2007 Ford Edge SE FWD
2007 Ford Edge SE FWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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Photo Gallery: 2007 Ford Edge

In the 1980s, it was front-wheel drive, and in the 1990s it was minivans. For the 2000s, the big news now is “crossovers” – a name I personally detest, but a good description of a vehicle that has the space and functionality of an SUV with the driving characteristics (and often the driveline) of a car.

Ford has been trying to infiltrate the segment, although the Freestyle – a Five Hundred-based wagon that I thought would do much better for itself than it did – didn’t hit the mark, and will emerge re-badged as the Taurus X next year. For 2008, Ford will also introduce the all-new Flex. But in the meantime, it seems to be doing fairly well with the Edge.

Built exclusively at Ford’s plant in Oakville, Ontario alongside its Lincoln MKX sibling, the Edge is available in SE or SEL trim, and in front- or all-wheel drive. My tester, the SE in FWD, starts at $32,999, and is $34,999 in AWD; the SEL starts at $35,999 and $37,999 in FWD and AWD, respectively. (Sharp-eyed readers may catch the SEL badge in the photos, but it was indeed only an SE; in the U.S., trim choices are the SEL and SEL Plus, and my tester was a very early production model that was given an American badge.)

Both models use a new 3.5-litre V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It has no manual mode, which doesn’t bother me: my guess is that most people play with them for the first week, and then when the novelty wears off, they just leave it in Drive. The engine’s pretty punchy and moves everything along with authority; the transmission shifts smoothly, although it sometimes hunted for a gear on a long incline. Fuel consumption is rated at 13.0 in the city and 8.5 on the highway for FWD, but in the real world, it returned a combined 12.3 L/100 km for me.

The Edge rides smoothly and quietly – this would be a great car for a long-distance trip – and handling is responsive, with a surprisingly tight turning radius that made it simple to swing into narrow parking spots. I don’t like the brakes, though; they’re soft and squishy, and they don’t inspire confidence when other drivers treat stop signs and red lights as mere suggestions.

2007 Ford Edge SE FWD
2007 Ford Edge SE FWD. Click image to enlarge

In testing done at last fall’s AJAC Canadian Car of the Year competition, the Edge’s braking distance was measured against that of eight similar competitors; only one vehicle in the group took more space to stop from 100 km/h than the Edge, which used 48.0 metres of asphalt. (By comparison, the Mazda CX-7, the shortest of the group, did it in 39.2 metres.)

I’m very keen on the Edge’s looks: it has a well-planted stance and nice lines, and the three-bar safety-razor grille that originated on the Fusion and is becoming the company’s signature works very well here. Even the taillights look good, surprising given my usual aversion to wide expanses of clear lens at the back; dual exhaust is a favourite of mine, though, and twin pipes peek out from under the fascia. The driver’s door is equipped with keypad entry; in this day of the ubiquitous key fob system it’s surprising that this dinosaur’s still around (to this day I have horrible memories from two decades ago, of standing on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway at 2 a.m., somewhere around the top of Lake Superior, locked out of a 1984 Thunderbird, and having to wait two hours in the cold for the vehicle’s owner to show up with the combination — but that’s another story). But Ford says that a surprising number of people want the keypad, and so it remains.

The one-piece liftgate is very easy to close – just a touch and it swings down and locks – but it’s difficult to open. I’m too short to lift it using the handle under the window, and it’s heavy; I ended up having to pull it out slightly by the handle, wedge my fingers under the lip and then finally swing it open. Not only was it tough, but I had to put my packages down on the wet ground for the two-handed manoeuvre.

2007 Ford Edge SE FWD
2007 Ford Edge SE FWD. Click image to enlarge

The Edge comes nicely outfitted; my SE included dual-zone climate control, six-CD stereo with SIRIUS satellite radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, privacy glass, heated seats, leather-wrapped wheel, and safety features including electronic stability and roll stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side and curtain airbags. The SEL adds 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, backup sensor, fold-flat passenger seat, EasyFold rear seats, leather upholstery, upgraded stereo and mirrors with puddle lamps and memory. My SE tester was further outfitted with 18-inch painted wheels (which replace the standard 17-inch rims), roof rails and the backup system, which, at $320, is money well spent: the Edge’s small rear window and wide C-pillars cut down considerably on visibility.

Inside, my tester had a fit-and-finish that’s quite a step up from some of the Ford products I’ve driven in the past; the company seems to be spending more care on this important aspect, and it shows. The cushioned seats are extremely comfortable; foamy seats often feel nice at first and then wear thin on long drives, but the Edge’s chairs were still supportive after a couple of hours on the road. The rear seats are just as nice, with a fold-down armrest that’s perfectly positioned, and with ample legroom. The Edge is a five-seater only, and so far, Ford is resisting the urge to stuff a third row in as many manufacturers do. Whether that’s good or bad depends on how many people you need to carry, but I always prefer cargo space to an extra row of cramped and barely useable seats.

2007 Ford Edge SE FWD
2007 Ford Edge SE FWD. Click image to enlarge

The rear seats drop easily and completely by just pulling on a lever, and open the cargo compartment from a length of 88 cm to 165 cm. The fold-flat passenger seat is standard on the SEL, but it would be nice if it could be added, even as an option, to the SE; for people who need to bring home the occasional piece of packaged furniture from a store like Ikea, for example, it eliminates the need for a truck.

Ford’s controls have always been fairly simple and straightforward – as they should be in all vehicles – and the Edge is no exception, with big buttons and controls, although redundant temperature and fan switches are mounted so far down on the wheel that it’s easier just to reach over and use the ones on the centre stack. Everything is backlit – another Ford signature – making it easy to find everything in the dark. My only complaint with the ergonomics is the turn signal switch, which is mounted far too high on the column and requires that you take your hand off the wheel. It should be lower, so that you can stretch your fingers out from nine-and-three to operate it without letting go.

Small-item storage is also very good, with big map pockets, open cubbies, cupholders that don’t interfere with any controls, and a huge, deep console box that includes two trays. One full-size tray forms a flat surface when mounted horizontally halfway down, or it can be inserted vertically as a partition inside the console box; the second smaller tray fits above it, and includes a coin holder. The console box also contains a 12-volt outlet and the auxiliary jack for the stereo, keeping a cell phone or iPod safely out of sight; overall, the Edge contains four such power outlets, along with ones in the centre stack, rear console and cargo area.

2007 Ford Edge SE FWD
2007 Ford Edge SE FWD. Click image to enlarge

All in all, I was impressed with the Edge, especially with the fact that the lower-priced trim line includes so many features; save for the fold-flat front seat, there isn’t anything on the SEL that I missed enough to move up into the next price bracket, especially since the very useful backup sensor could be added to the SE. (Both versions can be further optioned with a navigation system, rear-seat DVD, roof racks, panoramic two-panel sunroof and a towing package that will pull up to 1587 kg, or 3500 lbs.)

Ford has fumbled a bit recently; I’m still disappointed that the refreshed 2008 Focus still isn’t the European version (and dropping the wagon and hatchback models is a ludicrous decision, even though it was mandated by the U.S. parent and not Ford of Canada), and the cynic in me says that merely changing the Five Hundred name to Taurus isn’t going to do much to revitalize its sales. But the Edge and its sibling MKX are well-done vehicles, and I’m very much looking forward to the newly-announced Flex, which will also be Ontario-built. The Edge is a handsome vehicle that has a few flaws, but overall, a very good crossover it is.

Pricing: 2007 Ford Edge SE FWD


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