The Ford Edge is marketed as a crossover car, combining the cargo space and visibility of an SUV with the smooth ride and fuel economy of a sedan. It shares a platform with the 2007 Mazda CX-7--evident from the cars' similar body style--and is also the source of Ford's newfound quality touches. This quality can be felt in the Edge's comfortable leather seats, in its hushed cabin, and with its smoothly shifting, six-speed automatic transmission, which seems to always hit the right gear for the driving conditions.
Not fancy, but functional
Our test car was fully loaded with a navigation system; an in-dash, six-CD changer; and a ceiling-mounted DVD player for the rear seats. A touch-screen LCD acts as the interface for these systems and includes function buttons along its sides. The console is not particularly fancy--there is no multifunction knob, such as with BMW's iDrive--but it gets the job done. The LCD is a little small and can get quickly cluttered with the settings screens and their many options. But we still found it easy to select audio sources and navigation functions. The main interface is supplemented by steering wheel buttons that not only control the stereo and cruise control, but also set temperature and fan speed--a nice addition.
We like the navigation system in the Ford Edge. Setting even complex routes is intuitive, as the system lets any entered destination be set as a waypoint or as a final destination. A split-screen view shows the car's current position on the left side and route guidance on the right. The map has good resolution, and it's easy to read individual street names. Our two gripes with the system have to do with the points-of-interest (POI) database and route guidance. The POI database doesn't include all retail stores, although, as a somewhat esoteric choice, it does include bookstores in its shopping category. (Perhaps Ford is appealing to a more literate buyer with the Edge?) We also couldn't turn off or even adjust the volume of voice prompts, once route guidance was set. On the positive side, the system has text-to-speech capabilities, so voice prompts can actually pronounce the names of streets.
The Line In source comes from the auxiliary audio jack, a standard component on the Edge. The jack is hidden in the center console, right next to a 12-volt power point. The console also has a convenient opening to run a cable out to an iPod or MP3 player, and it's deep enough to fit a laptop.
Our review car came with an optional DVD rear-seat entertainment system mounted on the ceiling. For an Edge equipped with the panoramic sunroof option, DVD screens can be mounted in the back of the front-seat head rests. Bluetooth cell phone integration, however, is not available on the Edge.
The six-speed automatic is the best thing about the power train in the Ford Edge. It gives the car a good array of options to get the best revolutions per minute for the car speed. Similar to the Mazda CX-7, the Ford Edge is programmed for efficiency, with upshifts happening at a fairly low engine speed. Unlike the CX-7, however, the Edge doesn't have a manual gear selection mode, instead going with a Drive and a Low mode. There is also a button on the side of the shifter which engages a Hill mode. The button is poorly placed, as it can't be easily reached with a natural grip on the shifter. And under bright conditions, it's very difficult to see if the indicator light is on.