The 2016 Ford Edge Is as Quick as a Cayman

Critics’ notebook for Jan. 19, 2016.

Lawrence Ulrich/TheDrive.com

If my girlfriend’s father didn’t drive an Edge back in Michigan, I might have forgotten that Ford’s midsize crossover SUV was still kicking around. So while I expected a blasé reaction to an all-new Edge, I got a deserved kick in the pants instead, courtesy of Ford’s mighty mouse, its 2.7-liter Ecoboost V-6.

Upgraded from its aged Mazda platform to the CD4 that supports cars like the Fusion and the coming Lincoln Continental, the Edge slots into that great middle of family SUVs: larger than the sprightly Escape, smaller and more wieldy than a three-row Explorer.

The restyled Edge is handsome in an easy-to-miss way, like the thick-legged UPS guy who’s always around the neighborhood. But instead of brown shorts, my Edge boosted visibility with its Electric Spice paint, a coruscating gold that’s a close match for the color of Iron Man’s faceplate. (The shade isn’t for everyone, but it sure beats another silver SUV surfer.)

The saturated Marvel paint was appropriate to the Edge Sport, as demonstrated every time I drove I froze Manhattan traffic like some supervillain—Freakoboost?—while launching from stoplights. The twin-turbo V-6 puffs its little chest with 315 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of instant torque. That’s 55 more horses and 90 more pound-feet than a Nissan Murano.

The result is a family SUV that’s as quick as a base Porsche Cayman, its engine humming from some faraway land as the Ford dispatches 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. This Edge will positively smoke a BMW X5 35i, which requires 6.2 seconds. The Jeep Grand Cherokee takes 6.5 seconds, and that’s when equipped with its thirsty 360-horse V-8—a 5.7-liter Hemi with more than double the Ford’s displacement. This is the same Ford mill that propels a 2.5-ton F-150 pickup to freeway pace in just over six seconds. With a six-speed automatic transmission and just 2.7 liters of cylinder space—same as the Porsche’s naturally aspirated flat six—that acceleration seems impossible. But the stopwatch doesn’t lie, unless it’s a Volkswagen design.

Since most SUV buyers aren’t racing for pink slips, the Edge gives the people what they really want: a high-riding bulwark against danger, noise and stress. The Ford’s cabin is as isolated as a North Korean missile silo, as quiet as any Lexus or Mercedes SUV. Front-wheel or AWD, you choose. The newly shipshape interior featured optional leather seats with faux-suede inserts. A harmonious dashboard puts everything within reach, including steering-wheel controls for Ford’s bookend pair of driver’s readouts. The Sync infotainment system still perplexes at times, with main icons exiled in the screen’s four corners, where they evade probing fingers. (A markedly improved Sync 3 unit will arrive, cavalry-like, for 2017, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both aboard.)

Like the Murano, Jeep or Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the back seat is comfortably sized for two adults, with enough cargo space (via disciplined packing) for vacations with two children. Slip up with an “oopsie” child, and you’ll be trading for a three-row SUV or minivan.

Despite its giddy thrust, the Edge still felt a bit of a brick at roughly 4,400 lbs, imparting the feeling that I was embedded in a gold-painted girder. Throw in helium-light steering and a skinny wheel, seemingly eager for a mother’s caress, and the Ford proved strictly a family affair on curves: competent, but hardly Mazda-inspired. But the ride was pleasantly mellowed out, especially considering the often-deadly combination of nasty New York streets and 21-inch wheels, rendered here in 10-spoke orbs of painted aluminum. And there was never a sense that the Ford would go astray, even when I hustled it rudely around suburban Westchester.

This show-offy Edge Sport starts at $40,990. A $3,700 batch of features—including navigation, remote start, rear heated seats, lane and blind-spot monitors and Ford’s ace self-parking system—helped lift mine to $45,380. But a base Edge starts from $29,595, a shade below the Murano and Grand Cherokee, and about four grand above the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or Kia Sorento.

For whatever reason, buyers and auto writers have focused on the extremes of the SUV market, the cute trucklets at one end and big daddies like the Range Rover at the other. But with the new Edge, Ford has birthed a middle child that deserves some family attention.

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2016 Ford Edge Sport
PRICE (as tested): $45,380
POWERTRAIN: 2.7-liter Ecoboost V-6, 315 hp, 350 lb-ft torque; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MPG: 17 city / 24 highway
Chance of stoplight drag-racing a Cayman: Nil