Scottsdale, AZ – Don’t let its looks fool you, this is no mere refresh. The 2015 Ford Edge is a whole new crossover, changed and improved from front camera to rear camera.

As a big seller in the five-passenger, mid-size crossover category, Ford needed to make sure the new Edge continued to give buyers what they love about the car while improving on weaknesses. For Edge Design Manager, Kevin George, this was no small feat, as he guided his team to create a new machine that is immediately recognizable as an Edge, but sufficiently contemporized in its styling.

Don’t let its looks fool you, this is no mere refresh.

No panels are shared with the outgoing model, and the new Edge is considerably larger than the old one. Overall length is more than 100 mm greater, yet despite the increased size, visual mass has been pulled out of the blocky side style, creating a more agile look intended to speak to the improved agility of the driving experience. And still the 2015 Edge is recognizable as the popular SUV, even from a distance.

The greater size has also enabled a 25 mm increase in rear legroom and an impressive 45 percent increase in cargo space behind the first row of seats. Together with redesigned seats and larger rear window openings, the backseat passenger experience is notably improved.

Front and rear occupants will appreciate a greatly enhanced level of quality in terms of materials used and their fitment throughout the interior. Details in the new Edge have been carefully considered to give the vehicle a significantly more upscale feel. Where painted metal surfaces along door edges, for instance, might have exposed cost-cutting measures before, now insulating trim gives a more finished appearance. Heated and cooled seats, and a heated steering wheel are now available, also.

Likewise, wherever a passenger is likely to come in contact with the car – door panels, seats, arm rests – high quality, soft touch materials are used. And little details, like fast-charging USB ports up front, have also been added to help make life easier for Edge customers.

The 2015 Edge offers buyers a choice of three engines – two of which are new to the model. While the 3.5L V6 carries over unchanged from last year, it is an option on all trim levels except the Sport. A new twin-scroll version of the turbocharged EcoBoost 2L, four-cylinder is standard fare for the base SE model, as well as mid-level SEL and luxurious Titanium trim. A 2.7 L EcoBoost originally seen in the new F-150 pickup trucks this year makes its second appearance here in the Edge Sport.

2015 Ford Edge Drivetrain Options
Trim Applications Standard: SE, SEL, Titanium Optional: SE, SEL, Titanium Standard: Sport
Type 2.0L DOHC 16-valve twin-scroll EcoBoost I4 3.5L DOHC
24-valve Ti-VCT V6
2.7L DOHC 24- valve EcoBoost V6
Horsepower 245 hp @5500 rpm 280 hp @6500 rpm 315 hp @4750 rpm
Torque 275 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm 250 lb-ft @4000 rpm 350 lb-ft @2750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed Automatic 6-speed Automatic 6-speed Automatic
Drive Wheels FWD, AWD FWD, AWD AWD

Thanks to its abundance of torque and notable improvement in fuel efficiency, the 2 L EcoBoost should render the V6 option redundant for most buyers. This point is further reinforced now that all-wheel-drive and an optional towing package are available, enabling the 2L Edge to haul up to a 3,500 lb trailer.

Our drive route consisted of some urban traffic in and around Phoenix, as well as divided highway and some secondary roads through the hilly desert landscape of Southern Arizona. The Titanium trim vehicle we drove first with the 2.0L engine proved to be more than sufficient to keep the 1,850 kg Edge happily humming along whether from a stop light, or out on the freeway. On the long climbs up some of the more mountainous parts of our drive, the Edge worked its six-speed automatic hard, shifting up and down in a battle to balance pace with fuel efficiency.

As expected, the 2.7L in the Sport, with its 70 more horsepower and extra 75 lb-ft of torque, conquered the peaks and valleys with much greater gusto. Passing is effortless in the Sport and this engine does a fine job of reinforcing that this is more than just a body kit and big wheels. It’s a swift runner with a suspension tuned for greater handling performance too.

Ford should be commended for their use of lighter weight materials helping to bring overall mass down by about 23 kg even though the Edge has grown in size.

The increased refinement and upscale feel of the interior carries over to the drive experience. My driving partner and I both commented about how remarkably quiet the new Edge is – wind noise is impressively suppressed, but so too is engine and road noise thanks to acoustic glass on the windshield and front side glass, and considerable sound deadening applications underneath the vehicle.

The ride and suspension calibration feels like an upscale European competitor. Ford is proud of the new rear multilink suspension incorporated on the Edge – a set up generally reserved for higher end vehicles. The front suspension remains with a MacPherson strut set up. The ride suggests that Ford’s engineers leaned more toward driving dynamics this time round for the Edge than suppleness. It’s taut, though not harsh, however the roads in Southern Arizona are not frost-heaved and pockmarked like those found in the Great White North. It should be noted that the Sport trim’s optional 22-inch wheels are no longer available – the largest wheel bling available for the 2015 Edge is “only” 21-inch, since too many customers complained about the ride on the 22’s.

The payoff for the new suspension is handling that is nothing short of shocking. The 2015 Edge took to the weaving and twisting mountainous sections of our drive with surprising enthusiasm, keeping body roll in check and the rubber planted firmly to pavement. Even more impressive is the electric power steering that is quick and precise, with decent feel for a vehicle of this nature.

Indeed, driving the new Edge is not only dramatically improved over last year’s model, but feels far more polished and upscale than expected from such a practical and relatively affordable machine. A base model, FWD SE-trim Edge starts at $31,999, with a range-topping Sport AWD coming in at a very reasonable $45,199.

Ford is also using the Edge to show off some cool new technology too. A rear camera is standard on all models, but a new front camera features an automatic cleaner that is triggered whenever the windshield gets a squirt of washer fluid. The feature works great, but begs two questions: first, what’s taken so long for a manufacturer to do this and two, why not apply this to the rear camera too where our salty winter roads render back-up cameras useless? Ford’s answer to the latter question is that it’s coming – first for the 2016 Explorer, but we can expect to see it on other models thereafter.

The camera systems on the Edge are part of the active parking aids, now featuring both parallel and perpendicular parking assist for the first time. Possibly even more useful is the new ability for the Edge to help steer itself out of tight parallel parking spaces too. We got to enjoy demonstrations of each of these scenarios and while the Edge passed by the desired perpendicular spot two of the four times my partner and I tried it, when it did finally park itself, it did a fine job. This is sure to be a helpful feature to many, if a little unnerving for the driver to be hands off with such close proximity to other cars.

Another step toward autonomous driving, the Edge will also have adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping assist. The latter proved to be quite aggressive in the few instances we tried it out – yanking the vehicle back into the lane more abruptly than I have experienced with similar systems from competitors. More concerning, on a couple of occasions, the system gave an audible warning, then simply shut itself off and frighteningly coasted into the adjacent lane. Perhaps Ford has a bit of fine-tuning to do here yet.

Some fine-tuning is likely to apply to a few other areas of the new Edge, like the dash-top trim section that had come unglued and popped up on both Sport trim vehicles we were in. Surely this can be chalked up to the pre-production vehicles we drove for this test and not an indicator of future worrisome assembly from our friends at the Oakville, Ontario plant who build the Edge.

When I drove the outgoing Edge two years ago, it proved to be a decent, practical, if rather forgettable vehicle. The refinement, quality and dynamic improvements to the 2015 Edge are significant enough to suggest this new machine has a solid future as a continued sales leader and one that will be far less forgettable.

2015 Ford Edge Fuel Economy
Trim Engine Transmission City L/100km Hwy L/100km
Edge FWD 2.0L - I4 GTDI 6-Speed SST 11.5 7.8
Edge FWD 3.5L - V6 6-Speed SST 13.2 9
Edge AWD 2.0L - I4 GTDI 6-Speed SST 11.8 8.4
Edge Sport AWD 2.7L - V6 GTDI 6-Speed SST 13.6 9.8
Edge AWD 3.5L - V6 6-Speed SST 13.7 9.6

Pricing: 2015 Ford Edge
SE FWD: $31,999
SE AWD: $33,999
SEL FWD: $35,099
SEL AWD: $37,099
Titanium FWD: $39,199
Titanium AWD: $41,199
Sport AWD: $45,199

Destination: $1,690

Warranty:
3 years/60,000 km; 5 years/100,000 km powertrain; 5 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 5 years/100,000 km 24-hour roadside assistance

Competitors:
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Nissan Murano
Toyota Venza