All photos by Ford
The crossover market continues to grow rapidly, and Ford will be poised to capitalize on that trend with the 2011 Ford Edge. The original Edge was a hit for Ford partly due to its aggressive and distinctive styling, and the new 2011 model features a larger and bolder front grille that suits the vehicle nicely. Plus, a new Sport edition will give the guys something to get excited about with the Tuxedo Black grille and the 22-inch wheels that you won’t find anywhere else in this class. The new Edge is also the first Ford model to feature Ford’s new MyFord Touch system, which highlights Ford’s aggressive strategy to leverage technology and the Internet to make the driving experience safer and more integrated with the gadgets you use in everyday life.
We were invited to drive the new Edge in and around Nashville, and the route selected by Ford offered a nice opportunity to test the handling and performance of the vehicle with winding roads through the beautiful hills and woods of Tennessee. We were impressed with both the Limited version and the new Edge Sport. Both offered impressive handling and acceptable acceleration. Each version offers a very comfortable ride that will appeal to buyers in this category, and the ride on the Sport was tighter with a noticeable improvement in performance. The Edge Sport in particular handled curves and turns very well, so this model should appeal to guys looking for more performance that complements the more aggressive styling.
The Edge 3.5-liter V6 produces 285 horsepower and 253 lb.-ft. of torque while the Edge Sport 3.7-liter V6 delivers 305 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. With this best-in-class power, the new Edge delivers solid fuel economy of 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway (3.5-liter V6 FWD, SEL and Limited). The Edge is expected to get a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine next year, but that option isn’t available at the moment.
The interior of the new Edge also received a significant upgrade over the previous model. Everything has been improved, from the design and comfort of the interior to the functionality of the controls. The overall styling of the interior should appeal to both men and women, just like the styling of the exterior.
But the most impressive feature of the new Edge is the new MyFord Touch option, which builds upon Ford’s wildly successful SYNC technology based upon its partnership with Microsoft. MyFord Touch comes standard on the Edge Limited and Edge Sport, and it features two 4.2-inch configurable LCD screens in the instrument cluster as well as the 8-inch LCD touch screen in the center stack and five-way controls on the steering wheel – plus a new media hub with two USB ports, video input jacks and an SD card slot.
We were most impressed with the LCD screens in the instrument panel on the dashboard, which give the driver flexibility in choosing which function appears in the driver’s line of sight. One option lets you have the turn instructions from the nav system in the center console appear on the instrument panel. The result is a much safer and enjoyable driving experience when using the nav system, as the next instruction is always in the driver’s line of sight, eliminating the need in most instances to turn your head if you want to see the navigations instructions.
The voice activation controls worked well, though there’s also room for improvement as the system evolves over time. But the new version is very robust, and the ability to use voice commands for many standard functions is a giant leap forward in the driving experience, particularly when a driver becomes accustomed to the system. With voice commands, you can choose a function from making a call to choosing a song or radio station, and you don’t have to work though tedious menus to get to the function you desire. The system has more than 10,000 commands stored in the system associated with driving, so if you say something like “I’m hungry,” the system will give you suggestions and tie it to the nav system.
The standard SYNC system has also been improved with new features. You can now send directions and routes to SYNC that you find on your computer. Google Maps has been added to the “Send to SYNC” feature, which allows you to send destinations from Google Maps to your vehicle through the cloud-based SYNC Traffic, Directions and Information app using your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone.
The overall result is a vehicle that complements the modern driver and lays out numerous functions in a way that enhances the driver’s experience, as opposed to offering a jumble of confusing distractions. There’s a natural tendency to just add features to an automobile, but it’s quite an achievement to have the various features work together in a way that makes things easier, safer and more enjoyable for the driver. Ford has made a huge leap forward with MyFord Touch, and this puts the company in a position to be a leader in the ongoing battle to innovate how we use our cars in the new information age.
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