By Mike Hanley on February 9, 2010
Last month we brought you details on the updated 2011 Lincoln MKX, and now its sibling, the Ford Edge, has received changes of a similar magnitude. Unlike the MKX, the Edge will sport an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Ford claims will provide V-6-like power, while returning 15% better fuel economy.
The 2011 Edge gets revised cabin styling and an available MyFord Touch entertainment and communication system. The exterior has also received some styling tweaks, most noticeably a huge chrome or black chrome grille. The five-seat crossover is now offered with a choice of three engines, including two V-6 options along with the new turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder. The 2011 Edge hits dealer showrooms this summer.
Like the MKX, the changes to the Edge's exterior are concentrated in front, with slender headlights, a revised horizontal-bar grille and a new bumper with a plunging design. From the windshield to the back of the crossover, though, the Edge's profile is essentially unchanged. Massive, 22-inch rims are standard on Sport trim levels, which features the black chrome grille.
Some of the cabin materials in the outgoing Edge, such as the dashboard, are a little crude for the class, but it's clear Ford has taken steps to improve the appearance of the 2011 model's interior. The numerous distinct panels that made up the top of the dashboard have been replaced by a single piece, and the newly available MyFord Touch system gives both the gauges and center control panel a futuristic appearance and feel.
With the MyFord Touch system, the traditional analog speedometer is bordered by two LCD screens that can be configured to show various types of vehicle information. An 8-inch touch-screen in the middle of the dash has menus for the climate, audio and navigation systems, among others. Below the screen is one of the Edge's distinctive features: touch-sensitive pads that replace many of the traditional buttons you'd normally find here. In models equipped with HD Radio, you can tag songs to buy later from iTunes.
A 3.5-liter V-6 has been the Edge's only engine until now, and it makes more power for 2011. The V-6 now produces 285 horsepower — up from 265 hp — and it's also more efficient. Ford claims the engine will get 27 mpg on the highway, presumably for front-wheel-drive models, which represents a 2 mpg improvement in highway gas mileage compared with the current front-drive Edge. It will be offered as the base engine initially when the car goes on sale this summer.
A few months later, that V-6 will be followed by Ford's first EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in the U.S., detailed specs for which haven't been released. A 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 that's exclusive to the Edge Sport will also be available at launch. All engines team with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is available.
Full fuel economy estimates haven't been released, but Ford claims the new EcoBoost four-cylinder will offer 15 percent better gas mileage than the current Edge's V-6, which gets a combined EPA rating of 20 mpg for front-drive models. That means the EcoBoost four-cylinder should get combined gas mileage as high as 23 mpg, which is slightly better than what front-drive versions of the four-cylinder Toyota Highlander (22 mpg) and Dodge Journey (21 mpg) achieve.
Ford is on a roll right now with its new products. Its redesigned Focus compact car was the star of the Detroit auto show last month. While not as all-encompassing as the Focus' redesign, Ford's update of the Edge addresses its major weak spot — the interior — and also brings better gas mileage and new technology to the table, which should make it much more competitive.
2011 Ford Edge
2010 Ford Edge
2011 Ford Edge Limited
2011 Ford Edge Sport
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike