18 October 2017Last updated

Features | People

Regaining the edge

The second generatiom Ford’s mid-size crossover has received a complete rebuild and new powertrains. But can it stave off the competition, asks Sony Thomas

Sony thomas
18 Oct 2016 | 12:20 pm
  • Source:Stefan Lindeque Image 1 of 2
  • Source:Stefan Lindeque Image 2 of 2

In vehicle years, a decade is as long as forever. This is especially so today, when most carmakers come up with generational updates every five to six years. So it’s no exaggeration that the first-generation Ford Edge, initially launched in 2006, had grown pretty long in the tooth, and irrelevant too, in a segment that’s teeming with highly competent models from almost every major automobile brand.

It’s a good thing then that when the second generation of its crossover utility vehicle was built in 2015, the Blue Oval made sure that it was all-new, with not even a bolt carried over from the previous model. Gone is the ancient CD3 platform – which was an adapted version of Mazda’s G architecture and a remnant of the uneasy marriage between these two brands – replaced by the thoroughly modern CD4 global midsize vehicle platform that will be used in most of Ford’s new and upcoming vehicles.

Thanks to the complete rebuild, the all-new Edge is also longer, taller and lighter than its predecessor. And way more handsome. Managing to look streamlined and chunky at the same time, the new Edge blends styling elements from the previous model deftly with the company’s corporate design language seen in the new Explorer, Escape and Fusion. Adding to the hunkered-down stance are standard LED lights front and back, as well as the 20in black alloys and the bulges on either sides of the bonnet.

Inside, the Edge, in our tester’s Sport trim, gets leather-trimmed sport seats with perforated suede inserts, metal accents and soft touch materials all around. The interior is better put together than before, with the leather and overall quality and workmanship lending it a more upmarket feel. Thanks to the increased dimensions overall, there’s loads of space in the cabin, with enough room to seat five adults comfortably. Cargo space is impressive too – the 602-litre boot has been increased to 1,788 litres with the rear seats down, and the electric tailgate makes it easy to load and unload.

While three power train options are available in the new Edge, the Sport trim comes exclusively powered by a 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 that’s good for 340bhp and 542Nm of torque. This makes it the most powerful of the three, with the other two being the 253bhp, 378Nm 2.0-litre four-pot, and the 283bhp, 340Nm 3.5-litre V6.

All these units are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which is standard across all trims. The Sport’s force-fed six-pot, which is the same block that finds application in the F-150 truck, is smooth from the start with barely any lag and packs an impressive mid-band punch. Although a six-speed gearbox might appear to be ill-equipped to handle the engine’s power and torque figures, it’s surprisingly slick, with crisp shifts and sharp responses, especially when controlled via the steering-wheel paddle-shifters with the lever in ‘S’ mode, which makes shifts more aggressive, keeps revs higher, and holds lower gears longer.

While the Ecoboost engine produces a satisfying burble on acceleration, you can barely hear it at cruising speeds. This is thanks to the Active Noise Cancellation feature that’s been incorporated specifically into the Sport variant. This technology uses three microphones placed at different positions in the cabin to generate opposing sound waves directed through the audio system, thus negating the engine note.

Also standard in the Edge Sport is Ford’s new adaptive steering, which changes the steering ratio constantly in accordance with vehicle speed, optimising response. This means low speed manoeuvres like pulling into a parking space require less turning of the wheel, while it firms up at highway speeds. The adaptive steering does make parking a cinch, but the downside is vague feedback at middling speeds.

Ford’s also tweaked the Sport’s suspension system, putting in front and rear anti-roll bars that are 15 per cent stiffer than the base model’s, monotube dampers that are larger in diameter, and coil springs that are 10 per cent thicker. While all these changes seem to have improved its road-holding skills, it still isn’t as poised as you might expect a sporty crossover to be in corners and highway exit loops, with some apparent body roll betraying the crossover’s nearly two-tonne heft.

The Edge Sport’s all-wheel drive system is full-time and seamless, with an electronically controlled clutch transferring power between the front and rear axles, and sending up to 100 per cent of the power to the front or back depending on the terrain and driving conditions. However, as with most of the unibody crossovers in this class, it’s wise not to take the Edge deep into the wilderness.

It is also packed with a raft of driver-assist and safety tech: Park Assist, which takes over from the driver and parks perfectly into a perpendicular slot, adaptive cruise control with collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, a knee airbag integrated into the glovebox door, inflatable rear seat belts, and dual-stage front airbags, among others.

Overall, the all-new Edge is a sleek-looking, well-equipped, potent and comfortable crossover. And if you’re looking for a five-seater utility vehicle at a reasonable price, the Edge makes for excellent value with its starting price of Dh115,000. But the whole equation changes with the Sport trim at Dh210,000. Even with the more powerful engine and the rest of the goodies, it will be difficult for a typical buyer in this segment to justify paying Dh90,000 more for the Sport. Especially when that kind of money can get them mid-spec variants of much bigger and more capable full-size SUVs like the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser. But if two rows of seating is all you need, and you want nothing but a Ford, and your budget permits it, then the Edge Sport won’t disappoint you.

Specs and verdict

Engine 2.7-litre V6 turbo

Transmission Six-speed auto, AWD

Max power 340bhp @ 3,2350rpm

Max torque 542Nm @3,000rpm

Top speed NA

0-100kph NA

Length 4,779mm

Width 1,928mm

Height 1,742mm

Wheelbase 2,850mm

Weight 1,860kg

On sale Now

Highs Great engine, refined cabin, technology features

Lows Temperamental steering, relatively high price for the Sport trim

Price Dh210,000 (as tested)

Sony thomas

Sony thomas