Like most mid-cycle refreshes, the Edge�s 2011 update starts with a nose job. Every panel up front is new: hood, fenders, grille, and fascia. The result is a sultrier shape than the blocky original Edge�the headlights are narrower, the three-bar grille dips deeper into the fascia, and the overall look is softened and rounded�but still clearly descendant from it. Around back, the hatch is new, with taillights that ditch the trendy clear lenses of the original model for more timeless red ones.
Underneath that new hood, the Edge will have a selection of two new engines and one updated unit. The new base engine will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost four-cylinder. Power figures have not been released yet, but figure on about 230 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Mid-level SEL models will get the 3.5-liter V-6 from the previous Edge, but updated with variable timing on both intake and exhaust camshafts, with output increasing 20 hp and 3 lb-ft, to 285 and 253, respectively.
Top-of-the-line Sport models, in addition to unique black grille slats, smoked head- and taillights, and black-trimmed, 22-inch wheels; get Ford�s 3.7-liter V-6, which delivers a relatively modest bump in hp�to 305�over the 3.5, but a torque gain of 27 lb-ft, for a total of 280. All three engines will be paired with six-speed automatics, with the Sport featuring standard paddle shifters that are unavailable with the other engines.
It�s What�s Inside That Counts
The Edge�s new interior is perhaps even more attractive than the sheetmetal. A sleek new center stack steals the show, housing Ford�s new MyFord and MyFord Touch vehicle-interface systems. These two are the next evolution of Ford�s Sync. MyFord will be standard on all 2011 Edges, but MyFord Touch costs extra. Both are vehicle-management systems using a small LCD screen in the gauge cluster�the fancier MyFord Touch gets two, one on either side of the speedometer�and a larger LCD screen in the center stack.
The small screens in the IP are controlled by five-way switches (up, down, left, and right arrows plus a center �select� button) on the steering-wheel spokes, while the center is operated via touch. The left IP screen is the only one MyFord buyers get, and it displays vehicle information such as stability-control settings, a tachometer, or trip-computer information. The screen to the right of the speedometer�again, only available with MyFord Touch�is reserved for audio, phone, navigation, and climate-control info. The center screen handles the same information as the right smaller screen, with the added benefit of being accessible to the front passenger.
Call it the Kitchen Sync
All of MyFord and MyFord Touch�s functionality builds on top of the next-generation Sync features, which include easier interaction through what Ford calls �direct speech� commands. No longer does a person dial a phone number by saying �phone� then waiting for Sync to respond before saying �call Jane.� Now, the command is simply �call Jane,� and Sync makes the call. Or, if you want to find a sporting event, you can simply say �tune to Baltimore Ravens game� rather than flipping through channels looking for the game, and Sync will find it. For a full rundown of all the details, read our coverage of the two systems from the Consumer Electronics Show.
Additionally, below the MyFord interface are capacitive-touch controls for audio and climate, and those opting for the upgraded Sony stereo are treated to a Sony-designed audio interface. Though the system does look cool, we see frustrations growing from audio controls that will not react to thickly gloved fingers.
A vehicle with features like MyFord Touch can�t get by without a healthy dose of technology elsewhere. To that end, the Edge also will receive a bunch of optional high-tech gear including keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 2011 Edge will go on sale later in 2010. Pricing should remain close to today�s levels, with a base SE beginning around $28,000 and Sport models starting near $35,000.
(BY JARED GALL, PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEVI HILLGER AND THE MANUFACTURER)