I've never had a more intense love/hate relationship with a car than the one I experienced during my test drive of the 2011 Ford Edge.
There are many things to be excited about with this newly refreshed model that received some styling changes, significant interior upgrades and has such promising family utility, but it's all thwarted by the driving experience and features inside the car that simply don't work.
When driving the Edge, it seems like it weighs a ton. I felt like I was hauling a herd of elephants in the back despite the V-6 engine's considerable power. Once you get it moving, this five-seat crossover starts feeling a little boat-like — big, bulky and disconnected from the road. I could never quite find that sweet spot when accelerating; I either took off crawling or lunged forward too aggressively.
When I had to brake quickly because of a trash can on the loose in the middle of the freeway, I was quite shaken by how it fish-tailed briefly under pressure.
The 2011 Ford Edge has a starting MSRP of $27,640, but my test car — a Limited trim with front-wheel drive — cost $40,480.
The 2011 Edge is one of the most attractive crossovers on the road. It looks sharper than your average mom-mobile. The subtle exterior design changes, including the new grille and rear taillights, definitely give it a fresh look, resulting in a more upscale appearance. If you're into bling, you won't be disappointed by the sparkle from lots of chrome on the grille and big wheels, either.
It's hard to imagine the Edge's step-in height being too cumbersome for most children, but the doors are bulky and heavy and assistance may be needed there. The Edge is also wide, so be careful when pulling into parking spaces and driveways while you're adjusting to its width.
Parents will appreciate the power liftgate, which goes without saying is a coveted feature for multitasking moms and dads. The Edge's cargo area was so deep that I could really pile things up back there.
The Edge's gas mileage was another big turn-off. It gets an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway. My weeklong test drive consisted of primarily city driving, and I averaged 15.5 mpg. Yes, my test car had a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with 285 horsepower, but I wasn't pushing it hard enough to warrant such low gas mileage. On the bright side, you can fill up with regular unleaded gasoline to soften the blow at the pump.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great/Excellent
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some
The 2011 Edge feels and looks luxurious from the driver's seat. Overhead, you'll find Ford's Vista Roof, a panoramic moonroof over both the first and second rows that will wow parents and children alike. My test car had an alluring brown leather interior that looked rich and stylish when paired with the piano-black surfaces and faux wood trim.
The huge screen in the center stack has impressive color-coded displays for navigation, entertainment, phone and climate, and the two LCD screens on each side of the speedometer coordinate with the screen in the middle. The graphics look fresh and modern, and you can toggle between many different screens to get various types of vehicle information. The controls in the center stack are not buttons — they're touchpads — and they look futuristic.
Aside from its looks, the cabin is roomy. Grandma couldn't stop exclaiming how she had a ton of legroom while riding in the backseat, and the front passenger seat had no problems accommodating other long-legged companions with a rear-facing infant-safety seat behind them. My storage needs were satiated by the center console up front, which has a built-in pen and tissue holder to brighten any organization enthusiast's day and a deep bin below. Additionally, there was an incognito cutout under the center stack where I could stash my purse. It all seemed too perfect — good looks and fantastic functionality for a family? I was completely smitten until I turned the key.
I hadn't even made it down the block before the MyFord Touch system crashed. MyFord Touch is new for 2011 and responsible for about 80 percent of my frustration with this vehicle. MyFord Touch is an optional interface used for the car's entertainment and navigation systems. The system crash didn't affect my ability to keep driving, but I pulled over just to be sure I didn't accidentally hit some reboot button. Attempting to troubleshoot, I turned the car off to simulate a "restart" with no success. Then, after physically exiting the vehicle, doing a lap around it and climbing back in, I seemed to have successfully rebooted the system — until it crashed again. Did I mention that I hadn't even left my street yet?
I also had trouble with the navigation system. The great news is this system can be operated by voice commands. In theory, you should be able to tell the car, "Navigation, Destination: Starbucks" and you'll immediately get directions to the nearest location. However, I was never successful using this method, though I tried over and over again. The car also told me I could tell it a specific address, so I optimistically tried that method. Upon giving my home address, I was told it didn't exist. Maybe it didn't understand me? Nope. I tried spelling the street name but the system still refused to cooperate. Finally, after it kept telling me I could "use a common name, such as Wal-Mart," I decided to use "Wal-Mart." No dice. The car told me it didn't recognize that location; the nearest Wal-Mart was less than a mile away.
MyFord Touch doesn't come standard on all trim levels, so it's possible to skip the feature. It'd also be nice to have separate controls for the sunshades over the front and rear moonroofs. My daughter was entertained by the view, but around noon, the sun was too much for her. I couldn't cover the backseat's moonroof without also covering my own.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Galore
The 2011 Ford Edge has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn the safety nod, a car must receive the top score of Good in frontal-offset, side-impact, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It also has a standard electronic stability system. The 2011 Edge gets four out of five stars overall in crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Edge Limited has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes, traction control, Roll Stability Control, backup camera with rear parking sensors, and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows.
Optional safety features include all-wheel drive, a blind spot monitoring system and adaptive cruise control with Collision Warning, which will adjust the car's speed depending on the distance between you and the car in front of you. If the car anticipates a collision and you don't seem to be reacting in time, the car will begin to brake for you.
The Edge has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard rear seats that were difficult to access. The seat cushions, though comfortable, were a bit stiff, making it tough to reach the anchors. There is plenty of room for rear-facing car seats in the backseat, and of course, forward-facing seats fit just fine. The seat belt buckles are well-anchored but recessed in the bottom seat cushion, making it easy for a booster seat to slide over it.
Get more safety information about the 2011 Ford Edge here.