2009 Ford Edge

Crossover without compromise

2009 Ford Edge
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For many people in the market for a practical family vehicle these days, SUVs are far too big and too thirsty, cars aren’t big enough and minivans are too much of a suburban homemaker cliché. Much like Goldilocks choosing the right porridge or sleeping arrangements, crossovers have become a staple of North American driveways due to the fact that they’re “just right.”

FAST FACTS

1. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 rated at 265 hp and 250 ft-lbs of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

2. Fuel consumption is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

3. New for 2009 is the Sport trim level which includes unique interior appointments like suede-accented seats, all-wheel-drive, differentiated color-matched bodywork, large diameter dual exhaust tips and standard 20-inch wheels.

For years now, people have been buying gas-guzzling trucks for the elevated ride height, increased safety in the event of a collision, as well as optimum traction in inclement weather. The fact that statistics consistently demonstrate less than 10 percent of 4x4 owners actually use their vehicles off-road means that the increased capabilities of these trucks is largely irrelevant.

Previously, manufacturers couldn’t care less because they were too busy counting their profits; that is, until sales of SUVs started to drop like a lead balloon. A light bulb evidently appeared above the head of some bright engineer who then had the inspiration to ask the obvious yet overlooked question, “What if we combine the drivability of a family sedan with attributes of an SUV into one package?” Bingo! Thus, the mid-sized Crossover was born. In a confidence-inspiring move, Ford brought the Edge to market quite early in the family-sedan-based crossover category.

With all of the flack the Big Three are taking these days, it’s important to remember that while General Motors is chopping brands, cutting its workforce and looking for handouts and Chrysler is brushing up on Chapter 11 terminology, Ford is busy as ever building cars. How novel.

FUSION PLATFORM WITH 265 HORSEPOWER V6

Sharing its platform with the Fusion, this four-door mid-sized SUV is propelled by a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 265 hp and 250 ft-lbs of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that offers smooth, crisp shifts and fuel consumption rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. In addition to offering ABS as standard equipment, Edge comes with a Safety Canopy (a system with side curtain airbags and rollover sensor), a post-crash alert system called SOS and Ford’s AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC) stability program.

FUN AND FUNCTIONAL INTERIOR OPTIONS

While interior idiosyncrasies on many vehicles often lead me to wonder if some engineers have ever sat in a car in their lives, the Edge provides many passenger-friendly appointments that make perfect sense in the real world. Options like the automatic folding rear seats, automatic rear hatch, interactive SYNC system and panoramic Vista Roof are all little bonuses that make such a vehicle that much easier to live with.

I actually expected that with the Vista Roof open the passenger compartment of the vehicle would feel like a wind tunnel, but the small deflector does its job and both wind oscillation and noise are kept to a minimum. Power sliding sunshades also help keep the inside cool on scorching summer days. While such an option is definitely a bonus, it isn’t reason enough to buy a vehicle. Luckily, there and plenty of other reasons too. In addition to being bright and spacious, the interior is comfortable and user-friendly too.

NEW FOR ’09 SPORT PACKAGE

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you need to be boring, the crossover has combined the things that people want in a minivan or station wagon but without the social stigma. New for 2009 is the Sport trim level which includes unique interior appointments like faux-suede accented seats and contrast stitching, all-wheel-drive, differentiated color-matched bodywork, large diameter dual exhaust tips and standard 20-inch wheels for a starting MSRP of $34,755. (Base models start at $26,635)

Massive 22-inch wheels and performance tires are also available as an option, which contribute to an improved look, however, the trade-off is a harsher ride and worse fuel mileage. Additional upgrades available throughout the 2009 Edge lineup are blind spot mirrors integrated into the side mirrors, Ford's latest navigation system and Sirius Travel Link.

THE VERDICT

So, it may not be as capable off-road as an SUV or offer as much cargo room as your old minivan, but you also won’t have to worry about perpetually feeling like Suzie Homemaker taking the kids to soccer practice no matter where you happen to be headed.

Armed with a host of standard amenities and safety features, a comfortable, fashionable and well laid out interior, larger wheels and standard all-wheel-drive capabilities, the 2009 Edge Sport adds a fresh new look to the Ford lineup. For those who crave safety and sensibleness but abhor fuel sucking SUVs and uninteresting minivans, the Edge offers distinctive and sporty looks in an attractive and practical package.

PLUS

Stable, comfortable ride
Long list of standard and safety features
Unique features like Panoramic Vista Roof

MINUS

Interior materials could be improved
AWD and 22-inch wheels negatively affect fuel economy
Moderate value in a highly competitive market

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