The Louka summer road trip took us to two distinctly different destinations this year. Week One found us in Wisconsin Dells, WI, about 1,000 km southeast of Winnipeg. The town is a mecca for waterpark goers, young and old alike, with poolside attractions that range from lounging by the swim-up bar to huge wave pools and thrilling waterslides. Week Two, in contrast, was spent back up in Canada near the town of Sioux Narrows, ON, where we rented a waterfront cabin at Totem Lodge. With a sandy beach in a protected bay, and with world-class fishing at the doorstep, this is the Canadian Shield at its finest.

As usual, I was hoping to put a press vehicle to the test for this vacation, and for the second time in a row Ford was able to arrange a suitable ride to transport us to and from our destinations.

This time it was the new-for-2015 second-generation Edge, a five-seat midsize crossover that sits between the Escape and Explorer in Ford’s extensive utility vehicle lineup. Ford is developing quite a following in this segment, with these three heavyweights each occupying a spot in the top 15 bestselling CUV/SUVs in Canada year-to-date. No other brand comes close.

Starting at a little more than $30,000, the Edge is a sizeable step up from the Escape and competes most directly with the Nissan Murano. One could consider any of the compact crossovers with starting prices in the $20s as competition, but the Murano and Edge are just a half-size larger than most (the Santa Fe Sport and CR-V, at the large end of their class, have similar interior volumes) and certainly have more premium aspirations than most of those. Besides, the Escape plays in that more densely populated sandbox.

I’m sure Ford wouldn’t mind one bit if you thought of the Edge as a budget Acura RDX or Lexus RX350.

Speaking of premium aspirations, as our tester shows, Ford’s pricing structure reflects the company’s knowledge that they are at the leading edge (sorry) when considering in-vehicle tech. If you want the goodies, you’ll have to pay.

The base front-drive Edge SE comes with push-button start, four-12V power points, a 2.0L EcoBoost engine, multi-function steering wheel, tilt and telescoping steering, map lights front and rear, 18-inch alloys, and a rear view camera.

Being the next-to-top trim (the fire-breathing Edge Sport sits above it), the $41,199  Titanium AWD adds a lengthy list of standard kit: leather seats, reclining second row seats, dual-zone climate control, Sony audio system, remote start, foot-activated power liftgate, LED running lights and taillights, parking sensors, active grille shutters, hill start assist, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

More on Comparison Test: Compact Crossover SUVs

Our tester was further fitted with the 302A equipment group which adds $3,800 to the Titanium base price and adds a host of tech and convenience options: blind spot warning system, heated rear seats and steering wheel, cooled front seats, perforated leather upholstery, lane keeping system, enhanced park assist, front camera, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and second row inflatable safety belts. Conspicuous by its absence: adaptive cruise control.

At $2,000, the Canadian Touring package tops things off with a panoramic glass roof and voice-activated navigation.

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