Since the disappearance of obscenely large station wagons such as the Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser and the Buick Roadmaster Estate, North American families have moved on, or “upgraded” to SUVs. The late 80s-early 90s marked the introduction of mainstream sport-utility-vehicles such as the Ford Explorer, the GMC Jimmy, and its sister car, the Chevrolet Blazer. However as the 2000s progressed, with poor MPG ratings and a risk of rollovers, demand for these mainstream SUVs dwindled as the appeal for luxury SUVs increased. Therefore, in came the station wagon again; albeit this time under the guise of “Crossover Vehicle”. A crossover is essentially a raised station wagon with AWD (usually optional) and the looks/driving position of an SUV.
The team at Double Clutch recently had the opportunity to spend a day with the 2012 Ford Edge Limited, an AWD crossover that is supposedly one of the best. The Edge Limited, with its V6 and optional AWD, directly competes with the likes of the Toyota Venza, the Mazda CX7, and the GMC Terrain. It is positioned directly between the Escape and the Explorer in Ford’s “SUV” lineup.
The Edge Limited comes equipped with a 3.5L V6 mated to a 6-speed “Shiftronic” automatic transmission with a (hopelessly pointless) manumatic mode. Going wide-open in 6th gear in “manual” mode automatically downshifts the car to 3rd gear. 285 horsepower certainly does not seem like enough to move this 4291-lb vehicle quickly enough. Power seems adequate and definitely won’t get you left behind on on-ramps, but it certainly sounds like it’s straining itself to do anything remotely fun. Keep in mind the Edge’s Intelligent AWD likely slows the vehicle down as well, although it certainly fared well off-road on the obstacle course.
On our fixed obstacle course, the i-AWD kicked in and allowed us to comfortably handle whatever terrain we threw at the Edge. We didn’t try anything extreme like rock-crawling, since it’s not as if Ford has branded the Edge to compete with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler and such. Turning off the traction control (which, by the way, SYNC has made a truly complicated task) allowed us to easily do 4-wheel drifts around dirt corners. Coming onto a soft mud embankment at over 40km/h was also flawless for the Edge. The only issue we did feel was the lack of ground clearance giving us a continuous fear that we were going to bottom it out trying to get over the slightest obstacle. This fear of damaging the vehicle did prevent us from throwing the Edge into some parts of the course.
The equipment list on the Limited was top-notch, which is to be expected of the top-level trim. The car came with beautiful 22″ chrome wheels, which we certainly felt were overkill for this car. However, the reverse- camera, huge touch-screen, and dual LCDs inside the instrument cluster were certainly a welcomed touch. Ford’s overdone touchscreen which does everything from navigation to climate control and 10 things in between is still ridiculously busy. We felt as though it had so much stuff packed into it that it lagged far too much to have smooth screen changes. We also truly despised the touch-buttons on the instrument panel for the climate control and basic stereo controls.
Overall, we did like the Edge as a road trip companion, but we would really like for car manufacturers to get rid of the “blingy” 22-inchers, lower the suspension a couple inches, and call it a damn station wagon! It’s what it is, not a “crossover”!