Exterior Design ****
Loverman: Yes, the grill is flashy, aggressive and will certainly scare the hell out of the poor dope in front of the Joneses. Sure, the wheels are bigger than those found on European tractors. True, the wraparound lights are trick and typically found on much pricier rides. Absolutely, the beltline is so high you think you're sitting in a vault. And of course, the rear window is curved in such a way that no one will confuse the Edge with a minivan. They might, however, confuse it with a moon buggy. But never mind all that. The only thing that matters with the Edge, looks-wise, is the paint job. Covered in the very bold Blazing Copper Metallic, the Edge is a winner. Draped in other hues, not so much. Though, in the interest of fairness, black makes the chubby little guy look fairly respectable, as black is wont to do.
Austin: I agree with the one called Loverman, except that the high beltline doesn't correspond to bank-vault feeling on the inside of the car, and that's a good thing. Allow me to take one more futile stand against clear tail lenses as well: What the fuck? It comes off as a cheap design trick to me, except that Ford is doing it with all the new cars so it's about to become a design trait. Ugh.
Interior Design ****
Austin: I'll be perfectly honest; I'm not a huge fan of Ford buttons. They generally feel a little cheap and not quite as design-y (whatever that means) as those of other makes. But the Edge is a significant improvement in terms of plastic quality. The instrument cluster is simple and well laid out, and everything else look and feels good too. Big props for the tilt and telescope wheel too, it's about time American automakers got hip to that feature. Ford still hasn't caught on to the automatic window craze though, because only the driver's side window is one-touch down. The center console houses an extra power port and the aux-in jack for the radio. The optional glass roof is a nice option; the rear seats get a little more sun when the power sunshade is retracted and the front seat has a giant sunroof. Unfortunately it opens a little too slow for Lieberman when he gets trapped in a game I like to call "gas chamber."
Loverman: You're a disgusting, vile man, Austin. That said, the mondo sunroof/moonroof combo (Ford calls it the "Vistaroof") was dopety dope-dope dope. My fondest moment from the whole excursion was sitting in the back, with the seat reclined and gazing out of the enormous hole in the roof at the oak trees passing by as you tore up outer Oakland. All that was going through my head was, "road trip." Which is a miracle, cause usually when I'm in a Ford I'm thinking either "Audi" or "bankruptcy."
Loverman: Long story short: 250lbs. ft of torque is not much of a match for 4200lbs. of Ford. If you are going to buy a crossover for speed, buy the CX-7. It's faster, lighter and cheaper. Don't get me wrong, the Edge will get you to highway speeds in a reasonable amount of time. It is just not a barnstormer. I also remember that coming out of corners, it felt as if 95% of the torque was being routed through the front wheels.
Austin: You remember right about the torque, although the Ford engineers say the Edge can send all the torque to the front or back wheels in certain situations. And speaking of torque, the Edge could use a little more kick-in-the-pants feeling when you step on the go pedal, but the two good things I will say is that the acceleration is steady all the way up to highway speeds, and the new 3.5-liter V6 is so smooth that I wonder what the smart people at Ford were doing before they made this engine.
Austin: Um, well, getting back to the 4,200-pound question, very few cars with that much weight will stop on a dime. And, to be honest, I didn't chalk off the road in 10-foot sections ahead of time to see the braking distance. But behind the slightly soft pedal is a solid, progressive brake feel that's smooth even during hard stops.
Loverman: Yes sir, those were good brakes. We had that one super-hard stop when that dude in the pickup decided to do a 17-point turn in the middle of nowhere. The Edge stopped impressively. Traction control plus anti-lockers is the solution. That said, when I was trying to muscle it around like an asshole up in the Marin Headlands, it became apparent real quick that this CUV is not an autocrosser. And that I am an asshole.
Loverman: Once we got out of the urban-hell potholed roads in San Francisco's SOMA district (South of Market - get it?) and onto the ultra smooth freeways of the East Bay, the Edge was exceptionally composed and comfy. We were quite isolated from the noise of the gigantic tires. In fact, Mike, you slept most of the way. Or were just plum passed out. Once again I return to my road-trip mantra as I would happily take the Edge cross-country.
Austin: Definitely sleeping, not passed out. I had kind of a late night/morning. And yes, the Edge has just the right ride for a tall station wagon. I believe the word suggested to me by the Ford PR guy was "supple." So don't expect a lot of road feel but I think that you, dear reader, did not have such expectations. Neither will potential owners.
Austin: The Edge does a decent job of hanging onto the road before it succumbs to tire-squealing understeer, but there's not a lot of steering feel. Basically, this crossover is a mix between the handling of a Fusion and that of an Explorer, which isn't much of a surprise considering the Edge falls right between both of those vehicles in a lot of other ways, such as cost and height.
Loverman: Good analogy, Mikey. Up in the Marin County back roads that first day, I was nearly beside myself at how clumsy and ungainly this two-ton sedan on stilts felt. But see, I was trying to drive it like you would on a track - hard on the throttle, pick out the proper racing line, brake hard just before the turn and then finally blasting your way out of the apex. The Edge don't play that. However, if you pilot the Edge the way, oh, I don't know, owners actually would and/or the way Mike did, it actually handles pretty fair. Blame the zoom zoom DNA. For instance, Austin here was entering corners a little slower than moi, and managed to carry a good deal of speed through them. Impressive actually.
Loverman: Good on Ford (and GM) for developing a great six-speed auto. American slush-boxes were long ago the world standard, but then the rest of the world switched to five- and six- (and seven- and eight-) speed autos and there are loads of domestic rides still being sold with a sad, old four speed. Not the Edge. Furthermore, if you like driving hard, you will love this transmission. At highway speeds, it kicks down a gear or two and lets you keep the engine on boil right up around the 6,250 rpm redline before finally shifting. Very cool. Plus, sixth gear is the reason why a vehicle as large as the Edge returns mid-20s mpg on the freeway.
Austin: I'm a little worried that I'm agreeing with Lieberman so much, but the six-speed auto is tops. The only weak spot is that you can only choose between D and L.
Loverman: True dat. I hate L. I want to be able to pick the gear I need. I live in the hills. I use first gear often. Still, great gearbox.
Austin: Navigation, Satellite Radio and an aux-in port is all anybody could want. Unless you want a DVD system for the rear seats. Actually, you can get that as well.
Loverman: First off, and I've said this before, I love Ford's touch-screen head unit. As Austin was 90-times more familiar with it than I was, he loves it, too. It is just so easy to operate compared to BMW's iSolution. That said, any vehicle with metal as high as your neck needs a back up camera. Probably needs side cameras, too, so as to not run over little Jimmy's Big Wheel. Austin found some old school station on Sirius that was playing Getting' Funky by the DOC so I turned that up loud and the stereo sounded very nice indeed.
Loverman: Oddly, there were two slots in the center console to store laptops. But if FoMoCo is really, seriously aiming this sucker at urban-loft-living Phil, why not integrate the computer with the car? And, as was mentioned by a member of our junket; this is a 2007 model — where's the Bluetooth? The giant sunroof and reclining rear seats are beyond reproach, however.
Austin: Agreed, although I doubt the likes of Mr. Wert would actually store his precious Mac lappie inside the unpadded center console. Like Jonny said, aside from the wicked-awesome sunroof and the navigation, the Edge is short on toys. Oh, the rear seats do power fold, but there aren't a lot of other neat options; perhaps Ford is saving them for the upper-crust Lincoln MKX. And while it's not necessarily a dig against the Edge, I'd like to take this chance to point out how Ford has missed the boat on keyless ignition.
Austin: Here is another area where Ford did their homework. The rear seats fold down for extra space, and the front passenger seat folds as well to swallow an additional eight feet of cargo. Room for many a surfboard to be stored inside, no doubt. For those with less-active lifestyles, the Edge has enough trunk space, although the raked backglass cuts in on tall items.
Loverman: I really have nothing to add to Austin's astute observations except that since the Edge is high off the ground, loading your stuff in requires more effort than it should.
Loverman: We were driving the fully-pimped AWD SEL version with a base price of around $35,000. That's bordering on Infiniti FX territory. If Phil were to opt for a non-leather, sans-navigation, front wheel-driven SE model, he could still plug in his iPod and listen to Radiohead in relative comfort (or whatever the hell the kids are into these days) yet only will have handed over $26,000. That is more than two-tons of fun for not so much cash. Still, a WRX Sport Wagon (eat it, Davey) costs $1,000 less.
Austin: It's true, you can have a front-wheel-drive Edge for less than 26 grand. AWD is a $1650 option, and I'd guess you can get a reasonably-equipped Edge for less than $30,000. That's pretty good for an
SUV CUV, but as J-to-the-L pointed out, these trucklets carry a premium over cars simply for the privilege of sitting up high.
Austin: I wouldn't say the Edge is best in class, but it's pretty damn solid. Maybe all of the "bold" mentions during the product briefing (five, count 'em, five) got to me, but I think this CUV will be a hit for Ford. It's got plenty of interesting features, a winning interior and a buttery-smooth V6. If this segment has as much potential as Ford says it does, then the Edge could go a long way toward saving Ford's hide.
Loverman: Hang on a second. If the Edge's segment consists of only the Murano and the Toyota... the Toyota... whatever that tall Camry is called, then the Edge is definitely the best in class. If you count the CX-7 as being in the same class, then the Edge is second best in class. I still don't get the point of the class, though. As it is a good vehicle with no major faults, the Edge should succeed for Ford. And based on the look in the eyes of the fine Ford folks whenever they asked me what I thought, the Edge had better.