Pros: Original styling; 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick; numerous high-tech electronic goodies; good interior comfort; wide range of engine and trim choices
Cons: No third-row seat option; steep base price; limited side visibility; high-tech features on upper trim levels may not appeal to some
The five-passenger 2012 Ford Edge offers its owners an enticing combination of sophisticated styling, sporty handling and a suite of electronic gadgets usually reserved for more expensive luxury brands. By not cramming in a third-row seat, Ford exterior designers were given more leeway in shaping a crossover SUV that doesn't look like every other crossover on the road. In fact, the Edge's distinctive profile is one its strongest selling points, along with its bold front grille and huge wheel and tire choices.
Equally appealing is the Edge's interior, which can comfortably accommodate four adults (five in a pinch) and is beautifully styled with quality materials used throughout and an available configurable instrument cluster that looks as if it was plucked right out of a concept car.
Comfort & Utility
Ford made an extraordinary effort to improve the look and quality of its interiors, and nowhere is this more evident than the 2012 Ford Edge. From the moment you open the driver's door, your eyes are treated to a visual environment that both delights and soothes. From the elegant stitching on the seats, dash and door panels to the available panoramic two-panel glass Vista Roof, the 2012 Ford Edge leaves little to be desired.
Front-seat occupants enjoy excellent support for their legs and lower back, while rear-seat passengers can recline their seats for a comfortable siesta more commonly taken on long drives. Head- and legroom are more than generous both front and rear, although with the rear seatbacks in their upmost position, taller occupants may find their heads brushing up against the headliner. Behind the Edge's second row seat is a large cargo area that can be expanded by folding the second row flat; an available flat-folding front passenger seat extends the cargo area right up to the dashboard.
The most basic Edge provides such conveniences as a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power windows, door locks and mirrors, integrated blind-spot mirrors, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. If your budget allows, the Limited trim offers 10-way power driver's and front passenger seats, leather trim and heated front seats, as well as the excellent Ford SYNC communication and audio interface, a Sony audio system, and automatic climate control.
The 2012 Ford Edge offers a number of high-tech innovations designed to make interfacing with your cell phone or iPod as safe and hassle-free as possible. The excellent SYNC communication system is available on all Edge trim levels and features voice activation for such functions as music selection, phone operation, and text to speech for incoming text messages. The SYNC system can be expanded to include turn-by-turn navigation, 411 assist and updated sports scores, news and stocks.
Another clever option is the MyFord Touch, which provides a customizable LCD display screen on either side of the speedometer. The screens are operated via a set of steering-wheel-mounted pads allowing control of the navigation, Bluetooth, music and climate control. The system even includes Wi-Fi, allowing for Bluetooth streaming of popular apps such as Pandora. The configurable displays can also be arranged to project a digital tachometer, trip information and fuel economy.
On the audio front, there is a 390-watt, 12-speaker Sony audio system that is standard on Edge Limited and Sport models. The SEL, Limited and Sport can also be equipped with an excellent voice-activated navigation system that links with the SYNC system to create one of the most intuitive and efficient navigation setups we've tested. A large eight-inch LCD touchscreen features clear, easy-to-understand icons and menus. Cars equipped with MyFord Touch use color-coded menus for the various functions (yellow for phone, green for navigation, etc).
Other options of note include a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, push-button start with keyless entry, a power rear liftgate and a rear-seat DVD entertainment unit.
Performance & Fuel Economy
The 2012 Ford Edge offers a choice of three engines. The EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out an impressive 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque and is rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. This engine is only available on front-wheel-drive trims but is remarkably capable considering its modest displacement. Standard on the SE, SEL and Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 285 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, with an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway (18/25 mpg on AWD models). The Sport trim features a 3.7-liter V6 that bumps horsepower to 305 and torque to 280 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm. Fuel economy is on par with the 3.5-liter engine, rated at 18/25 mpg for front-wheel drive models and 17/23 mpg for the Edge with AWD.
All three engines provide more than enough power to let the Edge comfortably cruise, pass and accelerate. However, the 3.7-liter engine in the Edge Sport provides performance well above what one might expect from a mid-size family vehicle without a noticeable decline in fuel economy from the standard V6.
On the safety front, the 2012 Ford Edge comes well prepared for the worst possible situations, which is probably what led to its being named a 2012 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard safety equipment includes front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags and electronic stability and traction control with rollover mitigation technology. Optional features include a rear-view camera, a reverse sensing system that alerts when objects are near the rear bumper and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which alerts the driver to vehicles in the car's blind spot. Also available is Ford's MyKey, which includes an earlier low fuel warning light and allows parents to set limits on Edge's top speed (80 mph) and radio volume.
No matter which trim you choose, you'll find that the 2012 Ford Edge is a capable performer delivering good acceleration, impressive road manners and a supremely quiet interior. That the V6 models deliver strong performance is no surprise, but the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder is a real eye opener, delivering acceleration and passing power on par with its V6 counterparts while returning fuel economy in line with some mid-size sedans. On the road, the Edge cruises effortlessly, so much so that you'll need to keep an eye on the speedometer or risk acquiring a speeding ticket. The Edge's steering effort is a bit on the heavy side, but the car responds quickly to driver input and carves through curves and quick turns with minimal body roll; this is especially true of the Sport trim. If there is a downside to driving the Edge, it comes in the area of visibility. The tall side and narrow side glass conspire to hide small objects close to the car's sides and rear, a good reason to opt for the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and the rear backup camera.
Other Cars to Consider
Kia Sorento - Offering as much interior room and comfort as well as many of the same features, the Kia Sorento undercuts the Ford Edge's base price by a wide margin, plus it has a longer powertrain warranty. However, the Sorento is not as high-tech as the Edge.
Mazda CX-7 - This sporty mid-size CUV is a bit older than the Edge, but its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine can be had with AWD. Unfortunately, there are no advanced electronics to rival Ford's SYNC or MyTouch options. The CX-7 also has one of the smallest, most user-unfriendly nav screens in the industry.
Nissan Murano - A bit more elegant than the Edge, the Murano offers similar dimensions, power and handling. The Murano costs a fair bit more than a comparably equipped Edge, and it offers only one engine and transmission choice.
When it comes to the best combination of features, price and performance, we'd have to give the nod to the SEL trim with the available AWD. The SEL comes nicely equipped and offers many of the Limited's standard features, such as navigation and leather seating, as options. If you don't need AWD, we'd opt for the SEL with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, which gives the performance of a V6 with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder.