First drive: 2015 Ford Edge Sport

Ford's all-new Edge Sport gets the grunt to fit its name, but not the moves

Ford’s Edge sufficiently meets all the crossover criteria and shows great potential. However, it doesn’t reach its ‘Sport’ pretentions when pushed to the limit.

It seems modern drivers always want a least modicum of performance in their vehicles, even if it’s antithetical to the purpose of the car in question. Accordingly, crossovers are the result of people requiring a vehicle that has room for a family, friends, and a load of luggage, but without trading car sportiness for lumbering pack-mule drudgery of a truck-based SUV.

Ford’s answer to this automotive enigma was the Edge, offering a vehicle that was meant to be as enjoyable to drive as it is useful. After almost ten years, the crossover has received a “wheels to roof” makeover, bringing with it a new style, better performance and (almost) every new trick Ford has learned in the meantime.

Accordingly, I was eager to see if Ford’s middle crossover child could not only stand out amongst its siblings, but also carry forward its proclaimed sportiness. So, does the new Edge have what it takes to stand out in the congested, modern crossover segment? I went to Arizona to take the Edge Sport to find out.

Go-go, gadget car

As time ticks on, crossovers seem to become more and more refined. With this gradual refinement, the vehicles seem to lose their original distinguishing characteristics. In order to create a new Edge that didn’t blend in with the virtual wallpaper of crossovers plastering the market, Ford threw at it every bit of tech it could muster, creating a veritable toy box of tech … with wheels.

The new Edge is a toy box of technology packed into one big smartphone of a car.

Highlights of this tech get-together are the hands-free lift gate, an 180-degree forward-facing camera to complement the rear one, and enhanced park-assist system that gives the Edge the ability to not only self-parallel park, but also autonomously reverse into a spot.

Perhaps the feature I found handiest during my long desert drive was the Lane-Keeping system. Instead of simply beeping and flashing lights when leaving the lane, the Edge system adds autonomous wheel action, which will steer the car back into the lane.

I bravely endeavored to see the extent of this autonomy, releasing the wheel at a long, empty stretch and watched the Edge correct itself enough to keep from crossing over into the adjacent lane. As it drifted to the shoulder on the opposite side, it came right back. The Edge soon caught on to what I was doing, however, and insisted I get my hands back on the wheel. Other cars have similar systems, but what is unique to Ford’s is menu-adjustable intensity of the intervention.

2015 Ford Edge Sport

Curiously, the 2015 new edge comes with Ford’s Sync with MyFordTouch, which, depending who you ask, works fine. If you ask me, however, I find it a little long in the tooth, particularly in light of Ford having announced a revamped Sync 3 system this past December. Confused? It’s like having this year’s iPhone running last year’s operating system. Perhaps it’s nothing that a simple upgrade can’t fix down the line, but, in a vehicle meant to be the brand’s technology showcase, it’s a glaring omission.

Edge of glory?

Toys are fun, but getting down to the meat of things is what counts. And, under the hood, the Edge Sport serves up a juicy, new 2.7-liter Ecoboost six-cylinder that doles out a surprising amount of thrust. The turbo power plant musters up a solid 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which makes itself usable quite quickly, peaking at around 2,700 rpm.

What a great, clean, syrupy burst of satisfying exuberance out of such a little engine.

Setting off down a long stretch of desert highway, I felt that its quickness did an amazing job in delivering its part of the crossover equation. It gave the Edge the legs to sprint forward rapidly while inhaling gobs of air, climbing ever faster. Moments like these are when drivers pat themselves on the back for their engine choice. What a great, clean, syrupy burst of satisfying exuberance out of such a little engine. If only the handling was there to match it.

The Sport trim’s stiffer anti-roll bars do indeed make for a smooth ride, but Ford’s supposed 20-percent increase in road-holding capability was hard to feel out in practice. Even with the electric power steering incorporating a so-called ‘curve control’ system, a unit meant to help maneuvers through a bend, I just felt let down by the controls when I needed them the most. Sure, it functions in a perfectly serviceable way when lane changing or doing normal commute stuff, but engaging in any dynamic driving calls the Edge out on its bluff, having it promptly fold.

Solving this might be as simple as recalibrating the EPAS. Or maybe there was even a setting to firm things up that I failed to find. That, though, was the sour spot on a delicious apple. To quote Dylan Moran, “Potential is like your bank balance: it’s always less than what you think it is.” Ford itself says the Edge is a ‘passion buy.’ And it’s good enough knowing that it is potentially very sporty and dynamic. I recommend, though, that buyers just leave that notion tucked away and let the promise of what could be satisfy you. That way, you’ll never be disappointed.

2015 Ford Edge Sport

Off-road excursions should be limited to the tamest natural terrain. I took the Edge off the beaten path and down, what I thought, would be a simple mesquite-and-thorn-bush-flanked path leading to a campsite. The road narrowed to a boney incline with deep, uneven troughs running through it. A true off-road vehicle with the proper ground clearance would surmount in a couple seconds without much issue, but it was far more daunting than it should’ve been with the Edge.

These issues, however, only come up when the Ford Edge is pushed to extremes. In the confines of normal daily functionality, though, it delivers handily.

You’re going to like the way you look

In the looks department, Ford has been careful to keep things conservative, but still handsome enough, avoiding heavy, divisive design choices. The Edge has a toned, sunken-in look to keep away from the egg-pant-like look to which crossovers seem prone.

Inside, improved touch points and attention to small details make the interior feel more tailored, achieving the “dynamic sanctuary” at which Ford was aiming. Sanctuary or no, I didn’t feel closed off from the environment, due in large part to the panoramic vista roof that extends all the way back behind the second row.

Broadly, however, the interior is as seamless as functionality allows. It works perfectly, tying in well with the push for a more tailored fit to the overall vehicle.

The nearly 40-cubic-feet of rear cargo and expansive cabin gives the Edge plenty of comfort and capacity to take a family shopping or friends on a road trip without having to give a second thought to the car’s capabilities. Throw in some optional inflatable rear seatbelts, and extra peace of mind is sprinkled on to sweeten the deal.

Sporty or not

Edge Sport starts at $38,495. If buyers wish to fit it with the suite of Ford tech, the price will quickly climb closer to the $47,000 mark. Despite this hefty price tag, though, I can still see why Ford fancies the Edge the passion purchase in the crossover segment.

It might not quite live up to its ‘Sport’ moniker; it’s perfectly serviceable utility sets the foundation for its sportiness to win it over against its competitors. Buyers, though, will need to keep their sporting ambitions in check.

Highs

  • Quick and smooth new 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6
  • Upgraded interior touch points
  • Breathtaking Vista Roof
  • Tech laden

Lows

  • Loose, flimsy steering
  • Dynamic driving performance could be better
  • Off-road escapades are not recommended
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