Driving Impressions

By February 9, 2010

Underway, the Ford Edge handles reasonably well, given its considerable size and weight. Having its wheels out near the corners aids stability and handling. Naturally, the higher center of gravity prevents the Edge from being as nimble as a sports sedan, but unless you need to drive fast through the corners, you'll find it is perfectly adequate with less body roll than a regular SUV.

Ford's 3.5-liter V6 engine has variable valve timing and is much smoother and more refined than its previous V6s. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. We found the engine produced a good range of power at all speeds and the transmission shifted smoothly. We would rate the performance as middle of the pack: It's neither a barnburner nor a slug. But it does deliver notably good fuel economy.

We found the rack-and-pinion steering provided good feedback with precise control. We tested Edge models with both the 18-inch wheels and the 20-inch wheels and found the latter did not produce a harsh ride, despite the larger wheels and shorter tire sidewall. So, buyers can opt for the flashy looks without worrying about paying a hefty price in ride quality.

We drove the Edge with all-wheel drive, which helped make the car more sure-footed. The all-wheel-drive system is simple, with a viscous coupling that constantly alters the power to the front or rear depending on the need at any given time.

The Edge is not designed for off-road use yet it has a decent ground clearance of eight inches. Ford even lists its approach angle (16.5 degrees), departure angle (26.6 degrees), and ramp break-over angle (17.2 degrees), specifications usually reserved for off-road vehicles. We think the Edge will be fine on unpaved roads. We drove the Edge through snow and ice in Chicago and found it handled quite well thanks to the independent suspension and all-wheel drive.

The four-wheel disc brakes worked well, although we haven't tested them with a fully loaded vehicle hurtling down a mountain road. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control is standard on all models; AdvanceTrac includes the functions of ABS and traction control to help the driver maintain control in slippery conditions or in emergency avoidance situations.