• 52
Ford Masters The Mid-Cycle Refresh

2011 Ford Edge - Click above for high-res image gallery

It's one thing for an automaker to develop a single great vehicle. After all, even a blind squirrel can score the occasional nut. But to gain a loyal customer base, automakers must string together a consistent cadence of winners. When CEO Alan Mulally joined Ford Motor Company in 2006, he inherited a product lineup with only two true champions: the F-Series pickup and the iconic Mustang. Over the next four years, Mulally and his team concentrated on getting the company leaner and meaner while improving quality and streamlining its product offerings.

At the same time that Ford was trimming costs and eliminating waste, it was also producing more competitive products. The 2010 Taurus was a step in the right direction. The 2010 Fusion won Motor Trend Car of the Year. The 2011 Mustang GT got the engines it needed to beat up on the pony car competition. And buyers are spending top dollar to get optioned-up 2011 Fiesta hatchbacks and sedans. The Blue Oval has been firing on all cylinders, and the company's newest offering, the 2011 Edge, is supposed to extend Ford's seemingly unbreakable streak. Will updated looks, new engines and a completely overhauled interior get the Edge on buyers' short lists? We spent a week in a loaded 2011 Edge Limited to see for ourselves.

Continue reading...

Photos copyright ©2010 Chris Shunk / AOL

Ford has a lot of product momentum of late, but many of the outstanding new vehicles it's ushered to market have been built off an existing foundation. The new Taurus, Fusion and Mustang all feature the same basic architecture as their less celebrated predecessors. The Edge is no different, and as such, it could be argued that the five-seat crossover may actually have been the most successful model out of the gate.

Ford sold 130,000 copies of the mid-size crossover during its first full year on the market. Sure, that's 12,000 fewer sales compared to the Fusion's first full year, but the key stat to consider is that the starting price for an Edge was about $8,000 higher than a Fusion, which makes it likely that Ford earns quite a bit more money selling an Edge than when it moves a Fusion. That price disparity won't change for 2011, either, as the Edge now starts out at $27,220, with a Limited model like our tester commanding at least $34,220.

2011 Ford Edge side view2011 Ford Edge front view2011 Ford Edge rear view

The first generation Edge (2006-10) impressed CUV buyers with its sharp-looking sheetmetal. It makes sense, then, that Ford put less effort into redesigning an exterior that was already well-liked. The 2011 Edge receives a new, more Fusion-like front fascia with a big, bold grille and a particularly attractive hood that rises over the engine and falls away from a sharp crease towards the fenders and grille. Sticking to Ford's comprehensive Refresh Playbook, designers also upgraded the Edge's lighting, using modern-looking HID lamps up front and LED technology in the taillights. Our top-end tester, which carries an MSRP of $39,995, also sported vertical LED light strips in place of traditional fog lamps in the front bumper.

Ford has done a fine job making the Edge more handsome for 2011, but the heaviest lifting has been done inside the cabin. While the dashboard of the first-generation Edge was arguably outclassed by a Tonka Truck, the 2011 Edge comes back with highly tactile soft touch materials just about everywhere your fingers fall. The dash also loses the thick straight lines of the outgoing model in favor of an uninterrupted expanse that tops the whole instrument panel like a fitted hat. The leather seats in our Limited tester were plush, bolstered just right and a pleasure in which to while away the miles. The steering wheel? Thick, covered in soft leather and smooth. And since a luxurious interior can't be had without a quiet cabin, the new Edge is fitted with an acoustic windshield and thicker firewall to muffle the outside significantly better than last year's model. What a difference a refresh makes.

2011 Ford Edge headlight2011 Ford Edge hood2011 Ford Edge wheel2011 Ford Edge taillight

The Edge is a lot of things, but a seven-seater it is not (that's what the Flex and the new Explorer are for). Therefore, it has retained its two-row configuration with plenty of room for five adults plus 32.2 cubic feet of cargo space in back. Fold down the second-row seats that split 60/40 and capacity jumps to 68.9 cubic feet, or about five more cubes than a Nissan Murano. Our tester made that extra cargo area more accessible with a power liftgate and buttons to fold the second row seats without leaning over the bumper and getting one's pants dirty. And while the Edge is wide at 75.8 inches across to provide more horizontal room to stuff big things through the hatch, there is a two- to three-inch lift-over that could make it a bit tricky for some to get that cargo in the boot.

An attractive exterior can bring car buyers into the showroom, but a bit of of 'surprise and delight' tech can be a very effective tool to secure the sale. Ford really gets this, as technology has been a central component of the company's turnaround. The 2011 Edge is no different. Our tester included keyless entry with pushbutton start, adaptive cruise control with an attention-grabbing collision warning system, BLIS blind spot detection and a rear-view camera. And that's not the half of it. The 2011 Edge is also available with Ford's popular SYNC system and the new MyFord Touch interface which includes a pair of 4.2-inch LCD screens on either side of the large analog speedometer and a totally new take on how people interact with the stereo, hands-free phone, navigation and climate controls.

2011 Ford Edge interior2011 Ford Edge front seats2011 Ford Edge gauges2011 Ford Edge cargo area

Your author been dying to get his hands on a MyFord Touch-equipped Edge ever since it was introduced at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. After a week living with the new touch tech, the story is mostly positive. The dual LCD screens in the gauge cluster are trick beyond compare, with crisp, bright graphics displaying all sorts of data. On the left is fuel economy and trip data and on the right are choices for climate control, navigation, entertainment and phone functions. A pair of four-way controllers with a 'Select' button on each side of the steering wheel are used to control each screen. These controls are very intuitive to use, enabling the driver to focus less of his or her attention on the center console and more on the road.

The eight-inch touch screen that dominates the center of the dashboard is at the same time aesthetically brilliant and simple to operate. Each of its four corners will take you to a different area of the MyFord Touch system: Phone (upper left), Navigation (upper right), Entertainment (lower left) and Climate Control (lower right). You'll likely notice that each quadrant of the LCD is also color-coded, matching the colors for the same functions on the dual 4.2-inch displays in the instrument cluster. Brilliantly played, FoMoCo. What if you still want a knob to simply adjust the volume on the stereo? If you opt for the Limited model, the upgraded Sony sound system includes a massive knob smack in the middle of the center stack. MyFord Touch also replaces traditional buttons on the center console with redundant touch sensitive controls for the stereo and climate controls. Finally, you can also simply speak your commands using the SYNC system's voice recognition system that's been upgraded to process over 10,000 commands.

2011 Ford Edge touch screen2011 Ford Edge stereo controls

We love the logical thinking that Ford has employed with this new interface, but the system isn't without flaws. Take the touch-sensitive controls adorning the center console. While the aforementioned volume knob is as big as a baseball, the touch-sensitive "buttons" around it are the size of marbles. When turning the volume knob, our knuckles would often graze the button that activates adjusting the stereo's settings on the main LCD. This accidental interaction swaps the main LCD screen from the navigation map we like to see while driving to controls for tinkering with the stereo. In order to get back each time, we had to touch the Navigation corner in the upper right part of the screen.

Then there's the touch-sensitive "button" below the large LCD that activates hazard lights, which the base of our palm couldn't get enough of whenever we went to use the main screen. Furthermore, the lowest touch-sensitive buttons that operate the dual-zone climate controls are partially blocked by the shift lever, which sits only a few inches from the interface when the Edge is parked. Even when the shift lever rests in 'D' there just isn't adequate room to access this area. Perhaps over time we could get used to using the voice commands to avoid those touch-sensitive controls altogether, but should we have to?

2011 Ford Edge steering wheel2011 Ford Edge shifter

Just as we were starting to feel wary of some of changes to this latest Edge, we engaged its pushbutton start and took off running. The newly upgraded 3.5-liter V6 engine now produces 285 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque thanks to the addition of twin-independent variable-cam timing. That's an increase of 20 hp and three lb-ft of torque over last year's engine, and we could feel each additional pony in the stable. We estimate a jaunt to 60 miles per hour passes by in about 7.5 seconds, though Motor Trend needed only 7.1 seconds to do the deed in a recent test.

This version of Ford's oft-used 3.5-liter V6 feels particularly silky as well, in part because Ford has refined its six-speed automatic for smoother shifts. The best part of the Edge's power bump is that the upgraded powertrain also requires less fuel. EPA fuel economy numbers for the 3.5-liter V6 in the 2011 Edge are 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, a small but appreciated improvement over the 18/25 numbers of the less powerful outgoing model. We averaged 21.9 mpg during our week of testing.

2011 Ford Edge engine

The last-generation Edge made do with only one available engine, but the new 2011 model offers three engine choices. Beyond the base 3.5-liter V6, the top-shelf Sport model gets a larger 3.7-liter V6 producing 305 hp and 280 lb-ft. The two V6s will also soon be joined by a third, more efficient engine: a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder boasting an estimated 230 hp and 15-percent better fuel economy than the 3.5-liter V6.

Dynamically, the new Edge still feels heavy, and that's because it still is. The Refresh Playbook didn't include a chapter on dieting, as the Edge still weighs over 4,000 pounds. The 3.5-liter V6 engine's extra power, however, helps make more of those pounds melt away. Also, the Edge's wide stance, stiff chassis and firmly tuned suspension do an admirable job of managing that weight when diving into turns. The tautly sprung suspension favors smooth roads, as the reverberations may be more than some owners can stand when the road gets rough and pocked with imperfections.

2011 Ford Edge rear 3/4 view

While the suspension can be categorized as sporty (for a crossover), the Edge's steering cannot. Feedback from the wheel is mostly absent thanks to Ford's electronic power steering system, which, in fairness, improves fuel efficiency compared to a traditional hydraulic system that leaches off the engine. The brakes have also been improved for 2011. The last Edge suffered from mushy stoppers, which Ford engineers have fixed for the most part. Our tester's brakes carried quite a bit of bite after pushing through some initial softness at the beginning of the pedal's travel.

The Ford Edge has transformed from an attractive crossover with a passable cabin to an even better looking crossover with more power, improved fuel economy and a truly state-of-the-art interior experience. Normally, that's the type of report card an automaker hopes for when executing a full redesign at the end of a model's life cycle, and Ford has somehow managed to achieve similar results with just a mid-cycle refresh. If the brand continues on this pace, customers will begin expecting every new product wearing a Blue Oval badge to surprise and delight. While not the easiest play to pull off, it's the best way to build a cheering section.

Photos copyright ©2010 Chris Shunk / AOL

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Feedback from the wheel is mostly absent thanks to Ford's electronic power steering system, which, in fairness, improves fuel efficiency compared to a traditional hydraulic system that leaches off the engine."

      This makes no sense. EPS is not an inherently flawed technology. Automakers can easily adjust how responsive the system is and how much feedback it offers in different situations. Ford killed the feedback so that soccer moms would like the Edge on test drives "Omg its so easy to drive!"
        • 4 Years Ago
        And they're exactly the people who will be buying this car. Anyone who needs real utility out of a vehicle buys something a little more rugged, like a true SUV or a pickup truck.

        The Edge is primarily aimed at people who think it's a good compromise between a sedan and the Excursion/Suburban/Army Tank they used to drive, despite the fact that it still drinks gasoline like a rocketship, and all the utility you lose by "downsizing" would never be missed by these people anyway.
      • 3 Years Ago
      OK - I LOVE my new Edge. I bought a 2011 with leather and Ford SYNC. I may never part with this car. It rides very well - has a very solid feel and is very comfortable. The SYNC system is a blast. I tell everybody I talk to my car and it talks back to me. Love the hands free phone but it is also fun to change your radio and climate settings just with voice commands. And the back up cam is incredible. Even in the dark - you can see everything behind you like it is daylight. It is just an uber cool car with a great ride.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford's styling has been really good lately, inside and out. Is it just me or does that interior look very european?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks great, inside and out. If this is just a refresh, I can't wait to see how a full redesign would look
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ MechE

        you wanted them to leave an RX350 for an Edge?

        My wife still prefered the Nissan Murano over the Edge (just a month ago we got it) no more the RX. Her all time favorite is still the Infinit FX but at $390/mo with 15k miles with $0 down to lease the Murano to here nothing was worth that much more to warrant an extra $100/mo

        It all came down to the interior and exterior styling and she loves the Murano where she though the Ford was good - but the chrome wheels are a turn off. And the CVT was a hit with her from day one (back in 2007 when she got her first Murano)

        Still between the tow for me it's a toss up, but the Ford with my touch might just have a bit more to offer. other than that interi
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think rear-wheel drive makes much sense in this segment - these CUV's are designed to haul families, a transmission tunnel will only get in the way of the interior space, I'm sure the handling is good enough for every day use, especially if you look at Ford's FWD portfolio which includes the excellent Euro Focus ST. 4WD might be a more sensible request but I think Ford is aware that the CUV market is looking for capacity, range, rugged looks and quality interior. I think this is a good call for Ford.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Very good looking car. But a couple gripes: I wish they changed the a grill a bit into more than just chrome slats and also got rid of chrome wheels. Everything else seems good. just need to fix these and it would be an even more attractive car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What a car the 2011 Ford Edge is!The interiors and the seating are the most comfortable in its class..If you go for the Limited and Sports version of Edge, the MyFord Touch option is standard, these models make the Ford Edge th best in the class of midsized sedans comfort wise, improving manifold the quality of the ride.The controls for the car are similar to a mobile phone interface, which is a new technology incorporated in the cars..The second row rear seat is esily foldable..If we add options like dual zone electronic temperature control,Sirius satellite radio, a six-way power driver's seat,power liftgate,heated front seats,SYNC infotainment system and navigation system, it can put Ford Edge in an enviable position in the competitive midsized SUVs segment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well done Ford, similar to the Fusion what started as a mediocre design has been refined into a class leader that looks pretty sharp. Wish my sister and her husband would have followed my advice in testing this car out before buying an RX350 but some just havent accepted the Ford name.

        The testers averaged 23 mpg, this is pretty good to me. I am always skeptical about EPA figures, especially the figures that Ford has for Ecoboost engines (even though this isnt Ecoboost). I feel like EPA rates pretty high, but the real world driving still comes in the teens which is the real factor.

        Regardless, 23mpg is pretty dang good and removes my skepticism.
      • 4 Years Ago
      good looking crossover but
      got i hate the chrome rims and grill

      quick repaint of front grill body colour and add rims

        • 4 Years Ago
        Much better. I hate all of those fat 3 bars in chrome
        • 4 Years Ago
        That looks awesome.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A suburban turd.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw one of these yesterday on the other side of the highway going north as I was going south. At first glance, I was like "What is that?! That thing is sexy!" It was actually a sport edition in white with the blacked out grille. I'll admit that the huge chrome wheels didn't look good moving to me, but they may look better when the car is still. Still, give me some black wheels to match the grille! That's what aftermarket is for, though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        me a fanboy of Ford, lol? I've never owned a Ford in my life (all Honda's). I honestly thought it looked great.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The front end looks good, but calling the car sexy lol? I think you should take off your fanboy goggles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great. Now can they do something about the Escape's dinosaur design?
      • 4 Years Ago
      We got upgraded to the previous gen Edge on a 2-week road trip earlier this summer since the rental car place ran out of cars. I must say I was extremely impressed with this vehicle and so was the other couple on vacation with us. And this was a stripped out rental with cloth seats, etc.

      It drove very much like a European car, the suspension tuning was on the sporty side and drove a lot like my GF's old X5. She now has a Q5 and that thing is nice but she paid through the nose for it. We were all just shocked at how well put together the Edge was since none of us had owned a domestic car in years and are all really stuck on imports.

      We all joke now when we see each other and say "have you driven a Ford lately?" The new GT will probably be my next car and my first American Ford. I've driven many European Fords when I was stationed in Germany and always thought the US Fords were junk.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Funny that you mention you were also impressed with the pre-refresh Edge.

        My girlfriend had a 2010 SEL as a loaner for about two weeks when she had an accident. We drove it through the worst of the snowstorms that we got here in Northern VA in December '09 with nary a problem. The AWD system was seamless and we never got stuck in a foot of unplowed snow. The vehicle also drove incredibly well, returned decent fuel mileage, and was very comfortable.

        The only downsides were the interior. The cloth on the seats was pretty bargain basement, and the plastics used on the dash were not of a high quality.
      • 1 Year Ago
      the edge is a great car amazing 6 CYLINDER 3,5 ENGINE I am very sorry ,i sold it, very very sorry.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good review. A few weeks ago, I stopped by the local Ford dealership to check out an Edge that was a virtual twin to your tester.

      My first impressions were mostly dominated by the MyFord Touch system that works beautifully and seamlessly paired with my iPhone (how un-Microsoft-like). While I was really trying not to be dazzled by that interface, the fact is, that feature alone is going to move a bunch of sheetmetal. It's brilliant, however, the technowizardy can only go so far. Fortunately, it's also mounted in a pretty good vehicle. Like your review, I found that the Edge feels larger than it actually is, but I attribute that sensation more to the higher beltline and relatively low windshield header.

      In short, I'm not particularly interested in taking on 48-60 payments at this point, but when I am, the Edge will likely make it on to the short list of contenders.

      A few years back, many had left Ford for dead. It's good to see that somebody in Dearborn finally realized that "it's the product, stupid". With efforts like this Edge, Ford is apparently far more viable than some had believed. Well done.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad they finally fixed the interior on this thing, and with the new EcoBoost engine I can actually stand it.

      My dad bought one of these about a year ago and I absolutely hate it. You're essentially getting all of the negatives of an SUV--impossible to park, handles like a tank, less than stellar interior, guzzles gas--with none of the positives. It seats as many as a Taurus and hardly has any more power, costs more to boot.

      But with this one, they seem to have gotten things together. That interior looks phenomenal, and I'm glad to see a more fuel-efficient four banger on the way. I've seen a ton of these in the past couple of days and the new exterior design is definitely striking in comparison to the old exterior styling.
    • Load More Comments