Names are important in the car business, and the moniker for the 2009 Ford Edge is particularly evocative. Ford was probably thinking Edge as in "cutting," but we find ourselves head-banging to Aerosmith as we grab the keys. "Livin' on the Edge!" we scream in unison, air guitars blaring. And once we're curbside, Ford's top-selling crossover SUV doesn't disappoint, flaunting optional chrome dubs and the shiniest grille this side of your favorite rapper.
But that's where the edginess ends. Hop in, and the dashboard's landscape of cheap plastic is a far cry from, say, the Flex's rich new layout. Overall cabin design is strictly conventional, save for unintuitive climate controls. On the road, its ride and handling characteristics are fine but forgettable, and the Edge steers and brakes like a Lincoln (which, in MKX garb, it actually is). Other than the superb navigation system and Sync multimedia interface, there's nothing cutting-edge about the Edge — unless you count the odd unfinished plastic seam.
On the whole, the 2009 Ford Edge is a competent vehicle. It's comfortable and quiet, there's decent power on tap and it still looks pretty sharp, even after a few years on the market. If you want a middle-of-the-road crossover SUV that does most things well, the Edge will do the trick. Just know that buying an Edge is hardly tantamount to living on it.
Our front-wheel-drive 2009 Ford Edge Limited test vehicle was powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 found in every Edge. This capable engine cranks out 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, and it's hooked to a six-speed automatic — the only available transmission. At our test track, the portly 4,312-pound Edge sped from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, a few paces behind segment luminaries like the Nissan Murano and Toyota Venza V6. The culprit here is the copious curb weight, up about 400 pounds on competing front-wheel-drive crossovers.
For the most part, the Edge's powertrain is solid. Shifts from the six-speed automatic are unobtrusive, yet kick-downs in passing situations are satisfyingly quick. The engine note won't rouse your inner Earnhardt, but it's refined enough for most tastes. In any case, the numbers don't tell the whole story: Flooring the front-drive Edge's accelerator from a stop produces tire-roasting wheelspin, even with traction control on, and the power doesn't really fall off until you've hit highway speeds. Fuel economy is a bit below average at an EPA-rated 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
Sedanlike handling is supposed to be one of the selling points of crossover SUVs, and here the Edge falters. Its steering is annoyingly light and vague, with lots of play on-center. Body control around corners is adequate — note that our tester had the optional sport suspension — but the Edge always feels large and unwieldy. In our slalom test, the Edge sauntered through the cones at a decidedly SUV-like 56.5 mph.
Braking is another trouble spot. Unlike past examples, this 2009 Ford Edge produced acceptable 60-mph-to-0 stopping distances in its first few runs, though 134 feet isn't anything to write home about. However, by the fifth stop we encountered significant brake fade, with stopping distances rising to 152 feet. Obviously, most people aren't going to do five panic stops in a row in real-world driving, but even here the Edge's brake pedal is characterized by excessive dead travel and a general sense that the brakes aren't quite up to the task.
The Edge's cabin remains reasonably quiet at speed, and its supple ride over broken pavement is family-friendly. The leather-trimmed front seats provide excellent support on longer trips, though some of our drivers found the head restraints to be uncomfortably canted forward. Also, the front seats' hybrid power/manual adjustments are hard to figure — power adjustments for the seatback angle and lumbar support would be welcome. The driving position is further marred by the absence of a dead pedal.
In back, the reclining outboard seats are nicely shaped and offer satisfactory legroom, but headroom was tight on our tester because of the otherwise enjoyable dual-pane "Vista Roof" option. Furthermore, the middle seat is for short trips only due to the slablike seatback, which doubles as a fold-down armrest when the seat isn't in use. In the scheme of things, though, these are minor complaints, and the Edge's comfortable seating and compliant ride make it one of the more capable crossovers on the market for people-hauling purposes.
The Edge's center stack layout looks functional, but close inspection reveals some shortcomings. The climate control's airflow indicator, for example, only shows up when you choose a setting — otherwise, there's no way to tell what you've selected. We prefer knob-controlled climate control systems, and the Edge is buttons-only. Furthermore, the radio/navigation faceplate is recessed enough to require an uncomfortable reach from the driver seat, and a back-up camera is unavailable.
The Edge's saving grace is its voice-activated Sync multimedia interface and navigation system. Standard on the Limited trim, it provides such niceties as Bluetooth connectivity, real-time traffic information and current gas prices at stations along your route. A 10-gigabyte hard drive provides storage for MP3 files, and you can even watch a DVD if the Edge is in Park. The system's multifunction screen is arguably the best in the business. The how-did-we-ever-live-without-it "home" button complements colorful graphics that wouldn't look out of place on a computer screen.
The 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold to reveal 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. With the seatbacks up, the 2009 Ford Edge can carry 32 cubes, which meant there was plenty of space for our standard suitcase and golf bag. The Limited's front passenger seat can also be folded to help with longer items. We had no issues mounting our child safety seat in the Edge's rear quarters, though outboard passengers may feel a bit claustrophobic if the seat is mounted in the center position.
Design/Fit and Finish
The success of the Edge's eye-catching front end is underlined by the new Toyota Venza's snout, which is a good example of the sincerest form of flattery. Otherwise, the Edge's exterior shape is pleasant and modern but not especially memorable.
Inside, the conservatively styled dash is pleasing to the eye, but the hard plastics are about as cheap as they come — a notable exception to Ford's generally improving interior materials. The plastic panels on the dash are sullied by large gaps where they intersect, and we noted a couple unfinished edges that were rough to the touch. Our Edge felt solidly constructed from behind the wheel, however, with nary a squeak or rattle to be heard.
Who should consider this vehicle
Edgy it is not, but the 2009 Ford Edge will adequately serve families looking for a jack-of-most-trades American crossover SUV.
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