The Edge was one of the stars of the 2006 North American International Auto Show, seemingly coming in for praise from all corners. How the Blue Oval's new ute fares in the marketplace is of pivotal import to the company, as it's a cornerstone in The Way Forward, Ford's roadmap rough outline to fiscal solvency. With that being said, it appears to be at the very least a competitive proposition, with a 3.5L V6 matched to a six-speed automatic and characterful, aggressive styling.  The big question for the moment then, is...  "How much?"

While the Blue Oval hasn't made any official price proclamations yet, a little birdie passed along the address to the company's Build & Price Preview before went live to the company's main page today, giving us a little lead time to tinker with configurations and generate some commentary. Of cource, prices for models and options are just general guidelines at this point, but they prove instructive nonetheless.

[Take the jump to more information and analysis]

 

If the website is to be trusted, the SE is set to start at a skosh above $25k, and the upscale SEL just under $27k. Specify all-wheel-drive in either trim and expect to pay about a $1,500 premium regardless of model choice.

Eight exterior colors and up to three (SEL) interior hues are specified in either trim , with perhaps the only daring paint option being Blazing Copper Metallic (admittedly Creme Brulee Clearcoat has a tasty ring to it, but it's essentially white).

On the SE, Ford appears to be mulling essentially two major option packages, Safety: (Safety Canopy™ and side impact airbags), and Convenience: auto-dim rearview mirror, automatic headlights, illuminated door entry keypad, and an MP3 jack with power point (also available separately). AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control is listed as a separate and rather hefty option at $680. The usual other order sheet suspects are here, audio systems, tow hitch, roof rack, and so forth, but disturbingly for a $25,000 vehicle, alloys are listed as an option (we'd prefer more standard safety equipment as well, for the record).

Ticking the SEL box opens up the options list with a Seating Flexibility Package (leather, power fold-flat passenger seat, and remote release folding second row), along with a Premium Package that adds rump and glass warmers, dual-zone climate control, and steering wheel climate controls, among other niceties.

The website also has a page entitled "Future Options," which, Ford instructs, are not options scheduled to be available for 2007, but rather items they are mulling for future consideration. Included in this list are everything from 20" chromies, Bluetooth phone integration, an "interior appearance package" (promising upgraded red leather, aluminum trim and a "unique instrument cluster color"), a mood lighting package and... wait for it... a $1,360 ground effects kit.

If the pricing structure holds, some quick cross-shopping the FWD Edge reveals a M.G.R.P. (Manufacturers Guesstimated Retail Price) running about $1,500 less than a comparable 2006 Nissan Murano, arguably its closest foil. Honda's Pilot has more pedestrian styling, but offers more significantly more utility (third row seating) for less than $1,000 more. In other words, the Edge will have its hands full.

With a too-brief look at the Edge inside-and-out at the NAIAS and no seat-time, we can't say for certain how we feel the Edge will fare, but looks to have a fine shot at The Way Forward.


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