More and more consumers are realizing that they want to drive something with a bit more pizazz than a minivan these days. While we might all want to drive a sports car, for most of us reality dictates that we need something with a bit more utility. These opposing needs are what has fueled the growing CUV market. Smaller than a full size SUV, less seating than a minivan, this niche offers good looking, sporty vehicles that can haul some gear. The newest player is the attractive 2007 Ford Edge which combines a sporty look and feel with a healthy dose of utility. In fact, the Edge offers more utility than the FX-35 that we spent time with earlier this year.
First off, the Edge is built in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant which adds a certain amount of feel good right off the bat. Looking around the interior gives one the distinct feeling that Ford’s engineers have studied some of the Japanese competition’s vehicles and have put what they’ve learned into practice. The interior fit and finish wouldn’t be out of place in the cockpit of a vehicle from the west side of the Pacific.
The leather on the seats has a nice texture and is set off by a contrasting stitching. The seats are supportive and easily adjustable to a comfortable position with power controls for the front seat base. The front seats use a manual recliner rather than power, but the large handle is easy to find and grasp. It’s nice to see that Ford has included seat heaters for both front seats. The older we get, the more we appreciate bun warmers on a cold winter morning.
The Edge we drove was equipped with the optional navigation system, which looks great in the nicely laid out dash. I’ve never been a big fan of navi, but I’ll admit that I found it useful when trying to evade traffic when in an unfamiliar part of town. Another plus is the kids are always fascinated by watching our progress from the back seat. Of course, the audio feature is unneeded with 3 back seat drivers calling up upcoming turns. Otherwise, the controls are nicely laid out and easy to find.
The radio controls are integrated into the navi system’s touch screen and are easy to navigate. The sound system itself sounds great to this non audiphile. While I’m not too descriptive about sound, the system is loud and clear enough for the teenager to be embarrassed when Dad starts cranking off an air guitar solo to the White Stripes.
I’m a big fan of controls that are mounted on the steering wheel, keeping the driver’s hands where they belong. The Edge excels here, with not only the usual radio and cruise control functions, but simple HVAC controls as well. Having driven Japanese & European cars for years, I’ve become accustomed to having windshield wiper controls on their own stalk on the right side. It felt strange having to turn the left stalk to turn on the wipers, but otherwise they worked fine. If a piddly thing like that is the only complaint I can come up with about the controls, then Ford’s designers are doing a darn good job.
The rear seats have the same leather treatment and the outboard seats are comfortable for the average adult. The center seat is more likely aimed at little kids, as even our 13 year old commented that the seat belt positioning was narrower than some other CUVs that have been through our house lately. If adults are your main rear seat passengers though, that center spot can be better utilized by folding down the center armrest which contains a cool retractable cup holder for two.
On the utility side of things, the Edge has all sorts of thoughtfully placed storage cubbies. The front seat armrest opens to reveal a storage cavern large enough to contain 2 laptops, complete with a base for them to slide into. Very useful for today’s tech savvy driver. Even the cup holders are well thought out, as they hold a variety of sizes from a small coffee right on up to a 2 liter water bottle. One of my complaints about the FX-35 was that the cargo area was basically a waste of space. The rear cargo area of the Edge is quite large and would easily take the gear that this family of 5 drags along with it for a long weekend.
That said, the designers have missed one very important yet simple feature back here. There are no tie down points, which seem to have become commonplace in the CUV/SUV market. It sounds minor, but wedging a dirty propane tank between the front and rear seats just seems unfair to the nice leather. A really cool feature is the power release for the rear seat backs. Press a button and the seats flip forward to reveal a flat cargo floor, no more looking around to find some obscure release, or removing seat bottoms to get a flat floor.
No discussion of the interior of the Ford Edge would be complete without giving the optional Panoramic Roof a mention. This neat setup is actually a combination of a huge front panel that opens and a skylight above the rear passengers. The engineers have taken the stylist’s idea and turned it into a very functional piece. With the roof in the fully open position, the interesting fabric wind deflector keeps cabin noise to an absolute minimum even at highway speeds. Don’t forget the sunscreen though, as sitting in traffic can be a killer!
Overall, Ford has done an outstanding job with the creature comforts and utility in the 2007 Ford Edge. The interior is easily up to par with offerings from Honda, Toyota or Nissan. Next up, we’ll take it on the road to see how it stacks up to the competition.