The company continues on its "One Ford" path of making its best vehicles available globally. For example, both the current Fiesta and Focus are essentially the same all over the world, having originated in Europe. With the new Edge, it's "One Ford" going the other way: designed and made in North America and then spreading to other major markets.
As is usual with crossovers, the 5-seater Edge is based on a car platform. In this case, it's the same foundation as the Fusion midsize sedan, which is a great place to start. Compared with the first generation, this one is stronger and more rigid -- good news for those concerned with safety but also music to a suspension specialist's ears. A rigid base means an ability to tune the chassis to a finer degree.
"Shrink-wrapped around the mechanics" is how Ford describes the new Edge's design. The company hasn't messed with what has proved to be a popular look, but it's sharpened things up just a little. Refinements have been made to the aerodynamics, even down to optimizing the shape of the door mirrors for when the windows are open.
Full LED tail lamps are standard. Edge buyers are usually partial to larger alloy wheels, and this version certainly looks cool with the 21-inch option.
Inside, a new storage area appears on top of the center console. To impart an airy feel, the pillars are wrapped in light fabric from the beltline up. Ford also offers a massive panoramic sunroof that's 47.7-in long.
In terms of space, the new model provides a little more headroom, legroom, and hip and shoulder width than the first generation did. Cargo volume amounts to 39.2 cu ft. with rear seats in place and 73.4 cubes with the rear seats folded down; the outgoing model offers 32.2 cu ft. with seats up and 68.9 with seats down.
This is where the new Edge really has the, erm, edge. It might be quicker to say what this crossover doesn't have -- toaster, coffee maker, ultrasound scanner. Seriously, most of the Edge's techno array would be found on other manufacturers' premium efforts.
Admittedly, most of these offerings are optional, but that's often the case in the premium sector, as well. Virtually every piece of silicon-based cleverness found in other Ford vehicles is available in the Edge, along with a few innovations. The first of these options is active steering, an ingenious feature that fits inside the steering wheel, provides more turn at low speeds and smooths out driver inputs at higher speeds -- kind of like having a third hand on the helm.
Other features include a 180-degree front camera that gets its own washer. Along with a standard rear camera, the driver can see a split-screen view of surroundings. Rear passengers are protected by inflatable seat belts, while the front passenger gets a glove-box knee airbag; the airbag doesn't pop out of the actual glove box, but just behind the lid is an inflatable bladder for an extra degree of shock absorption.
Other safety features include radar-based intelligent cruise control with collision warning and brake support, a blind spot monitoring system, cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, roll stability and curve control.
Convenience highlights are a hands-free lift gate, parallel and perpendicular self-parking, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Fuel-saving gadgetry includes a hybridlike stop/start function for the standard 2.0-liter engine, and active grille shutters.
Last but not least, there's MyFord Touch, the voice-activated infotainment system developed with Microsoft, plus a premium Sony audio system. Where the previous setup had small areas with virtual buttons, this new one has real buttons, which should make things much easier. Earlier versions of MyFord Touch have been criticized for not being sufficiently user-friendly.
Not only has the Edge's styling and tech portfolio been updated, so has its propulsion options. Although no one has yet driven the 2015 Ford Edge apart from the company's technicians, its entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is similar to the one found in the 2014 Fusion, which is a known quantity. In that car, it's a lively, punchy unit that works well even in the equipped-to-the-gills Titanium trim level.
For the Edge, this engine has been updated considerably: new block, new head and active oil control. Output is estimated at a healthy 245 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, so the vehicle shouldn't feel hamstrung by having to push around the extra weight of a crossover. Ford recommends 91 octane gasoline, but the engine will run on 87. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
The Sport trim gets the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. With an anticipated 300 hp to play with, it should feel sporty even on its diet of regular 87 octane gas. Incidentally, the Sport's suspension is 15 percent stiffer, tuned more for precision than comfort. A 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 making 285 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque (also running on 87) is the naturally aspirated offering in the SEL and Titanium trim levels, a carryover from the previous generation.
In every new Edge, the transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Drivers get to feel more involved thanks to the inclusion of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Front-wheel drive is the basic setup, but all-wheel drive is available with any of the above engines. The all-wheel-drive system can send 100 percent of the drivetrain's torque to the front or the rear, depending on conditions, and it can perform this trick 20 times faster (according to Ford) than the blink of an eye.
The 2015 Ford Edge goes on sale early next year, with trim levels of SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium. It's too soon to talk about pricing, but the current range starts at $28,100.