Ford Edge Concept
Ford Edge Concept
Ford Edge Concept
Ford Edge Concept
Ford Edge Concept. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Los Angeles, California – On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford invited us to a special advance preview of the Edge Concept, where we had a chance to dig deeper and find out a little bit more about Ford’s latest driving technologies.

Ford is not alone in advancing driver assistance tech, but they definitely offer some of the most useful, like foot-activated power tailgate, adaptive cruise control and self-parking technology among my favourites on offer in affordable Ford products. Ford features such advanced driving technologies on a wide range of vehicles, and the next phase of technologies adds obstacle avoidance and a fully assisted parking aid.

But let’s take a step back from the cutting edge technology (oh, c’mon, you knew I was going to use it at some point, right?) and talk about the design overhaul of the Edge itself, a popular five-seat crossover built in Oakville, Ontario. In Canada, it’s a distant backmarker to the compact Escape in terms of sales volume, but it is a strong seller Stateside, particularly here in sunny southern California and an important product in Ford’s portfolio as a sleek, modern crossover, an urbane middle ground between the practical compact Escape and seven-seat Explorer. With utility vehicle sales expected to boom here, in Europe and most dramatically in China, it’s an important product for Ford’s global growth strategy.

It’s not a drastic departure from the current styling, with a few more character lines, creases and surface depth while preserving the same planted, angular form. One neat trick in the concept is that they’ve incorporated the active grille shutters that improve aerodynamic efficiency as a design element, the panels sliding into place behind the grille slats and the brighter finish providing interesting contrast and depth to the grille. Although less dramatic, Ford also created a passage of airflow from the front bumper intakes out through a small strip in the wheel arch ahead of the front wheel, which creates an air curtain along the side of the vehicle to reduce turbulence around the wheels and side panels.

These aerodynamic aids, along with engine start-stop, will help the Edge improve efficiency from the “next-generation Ecoboost engine” in store. A perfect candidate is the 2.3 Ecoboost just announced for the upcoming Lincoln MKC, though Ford reps on hand insist that engine will be exclusive to the Lincoln range. Currently the Edge is offered with a 285-hp 3.5L V6, 240-hp 2.0L I4 Ecoboost or 305-hp 3.7L V6.

Ford Edge ConceptFord Edge Concept
Ford Edge Concept. Click image to enlarge

Ford was not forthcoming with engine or other specifications, but there’s no question that the Edge could use a physical weight reduction to go along with the visual lightening accomplished by the new sheet metal sculpting and adding greater depth to the side panel. The concept, for what it’s worth, gains some width and a modicum of length and wheelbase over the current production model – it currently weighs at least 1,800 kg (almost 4,000 lb) even in its lightest Ecoboost four-cylinder trim, so I’d expect that to go up with little talk of weight-saving materials. Then again, it splits the difference between its chief rivals, the Toyota Venza and Nissan Murano. The focus here is clearly on fresh, current design and creating a premium experience in the interior.

The Edge Concept interior is full of thoughtful touches, like filament threads of copper woven into the carbon fibre accents to match the Copper Flame paint that shifts from red to a more orangey hue as light reflects off different surfaces. Leather was rich and meticulously stitched, but the highlight was the cool glow emanating from various hidden surfaces.

Connect with Autos.ca