According to Ford, the 2015 Ford Edge is a better vehicle by every measure. The first Edge was launched in 2006 so it’s definitely been around longer than a typical crossover, but hopefully the new one is worth the wait. My biggest complaint about the outgoing model is how heavy and truck-like it felt, but that didn’t seem to be an issue to the 120,000 people who buy an Edge every year.
In an unusual move, Ford invited us to look at and touch the 2015 Edge, but not to drive it. We learned about the engines that will power the new Edge, but not about their horsepower, torque or fuel economy. This too is probably information that is secondary to buyers who are more focused on styling and interior cabin. The Edge is going out on top, leading the segment which includes the Toyota Venza, Nissan Murano and Honda Crosstour. Ford tells us that the all-new Edge will be sold in more than 100 markets across the globe, especially China where the Edge is red hot.
The 2015 Edge is now based on the same global platform as the award-winning Ford Fusion that debuted in North America in 2012. “The all-new Edge has been remade in almost every single detail, always keeping in mind the customer, who expects something premium, powerful and special,” said Judy Curran, vehicle line director for Ford. “With a structure more rigid than ever and a suspension tuned to the highest global standards, the 2015 Edge is a high-tech utility that delivers a special driving experience customers will feel from their first moments behind the wheel.”
If you really want to get the marketing detail speak generated by Ford on the new Edge, download the press release or visit the Edge Microsite. I’ll summarize – it’s faster, more efficient, stiffer, better, etc…. Until I drive it and compare it to the rest of the segment, I’ll reserve judgement but of course I know it’s going to be better. The real interest for me is the All-New 2.7-Liter V6 EcoBoost that will crank out over 300 horsepower, which is the same engine that will be offered in the Aluminum F150 debuting later this year.
From an innovation perspective, the All-new adaptive steering technology seems interesting. Essential the steering response will be increased significantly at lower speeds so that when you are trying to park or maneuver around a tight corner, it will take less steering response to turn the wheels. Trust me, it’s cool and needed. Here’s Ford’s explanation:
“Adaptive steering changes the ratio between a driver’s actions at the steering wheel – the number of turns – and how much the front wheels turn. In traditional steering systems, this is a fixed steering ratio. With Ford adaptive steering, the steering ratio continually changes with vehicle speed, optimizing steering response in all situations. At lower speeds, such as pulling into a parking space or maneuvering in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn, as it dials more steering into the road wheel. Each low-speed maneuver requires less turning of the steering wheel. At highway speeds, the system further optimizes steering response, enabling Edge to react more smoothly and precisely to driver input. Adaptive steering technology can help make any drive more enjoyable.
Other key technology features include:
- Active Grille Shutters: Available on select models to help counter air resistance
- Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support: Uses radar to detect moving vehicles directly ahead and change the cruising speed if necessary
- Adaptive steering technology: Most advanced steering system ever from Ford makes Edge easier to maneuver and more fun to drive by optimizing steering response in all conditions
- Air curtain: Creates a curtain of air alongside the vehicle using smart duct work, improving aerodynamics at high speed
- Auto Start-Stop technology: Turns the engine off to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped, then restarts the engine in milliseconds when the brake is released; specially tuned for Edge
- Blind Spot Information System: BLIS® uses radar to trigger a warning when another motorist is in the driver’s blind spot
- Cameras: New 180-degree front camera with washer featured for first time on a Ford vehicle; standard rear camera
- Cross-traffic alert: Uses radar to help alert drivers to oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking space
- Enhanced active park assist: Builds on Ford parallel parking technology and includes a system to guide the vehicle into a perpendicular parking space. The system can also steer the vehicle into and out of a parallel parking space
- Forward and reverse sensing systems: The systems provide audible alerts designed to help drivers avoid obstacles when parking
- Hands-free liftgate: Allows customer to move leg below center of the rear bumper to unlock and raise liftgate
- Heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel: Amenities make occupants more comfortable, and every drive more enjoyable
- Lane-keeping system: Alerts driver to steer the vehicle back into its lane if the vehicle is allowed to drift
- Side parking sensors: uses sensors and algorithms that measure speed and steering wheel angle to warn drivers of obstacles on either side of the vehicle during parking or low-speed maneuvers
- SYNC® with MyFord Touch®: Becoming available for more trim levels; standard on Edge Sport and Titanium series
Technology is cool as long as it’s usable. One new piece of safety is the Active glove box knee airbag which utilized the front of the glove box to cushion the impact on the knees during a crash.
AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™: Uses sensors to measure the roll rate of the vehicle and predict its roll angle. Based on this information and measurements from other vehicle dynamics sensors, the system can adjust engine torque and brake pressure at all four wheels to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle
Curve Control: Uses the same sensors as Roll Stability Control to detect and measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle to help drivers follow their intended path by slowing the vehicle more efficiently while maneuvering a curve
Inflatable rear safety belts: An advanced restraint system that combines attributes of safety belt and airbag technologies. It is designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers in frontal crashes by distributing crash force energy across five times more of an occupant’s torso than a traditional safety belt. Inflatable belts are available for second-row outboard seating positions
Higher standards for quality and craftsmanship
The 2015 Edge will be available in four trim levels. These include SE, SEL, Sport and – for the first time – a top-of-the-line Titanium series to meet market demand for more premium offerings.
“We really focused on meeting the highest craftsmanship standards in developing the all-new Edge,” said Kim Cape, marketing manager, Ford Large Cars and Utilities. “The idea was to create not just a high-quality exterior and interior, but to give the customer a holistic, premium experience.
“The Titanium trim level has been a real success story for Ford – particularly in products such as Fusion, Escape and Flex. Our customers are telling us, ‘We are interested in technology and a premium look and feel.’ Titanium delivers that.”
Overall, the 2015 Edge represents a significant move forward in both material and visual quality. Throughout the vehicle, seams are tighter and more consistent, and the design has been executed in a way that reduces visual cutlines. The team worked out the smallest of details, such as rethinking how the front doors meet the instrument panel, simplifying merging points and reducing potential alignment issues.
The dashboard and center console have also been carefully designed and shaped to look like one thin, streamlined piece. A central 8-inch LCD touch screen supporting SYNC with MyFord Touch is now available on even more models.
Storage areas have been improved throughout the cabin, with a covered media bin on top of the center stack; an open, pass-through-type storage area beneath the climate controls; an open storage area on the instrument panel, below and to the left of the steering wheel; and large pockets on each door.
Thanks in part to smart design work and next-generation seats that are thinner and more supportive, the interior of the new Edge is larger and more spacious. Adding further to the feeling of openness, Edge will continue to offer one of the largest sunroofs in the business – Ford’s Panoramic Vista Roof, measuring 47.7 inches front to back.
Legroom in the first and second row of the new Edge has increased by 1.9 inches and 1.0 inch, respectively. Headroom increases by 1.0 inch throughout. Cargo capacity increases, with 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row of seats – 7.0 cubic feet more than the previous model. With the second row folded, space has increased by 4.5 cubic feet, to 73.4 cubic feet.
The new Edge is slightly longer and taller than its predecessor, and the wheelbase increases by 1.0 inch, to 112.2 inches.
Quieter than ever
The all-new Edge is not only more luxurious and comfortable, but also quieter.
In wind tunnel tests, Edge proved to be more than 1 sone quieter than its predecessor (a sone is a unit used to measure how loud a sound is perceived). This enhanced quietness is due to better sealing of the body, sound insulation improvements, and powertrains that are better isolated from the cabin and operate in a quieter manner. Acoustic windshield glass is standard on every model. Select Titanium models are even quieter, incorporating acoustic glass on driver and passenger side doors.
The twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, for example, has reduced vibration levels when idling compared to the previous version, and is 2 decibels quieter. In moments of heavy acceleration, the revamped engine emits a quieter, more refined sound. This is due to multiple changes including an acoustic wrap to the intake manifold, upgraded heat shield that provides additional sound management and modified oil pump.
Edge Sport will be equipped with Active Noise Cancellation technology from Ford to manage and enhance the sound of its powerful 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine. Using three microphones strategically placed throughout the cabin, the system is able to generate opposing sound waves directed through the audio system, enhancing overall cabin ambience.
Even the tires have been selected to deliver a better on-road experience. The 20-inch tires available on Sport and Titanium trim levels are a full 2 decibels quieter – reducing unpleasant road noises often associated with larger wheels.
Built to be the best
The all-new Edge will be built at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex, near Toronto, where a $700 million (U.S.) renovation has delivered significant improvements to the facility.
In preparation for 2015 Edge production, the plant has been fitted with more than 250 new, more advanced robots to improve the build quality and repeatability performance of the equipment. Many of these robots have been installed to work to the most demanding levels of precision – with duties that require thousandths of an inch accuracy to ensure repeatable, high-quality assembly.
“Some unique technologies have come into the plant, all of it designed to bring a higher level of quality at a rate that is capable of being repeated,” said William Cowell, Oakville Assembly plant manager. “The higher level of complexity in the build process means employees are interfacing with more advanced systems and technology that can significantly improve quality in ways that our customers will be able to see and feel.”