As dutiful American consumers, we've been taught to believe that choice is good. To that end, the splintering of the automotive market into different niches (four-door coupes, small panel vans, high-riding hatchbacks, etc.) is a positive development for buyers. But while the range of total models from automakers has been increasing, individual variation within a given model range has seemingly been reigned in, from a drastic reduction in build combinations of light-duty pickups to the availability of engines and ala carte options in everyday vehicles. Standing in direct contrast to this trend, however, is the 2011 Ford Edge crossover.
Whereas the first-generation Edge has lived since 2006 with a 3.5-liter V6 as its sole drivetrain, the 2011 model will offer no fewer than three powertrain choices. For 2011, the 3.5-liter engine will live on as the Edge line's bread-and-butter, but it is being joined by Ford's first production application of a new EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo, as well as the larger 3.7-liter V6 for the popular Edge Sport. In the case of the 3.5-liter, it produces 285 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, while the Sport's larger 3.7 Ti-VCT V6 delivers 305 ponies and 280 torques on 87 octane. Ford is not yet releasing power and economy numbers on the EcoBoost engine, but it promises "class-leading" fuel efficiency, noting that the new powertrain should eclipse the original 2006 Edge by some 30 percent.
Follow the jump to find out what else has changed for the Edge, as well as Ford's official press release.
Where the outgoing Sport model was largely a trim-and-tape proposition, the new model has a better shot at living up to its name – not only because it offers more power than other models in the range, but also because it has standard paddle-shifters, bespoke suspension settings and those cartoon-proportion 22-inch wheels and tires. Incidentally, in case you were wondering, Ford promises that the powertrain will happily hover at the redline when in manual 'Selectshift' mode without upshifting, a common performance bugbear. In addition to the altered oily bits, the Sport receives the usual complement of performance cues including a blacked-out grille, smoked head- and taillamp units, chrome oval exhausts, as well as a brace of body color parts (door cladding, rockers and fascias).
The Blue Oval has begun to make a habit of surprisingly comprehensive refreshes, and not just with sheetmetal and powertrain choices. To that end, the Edge receives a new interior with massive improvements in available technology (MyFord Touch), design and material choices. Even though the Edge won't debut here in Chicago for a few hours, we've already had the chance to sit in its interior, and it represents a massive improvement, particularly the better integrated center stack. We still found a few discount touches (hard plastics on the tops of the doors and somewhat cheap-feeling power lock, window and mirror switches), but on the whole, we feel comfortable saying that the new accommodations will place the Edge at or near the top of the mid-size CUV heap, particularly in light of its massive options list.
We've always liked the Edge's useful size and modern looks, but handling could be a bit stiff-legged, particularly with the Sport model's larger wheels. Ford says it has not only revisited all of its suspension settings, it has incorporated new subframe mounts to improve handling and minimize NVH issues. We look forward to verifying Ford's claims ahead of its rollout into dealers this summer.
We'll have live images and thoughts from Ford's press conference later today, but in the meantime, you can pore over the high-res gallery and press release after the jump.
• Dramatic freshening of the 2011 Ford Edge and Edge Sport includes extensive exterior redesign, improved materials and craftsmanship on the interior, class-exclusive technology and new powertrains
• With available MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology, the 2011 Ford Edge crossover wraps an engaging package with superior craftsmanship, capability and performance
• Ford's advanced engine valvetrain technology – Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing) – helps Edge achieve best-in-class power and torque for an uncompromised driving experience
• All-new powertrain lineup includes North America's first application of Ford's global 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine, delivering class-leading fuel economy, plus the new 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6 with unsurpassed fuel economy and 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V-6 for Edge Sport
CHICAGO, Feb. 10, 2010 – Style and technology – the hallmarks of Ford Edge since it took the midsize crossover segment by storm starting in 2006 – come together in an all-new way, offering customers even more of what they love for the 2011 model year.
"Customers told us how much they like Edge's design and dynamic driving quality," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "We listened and made sure the new 2011 Edge delivers that and more – including fuel economy leadership, unexpected levels of quietness, a strong new design with quality materials, and MyFord Touch driver connect technology that will change how people experience their vehicles."
Customers made the Ford Edge the No. 1-selling vehicle in its segment in its first full year on the market, and more than 330,000 have been sold since its launch in late 2006. The 2011 Ford Edge now aims to redefine the segment with a wide-ranging scope of improvements.
"The new Edge demonstrates how a refresh at Ford has become more than just a few design and interior tweaks," explains Elaine Bannon, chief engineer. "We have taken every element of the Edge and completely reworked it, including three new powertrains, two new transmissions, a bold new exterior design and a completely new interior. If you add in our industry-exclusive MyFord Touch system, you have a vehicle that will continue to stand out above all the competition on the road."
Improved power; expected to be a fuel economy leader
In addition to delivering customer-focused technology, the new Edge also showcases Ford's impressive drive to bring new powertrain options to the customer. Both the Edge 3.5-liter V-6 and Edge Sport 3.7-liter V-6 use advanced engine valvetrain technology (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, or Ti-VCT) and clever control strategies to increase horsepower and torque to best-in-class levels. This beats competitors such as the BMW X5, Lexus RX350 and Audi Q5, all while delivering unsurpassed fuel economy of 27 mpg (3.5-liter V-6 highway).
The 3.5-liter V-6 produces 285 horsepower and 253 ft.-lb. of torque while the 3.7-liter V-6 delivers 305 horsepower and 280 ft.-lb. of torque – all on regular fuel. Edge's unsurpassed fuel economy is not at the expense of power and performance. For example, the 3.5-liter V-6 with Ti-VCT technology delivers highway fuel economy that is 15 percent better than the Nissan Murano but produces 20 horsepower more.
Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The SelectShift Automatic™ transmission is standard on the 2011 Edge SEL and Limited series, with class-exclusive paddle activation of the SelectShift standard on the 2011 Edge Sport.
In addition, the arrival of the new 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine in the months ahead will give customers still more choice and will deliver class-leading fuel economy with impressive power and torque.
The new EcoBoost I-4 will be mated to a six-speed transmission that will help channel the impressive performance from the new EcoBoost engine. With the introduction of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4, fuel economy on the new Edge will be 30 percent better than it was in 2006. Plus, Ford's newest EcoBoost engine will deliver on the promise of 15 percent fuel economy improvements versus the Edge's current 3.5-liter V-6 engine while offering the performance feel of a six-cylinder.
In all, the Edge will go from one engine and one transmission to three powertrains – all delivering what's expected to be class-leading or unsurpassed fuel economy and class-leading power and torque for a real win-win for the customer.
A more connected driving experience
New 18-inch tires, standard on the Edge SEL and Edge Limited, and new wheels that are one-half inch wider than the outgoing product provide a more engaging steering feel. Twenty-inch tires with new wider wheels are optional on the Edge Limited while the Edge Sport has class-exclusive 22-inch wheels standard.
Complementing the new tire and wheel lineup is a retuned suspension. Shocks, springs and stabilizer bars were adjusted to tighten handling. The shocks now feature a high-flow piston, which allows engineers to tune for both road loads and driving dynamics, without compromising ride for handling or vice versa. The result is a flatter response through turns and over hills while still providing a comfortable ride.
New four-wheel disc brakes provide enhanced stopping power. Key brake system upgrades include steel pistons, larger rear rotors, revised brake friction materials, revised brake booster gain and revised pedal ratios, all of which enable more initial bite and a firmer, more confident feel when customers press on the brake pedal.
The 2011 Edge offers several new brake-related features: Hill Start Assist, which reduces rollback on hills; Trailer Sway Control, which provides greater towing stability when equipped for trailer tow; Hydraulic Brake Assist, which provides greater braking force in emergency stops; and available segment-first Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support, which helps reduce speed and automatically pre-charges brakes and engages an electronic brake assist system to help drivers stop more quickly when the system detects a collision is imminent.
New subframe mounts enhance drivability, help reduce road noise
The original Edge set numerous benchmarks in overall quietness, and that tradition continues as the 2011 Ford Edge has better wind noise than many premium vehicles such as the Lexus RX350, Audi Q5 and Acura MDX. Both the front and rear subframe mounts have been upgraded, adding to the increased tunability of the suspension and improving NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). The larger rear subframe bushing's rubber volume was increased by more than 500 percent compared with the outgoing bushings, improving the isolation between the subframe and the body, which in turn helps decrease road noise.
Both road noise and wind noise are significantly decreased in the 2011 Edge because of improvements found throughout the interior and exterior, including powertrain. Here's a look at some of the other actions:
• Sound pack and acoustic glass: A more absorptive sound pack is found throughout the interior, which reduces high-frequency noise more effectively than material that acts merely as a barrier. The result is an improved articulation index, which measures how easy it is to hear and understand someone in the vehicle. The 2011 Edge also features an acoustic headliner, and the microphone for the SYNC® system has been relocated so it is closer to the driver for improved voice recognition. The windshield also is thicker and now acoustic-laminated on all Edge models. Finally, baked-on expandable foam baffles in the fenders and D-pillars help seal out unwanted road noise.
• Powertrain NVH improvements: Three main actions contribute to a quieter 2011 Edge from a powertrain NVH perspective. One is the more robust engine cover. The intake and exhaust systems have been completely retuned for a crisper note corresponding to Ford powertrain DNA. Finally, a "tighter" torque converter reduces engine rpm on launch and tip-in events, reducing engine noise.
• Aerodynamic improvements: Both the lowered front fascia and new underbody shields contribute to improved wind noise.
Bold, flowing design makes Edge the can't-miss crossover
The bolder, more seamlessly flowing exterior design freshening is mirrored by a complementary interior, characterized by increased craftsmanship, improved materials and overall better execution. Improved fit-and-finish, softer touchpoints, and flexibility in terms of stowage in the cabin and throughout mark the 2011 Ford Edge.
"To me, craftsmanship isn't just fit-and-finish," said Bannon. "It's also the layout and the ergonomic experience. It's where we put the material – the stitching, the cutlines – and all the attention to detail to give the customer a great experience."
Increased presence is announced through a bolder grille and a chin spoiler that appears more crafted. The A-pillar flows into the hood, which adds subtle undulations to create a heightened sculptural quality. The wrapping lines emphasize both the front end and the new wheel lineup.
2011 Edge Sport adds more power, distinctive look
The 2011 Edge Sport is powered by a 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V-6 engine that produces 305 horsepower and is similar to the one added to the 2011 Ford Mustang. The 2011 Edge Sport includes all of the content found on Edge SEL as well as a specially tuned suspension, paddle shift transmission and its own unique style.
The Edge Sport's class-exclusive 22-inch polished aluminum wheels have distinctive Tuxedo Black spoke accents. Other unique styling cues include a Tuxedo Black grille, smoked headlamp and taillamp treatment, body-color rocker moldings, oval chrome exhaust tips, body-color door cladding and revised body-color lower front and rear fascias.
Key interior differentiators are liquid silver smoke appliqués that are echoed in the silver smoke metallic leather seat inserts, aluminum pedals and class-exclusive paddle shifters, which activate the six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission to give customers the option of a fun-to-shift manual experience.
In SelectShift mode, the transmission doesn't second-guess the driver, offering total control over gear selection and performance feel. Upshifts, for instance, are not commanded at redline, and downshifts are allowed at the lowest gear possible as defined by the engine speed.
When the system is in manual mode, engine speed matching provides faster and smoother downshifts, and customers get the gear they request within the limits of the rev limiter.
When a lower gear is selected while descending a long downhill grade, the 2011 Ford Edge Sport in SelectShift mode will hold that gear until the driver manually upshifts or returns to the fully automatic setting. To ensure safe shifting, the transmission will downshift to the lowest acceptable gear, based on a calculated maximum speed. That means if a vehicle were traveling at highway speeds, the driver could not downshift to first gear in SelectShift mode.
"The 2011 Ford Edge Sport, with its exceptional powertrain, specially tuned suspension and unique style, offers a driving experience not seen in other crossovers, and really appeals to the driving enthusiast," said Bannon. "Like the rest of the 2011 Ford Edge lineup, it perfectly blends technology and style."
MyFord Touch ushers in new era of interaction
The industry-first MyFord Touch driver connect technology provides a smarter, safer, simpler way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives. It replaces traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, crisp LCD screens and five-way controls like those found on cell phones and MP3 players.
Standard on the 2011 Edge Limited and 2011 Edge Sport, the MyFord Touch system displays information using two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking an analog speedometer and an 8-inch touch-screen LCD at the top of the center stack. A five-way switch on each side of the steering wheel crossbar controls the information displayed on the corresponding instrument panel screens. The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each individual driver using a simple button click, voice command or touch-screen tap.
The steering wheel has all the necessary functions available in a very compact area, right where the driver's hand falls as he or she grabs the wheel. The five-way buttons feel familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone or MP3 player.
Like the song? You can tag it
Also new on the 2011 Ford Edge is the world's first use of iTunes® Tagging in an available factory-installed HD Radio™ receiver. iTunes Tagging provides customers with the ability to "capture" a song they hear on the HD Radio receiver for later purchase from iTunes. With a simple push of a "TAG" button on the MyFord touch-screen display, the song information will be stored in the radio's memory.
Once a song is tagged and customers dock their iPod to the SYNC system, the tagged song information will transfer to that iPod. Up to 100 tags on SYNC can be stored until the iPod is connected. When the iPod is then synced to iTunes, a playlist of tagged songs will appear. Customers then can preview, and if they desire, purchase and download tagged songs from the iTunes Store.
One significant benefit of HD Radio technology is that the sound quality of the broadcast is dramatically better because of the digital transmission – FM sounds like a CD and AM sounds like today's FM broadcasts. Unlike analog broadcasts, digital broadcasts aren't susceptible to interference, fadeout and other issues.
2011 Ford Edge brimming with standard and class-exclusive technologies
MyFord driver connect technology headlines the list of 12 class-exclusive standard and available features and technologies for the 2011 Ford Edge, joining SYNC; Easy Fuel® (standard); SecuriCode keyless entry keypad; Blind Spot Mirrors (standard); MyKey™ (standard); AdvanceTrac® with RSC (Roll Stability Control™, standard); Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support; Cross Traffic Alert; and 22-inch wheels and paddle activation on the 2011 Edge Sport.
Here's a closer look at some of the technologies:
• Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support allows the driver to set the vehicle's speed and maintain it without using the accelerator pedal, and warns the driver of a potential collision risk. It also helps reduce speed and automatically pre-charges brakes and engages an electronic brake assist system to help drivers stop more quickly when the system detects a collision is imminent.
• Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with Cross Traffic Alert is a feature that can help detect vehicles in blind spots during normal driving and traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of parking spots.
• MyKey is designed to allow parents to encourage teenagers to drive safely and more fuel efficiently, and increase seat belt usage. The standard MyKey feature allows owners to designate keys that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume.
• Easy Fuel Capless Fuel-Filler System is a standard Ford-exclusive feature that uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap.
"You can jump in the 2011 Ford Edge and bring your technology – your lifestyle – with you and have everything at your fingertips," said Bannon. "The 2011 Ford Edge gives you all the capability and flexibility you want along with great style."
The 2011 Ford Edge will be built at Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, Canada, and will be available in dealers this summer.