With Crossover Sales Soaring, Ford Sharpens Its Edge for 2015
On Tuesday, Ford (NYSE:F) officially released the production-spec Edge SUV, which became the next member of the Ford family to convert to the company’s new design language featuring the hexagonal grille, raked tail lights, and overall more aggressive demeanor.
The 2015 Edge will be the first Ford to come standard with an EcoBoost-branded engine, as the base model will come packing the company’s 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Also available will be the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V6 and the standard 3.5 liter V6, giving buyers a range of three engine choices. It will also be the first Ford product to feature the company’s adaptive steering technology, which will make the vehicle easier to maneuver and more fun to drive, the company says.
“For three years in a row, Ford has been the best-selling utility vehicle brand in North America and has been experiencing exponential growth in global markets,” said Jim Farley — Ford’s group vice president of Global Marketing, Sales, and Service, and Lincoln — in the statement. “The all-new Edge is the next chapter in this story. And it’s a story driven by the emotional appeal of the vehicle — not its feature content.”
With a new all-wheel drive option that can be equipped with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost and the appropriate towing package, the Edge will be able to tow a 3,500 pound trailer behind it; there’s engine stop/start available on the 2.0 liter, as well. For those looking for a more gutsy powertrain, the 2.7 liter is expected to return in excess of 300 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard for the 2.7- and 3.5-liter V6s.
Pricing has yet to be announced for the new SUV, but the current generation starts at a little bit over $28,000. The new Edge is slated to make its debut in more than 100 markets globally.
The new Edge eschews much of the former generation’s rounded, almost bulbous styling in favor of sharper angular lines, and dramatic, crisp creases in the sheet metal. The hexagonal grille, though entirely expected, pulls the front end together well, but the few wide slats look a somewhat cheap when compared to the Aston-esque version found on cars like the Fusion or the Fiesta. It’s a very masculine car, but not so much that it will turn off female buyers — undoubtably a vital part of Ford’s target demographic for the vehicle.
Around the back, the rear window is dramatically raked to offer a sporty and athletic stance (to what detriment of rearward visibility has yet to be seen, but it looks good from outside), and the rear bumper area retains the sort of rounded character from the current generation. The Sport model, seen above, is also nicely accented by those rims.
Overall, the new Edge looks good and will be a competitive contender in the still potent SUV field; however, the rear lights are reminiscent of the new Jeep Cherokee, and from the front, there are definitely some similarities to the Dodge Journey — which is great if you like those cars, but it feels like the Edge lost some of the character that it’s had since its debut in 2006.
The interior changes are not nearly as dramatic as the exterior, and former Edge owners will be welcomed with familiarity to the new cabin. The instrument cluster still has the same dual displays present on the current model, while the center area has received a minor update. Materials quality has taken a leap, and Autoblog points out that some of the controversial touch-capacitive controls found in previous high-trim levels of the Edge have been removed. There will also be a Titanium trim level available for the new SUV.
The Edge plays a crucial role in Ford’s lineup: as a middleman between the smaller and immensely popular Escape, and the larger Explorer. “Edge is in a segment that’s healthy, but it’s not growing by leaps and bounds like the small SUV segment Escape is in,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst with researcher AutoTrader.com, told Bloomberg. “It catches people in the middle, for whom an Escape is too small and who are not quite ready for an Explorer.”
The Edge will likely be popular in China, where the current generation is a big seller for Ford. It will go on sale in Europe in the second half of next year and North America early next year; China’s release date is so far undisclosed. It will be competing with a new, revamped Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano, among others in the segment.