2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost Review: First Drive

Ford's popular crossover asks you to pay more for less

2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost Review: First Drive

Discussions about offering eenie turbocharged engines in big people movers usually happen at German, French or Italian automakers. They have long proved willing to stuff base engines so small into multi-ton vehicles for years. And while those economy specials are popular enough ‘back home’, rarely do they ever break into North America. Until now.


1. Ford’s Ecoboost 4-cylinder makes its debut here, with 247 horsepower and 270 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm.

2. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city and 30 mpg around town, substantial improvements over the V6 models.

3. The Ecoboost carries a $995 premium over the V6, but is only available with front-wheel drive.

Ford started offering its EcoBoost technology back in 2009 – the twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 355-hp 3.5-liter V6 first made appearances in the Taurus SHO and Flex SUV promising a serious power hike with no fuel penalty. Over one-third of Ford’s new-car buyers list good fuel economy as the leading decision-maker. Sure enough, the company expects to roll EcoBoost through the rest of its line – over 90 percent of models will have the technology as an option by 2013.

The strategy has taken a new twist, though, when it comes to Ford’s taller offerings. The facelifted 2012 Edge crossover already offers two different displacement V6’s.  With the largest putting out over 300 horsepower in the top-line Sport, the mid-sized crossover needed a way to improve its fuel mileage while limiting increases in cost and weight.

So Ford is offering a four-cylinder option on the Edge, a rarity in its class. We’re familiar with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine from its promised appearances in the upcoming Focus ST hatchback and the Range Rover Evoque. But those are both significantly smaller and lighter than the 4,050-lb Edge. Still, Ford over-delivered – at least on the spec sheet: 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque that peaks at 3,000 rpm.

The six-speed automatic is identical to the V6, although the four-banger uses slightly higher gear ratios and final drive to improve acceleration and mitigate the power difference. Unfortunately, EcoBoost is only available with front-wheel drive, which might limit its appeal in snowy climes.  All told, the EcoBoost is the lightest Edge on sale to date, about 60 lb lighter than the FWD V6 and almost 250 lb than the AWD.

2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost

The only other tweaks Ford added to improve fuel economy are active grille shutters that close at speed to aid efficiency, and lower rolling-resistance tires throughout the range.

So does the EcoBoost make its argument as a fuel-sipping alternative? It could be… It’s rated at 21 mpg in the city and cracks 30 mpg on the highway (vs. 19/27 in the FWD V6 or 18/25 for the AWD V6.) That’s class-leading economy without sacrificing much in overall thrust.

Ford introduced us to the EcoBoost Edge at its giant Michigan Proving Ground where we evaluated it both on local roads, and along the company’s ‘hill’ course. The three-mile loop is designed to simulate long stretches of uphill climbs with some constant-radius sweepers thrown in for good measure. Coming down the back side doesn’t reveal much about the engine, but highlighted again that the Edge is one of the steadier and predictable performers in its class.

2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost

The EcoBoost  is happy to chirp the front wheels if you’re aggressive with the go-pedal at low speeds. Climbing at wide-open-throttle, you do get a hint of torque-steer near the upper end of the engine’s rev range. The party’s over by 6,000 rpm, though, and the 2.0-liter isn’t terribly melodious at that range.

Otherwise, the EcoBoost Edge mimics its six-cylinder playmates – it shares the same trim levels, wheel sizes and technological options with only a small square EcoBoost badge on the tailgate and the front fenders. It’s a subtle upgrade, for sure. There’s no boost gauge inside to distinguish the ‘blown’ engine option. Just the same brilliant but deeply flawed MyFordTouch system that has a steep learning curve. Its layout leads drivers to spend too much time scanning the touch screen rather than the road.

Downsides? Well, if you have any plans for towing, Ford doesn’t offer its Class II hitch with the EcoBoost engine. And there’s the little matter of pricing. Contrary to popular opinion, the EcoBoost is not the new entry-level engine; that’s left to the 285-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Choosing the turbo-four runs you the better part of $1,000, even though it produces less power than the ‘six’. Ford’s line of thinking is that the EcoBoost provides a fuel-savings option that would be positioned similarly to a hybrid vehicle, but without the complications of packaging batteries and an electric motor.

2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost

Just doing some back-of-the-napkin math, though, if a driver hypothetically drives 15,000 miles a year, the difference in fuel savings between the EcoBoost and the V6 is only $225 a year. The turbocharged Edge needs four years to ‘make’ its thousand-dollar investment back. That’s better than most hybrid options, which still ring in around five or six years, and that time only decreases as the price of gas rises.

The Edge itself was heavily revamped for 2011, so all of its changes and upgrades carry through unchanged. The EcoBoost pricing starts at $28,635 for the budget SE, $31,940 for the mid-range SEL and $35,795 for the full-load Limited. Super-popular options include the MyFordTouch ($750) and the Panoramic Vista Roof ($1,595).

Worth it? On first blush, and without having a more extensive drive, including back-to-back with the V6, it’s hard to recommend. There’s certainly a very small percentage of the Edge’s market that is looking at, say, four-cylinder Toyota Venzas, or maybe Subaru Foresters? Better to have the option there if needed rather than letting a customer escape to another dealership.

For now, we’ll tag the Edge EcoBoost as just another marketing-driven project, but we do look forward to a more extensive test to have Ford prove us wrong.

Related Reading
2010 Subaru Outback: First Drive
2011 Kia Sorrento: First Drive
2010 Honda Accord Crosstour EX-L Review
2010 Chevrolet Equinox 1LT AWD Review
2010 Mazda CX-7 i Sport Review

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked