towing up to 3,500lbs. So this is a much more potent powerplant than its horsepower numbers suggest. Initial torque from idle leaves a bit to be desired, but midrange power is plenty sufficient, and if you get antsy while exiting a turn, you’ll experience a tug at the steering wheel as a byproduct of torque steer.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the EcoBoost is not the most powerful engine option in the Edge like it is in the Taurus SHO or the Flex. The standard 3.5L V6 is more powerful, and the 3.7L V6 in the Edge Sport (the same engine that’s in the base Mustang) boasts both more horsepower and torque. The EcoBoost engine is also only available with front-wheel-drive, handled by a six-speed automatic transmission with a rather awkward toggle switch on the shift knob for changing gears manually. In the Edge, Ford has instead added the EcoBoost four as the most fuel-efficient engine option. I observed 18.9mpg in mostly city driving conditions, a few notches below the 21mpg EPA estimate.
The Edge’s excessive weight and drivetrain layout make its understeer at the limit unsurprising, but it’s small enough in size to not feel cumbersome around town. The 0.79g of lateral acceleration is otherwise good for a crossover, and the weight does help smooth out bumps, offering a compliant, if not cushy, ride.
At my height of 6’3″, it’s nearly impossible to find just the right seating position in most cars. I’m usually sacrificing visibility for headroom, or I have to scoot the seat back so far to get the right amount of legroom that I can’t reach the steering column comfortably. The Ford Edge is one of the only vehicles in which I can find the perfect seating position, where I don’t feel like I’m giving up one comfort for the sake of another. Likewise for the cargo area, where I managed to stuff 9 racing tires without scuffing the trim panels or getting the headliner dirty.
In response to harsh criticism upon its debut, Ford went back to the drawing board on MyFord Touch, and, since then, it has become easier to use and less distracting. I was able to quickly familiarize myself with the two clusters of buttons on the steering wheel, which oversee virtually every function from vehicle information to climate control. The entertainment system didn’t like it when I tried to use my phone as both a Bluetooth device and plug-in iPod, but that problem isn’t exclusive to MyFord Touch, or even Ford in general, for that matter. My biggest gripe was the center stack and the ease with which an unintended command can be inadvertently given, like skipping to the next song when all I wanted to do was turn up the volume. Though MyFord Touch gives the impression of a futuristic electronic interface straight out of a sci-fi movie, I’m not sure it works as well in the real world.
The MSRP of $39,405 seems a bit steep for a crossover that isn’t wearing a Lexus or BMW or even a Lincoln badge. But my Limited test vehicle offered the MyFord Touch as well as the blind-spot monitoring system and 18-inch chrome wheels, so it came with the proper equipment to justify the price tag.
Either way, the Edge still offers the versatility that consumers expect from crossovers as well as a car-like ride, a seating position fit for a king, and a bit of style too.
Now, the EcoBoost option gives the Edge at least a marginal increase in fuel economy without giving up any gusto.
Price as tested: $39,405
0-60mph: 7.6 sec
1/4-mile time: 15.9 seconds at 84mph
Lateral skidpad acceleration: 0.79g
60-0 braking distance: 131ft
Torque: 270 ft-lbs
Fuel economy: 18.9mpg
Test vehicle provided by Ford Motor Company.
Be sure to check out the two other vehicles in the Boosted Crossover Bonanza: the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Sport and the Subaru Forester 2.0XT.
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