2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2011 Ford Edge

Nashville, Tennessee – There is no doubt that the Edge, the crossover utility vehicle introduced by Ford in late 2006, made a huge contribution to the revival – if not survival – of the venerable North American auto manufacturer in the last five years.

In its first year, the Ford Edge became the best selling crossover in North America. And since 2007, Ford has sold over 400,000 of the vehicles. It is a significant player in a segment that accounts for more than 1,000,000 units a year, a segment that grew more than 220 per cent between 2006 and 2009, and that grew more than 20 per cent or 200,000 units in the last calendar year alone.

Whether Ford has benefited from a market that has embraced the crossover utility as the flavour of the day, or has generated a taste for the vehicle with a menu of crossovers including the Edge, Flex and Lincoln MKX and MKT, is the chicken and egg question.

2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport. Click image to enlarge

Even if there is no simple answer, it can’t be denied that success in the auto industry results from having the right product at the right time and priced right for the market. 400,000 buyers in four years is evidence the Ford Edge hit the sweet spot in the car market.

And Ford’s success has also been Canada’s success as all four Ford and Lincoln crossover utilities are built in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario assembly facility.

That Ford has decided it is time for a substantial revision of the Edge just four years after its introduction is evidence that to Ford good timing is more than just bringing a new concept to market ahead of the competition, but keeping it ahead of the competition.

So Ford’s refresh of the Edge is more than just a new front fascia, wheel designs and taillights, although it has those too – a bolder grille, new standard 18-inch wheels and tires on the SEL and Limited models and available 20-inch wheels, and standard 22-inch (yes, really big) polished aluminum wheels on the Sport and new jewel-like taillights that feature a secondary inner lens with a unique floating – this refresh also adds completely new interiors, a huge leap forward in entertainment and communications technology, two new engines, and improved ride, handling and braking.

Improved 3.5-Litre V6 plus two new engine choices

Under the hood, the mainstay 3.5-litre V6 continues as the standard engine offering in SE, SEL and Limited trims, but for 2011 new Ti-VCT – meaning twin independent variable camshaft – and a host of other engine technology boosts horsepower from 265 to 285 and torque from 250 lb-ft to 253, while lowering fuel consumption from 11.8 L/100 km city and 8.8 L/100 km highway to 11.2 L/100 km city and 7.4 L/100 km highway in front-wheel drive configuration.

2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport. Click image to enlarge

Ti-VCT allows on-the-fly adjustment to the engine’s airflow for maximum efficiency. Other improvements include new piston cooling jets, better flowing intake manifold and cylinder heads, lower friction polished valvetrain buckets, lower engine idle speed, fuel shutoff that stops the engine under rapid deceleration and smart battery charging that increases alternator output during braking or deceleration to keep the battery charged rather than continuously charging the battery. All of these changes add up to improved power and fuel consumption that Ford describes as “best-in-class” and “unsurpassed.”

Also new for 2011 is a 3.7-Litre V6, standard on the Edge Sport, that employs the same fuel-saving and power-creating technology to produce 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque while consuming 12.2 L/100 km in the city and 8.8 L/100 km on the highway.

Coming later this year the new 2.0-litre EcoBoost I-4 engine will join the Edge line-up. Ford anticipates this engine choice will lower fuel consumption by 10 per cent over a comparable V6 while producing “class-leading power and torque.”

2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport. Click image to enlarge

Both V6 engines generate good power and, in my opinion, I think most buyers will find the 3.5-litre has more than enough for their needs. The 3.7-Litre’s added torque is most noticeable in off the line acceleration and in a less fussier driving experience with fewer transmission downshifts and upshifts than the 3.5. On the downside, those downshifts help reduce speed when slowing for a corner. 3.7 owners will find they use the brakes more frequently in this situation or start using the paddle shifters which are “live in drive,” meaning you don’t have to move the gear shifter into manual mode to shift the transmission manually.

Live in drive works best, of course, for downshifts, as the transmission will automatically shift up sooner (to save fuel) than a sporty driver would like. But having downshifts at your fingertips all the time provides additional engine braking when needed.

Improved braking, handling and ride comfort
2011 Ford Edge Sport
2011 Ford Edge Sport. Click image to enlarge

New four-wheel disc brakes, with steel pistons, larger rear rotors, new friction materials and revised pedal ratios provide more confident stopping power.

New 18-inch tires, standard on the Edge SEL and Limited, and new wheels that are one-half inch wider than previous help create a more engaging steering feel.

Complementing the new tire and wheel line-up is a retuned suspension. Shocks, springs and stabilizer bars were adjusted to tighten handling. We had the opportunity to drive both the 2010 and 2011 Ford Edge back to back and can attest that new suspension provides a flatter response through turns and a more comfortable ride over uneven pavement.

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