Most would never expect a CUV to have this much get-up-and-go.
Many Canadians turn to the medium-sized crossover in order to haul all sorts of cargo and family members. Built on regular car-like platforms, these “cute utes” provide a little extra ground clearance and a truck-like stance, without the ride quality and fuel economy penalties of a full-sizer built on a conventional truck frame. As the latest trend in the automotive industry, crossover SUV sales are growing year over year, cutting into territory occupied by four-door sedans. Over the years, Ford’s offerings in this area of the market have been strong sellers. Finished in a rather bright Electric Spice Metallic, The five-seater 2016 Ford Edge Sport is amongst the latest in CUVs for the American automaker. While the conspicuously orange Edge was very charming, would it stack up and remain as a favourite amongst the Canadian consumer?
In the Edge hierarchy, the Sport is the top of the line, bringing a 2.7-litre turbocharged “EcoBoost” V6 engine to the table. With 315 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and a stout 350 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm, this powerplant features an engine block made from compacted graphite iron, which deviates from not only other V6 EcoBoost units, but from a large portion of the automotive industry as well. For the last twenty years, aluminum engine blocks and cylinder heads became the norm, offering significant weight advantages without sacrificing too much in terms of durability. However, unlike the old-school cast iron, the 2.7-litre uses compacted graphite iron, which is lighter and yet more durable. Compared to its aluminum counterparts, expect the iron to be able to withstand more boost pressure, which is a potential forecast for long term reliability.
On the road, the 2.7-litre EcoBoost was an absolute hoot, and most would never expect a CUV to have this much get-up-and-go. Highway merging and passing could only be described as a slingshot operation, with minimal turbo lag and a flat torque curve helping to make the Edge reasonably fun to drive. Backing the beefy EcoBoost engine is a six-speed automatic transmission that fires off shifts confidently under most conditions. When using the paddle shifters for manual override, things do get a little clunky, especially on downshifts and at lower speeds. However, it doesn’t dampen the fact that the powertrain is one of the main highlights of the Edge Sport.
In terms of fuel economy, the inclusion of modern direct injection technology means that turbocharging and regular grade fuel can be used together. While the rated horsepower numbers are achieved with 93 octane, the Edge will be perfectly happy with 87 octane with slightly reduced power output. Rated at 13.6L/100km in the city and 9.8L/100km on the highway, observed test economy was 12.4 L/100km in mixed driving that included quite a bit of turbocharger use. For lead footed drivers, expect the Edge Sport to be quite thirsty at the pump, as the fuelling demands of engines at full boost are extremely high.
As a crossover with increased ride height over a regular car, the Edge still managed to handle reasonably well. Independent suspension at all four corners kept things planted, and the wheel and tire package was definitely on the low-profile side, with optional 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in P265/40R21 tires. While they look great, expect tire replacement costs to be considerably higher than average. In any case, the wide tires maintained ample traction at full tilt when combined with Ford’s all-wheel drive system. Even with a bias towards front-wheel drive, torque steer is kept at bay, and the Edge got up to speed without any awkward tugs at the steering wheel. Cabin and wind noise is also kept to a minimum.
With the top level Sport trim starting at $44,649, standard features include include 10-way power driver and passenger seats, a power liftgate, remote start, leather seating surfaces, as well as a reverse sensing system. On the outside, Sport models get LED exterior signature lighting, body-colour fascia and cladding treatments, as well as a piano black grille. Options included the $4,500 Equipment Group 401A, which brings high-intensity discharge (HID) projector headlamps, a blind spot warning system, lane departure/keeping assist, as well as an automatic parking assist that lets the Edge autonomously parallel park itself. Also included are items such as a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, all-weather floor mats, and a 110-volt AC power outlet.
For $2,000, the Canadian Touring Package adds voice-activated navigation, as well as a large panoramic sunroof. Additionally, a $500 Driver’s Package adds power tilt/telescope steering adjustment, as well as Adaptive Steering. With this feature, the steering ratio is surprisingly fast at low speeds, requiring only two turns from lock to lock when engaging in parking maneuvers. With the final total coming in at $52,899, expect the Edge to compete against the likes of the Lexus NX (reviewed here), as well as a fully loaded Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot (reviewed here). The latter two offer more utility and a third row of seats, but aren’t nearly as sporty as the Edge.
On the inside, Ford has done a commendable job at designing the Edge’s cabin. Materials and touch points appear modern and are of high quality, and the button layouts were fairly intuitive. With the use of buttons on the centre stack as opposed to capacitive touch points, ergonomics remain good, and drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road to adjust simple parameters like climate control. The sporty leather-suede seats offered great support and bolstering, without becoming uncomfortable on longer trips. In front of the driver, the gauge cluster is comprised of two screens that flank the speedometer; the left screen can be configured to display tachometer, fuel economy, and trip functions, and the right screen can be used for navigation and media information.
With respect to multimedia, Ford’s new Sync3 system (reviewed in detail here) is leaps and bounds over the older MyFord Touch setup. New for 2016, the feel of the interface is not too far off Chrysler’s excellent UConnect, which isn’t a surprise considering that BlackBerry subsidiary QNX is behind both systems. Overall, it’s intuitive, simple, and allows users to access all the main functions in a quick and easy manner. The Gracenote album art system worked well for Bluetooth music streaming, and the premium Sony audio provided enough kick to satisfy most eardrums. Bottom line – what used to be a crippling deal breaker for Ford has now become a competitive advantage.
The exterior styling, big wheels, and powertrain on the 2016 Ford Edge Sport come together to create a personality that’s been popular amongst the Canadian car-buying public since the original Edge’s introduction. At the same time, the comfort levels and daily livability are also strong points. Built in Oakville, Ontario, it represents a solid car-buying choice that also happens to support local jobs in the Canadian manufacturing sector. Even if not considering the powerful Sport model, the lower-priced SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels are an even better value for the money. They offer enough variation in features to let buyers pick an Edge to best suit their needs. As a whole, the sum of the parts come together to create a fun, fast (in Sport trim) crossover that’s also well equipped.
2016 Ford Edge Sport Gallery