Most sport utility vehicles or wagon derivatives of passenger cars come across as being more utilitarian than sporty. Even a bit boring.
However, the Sport edition of the Ford Edge definitely runs counter to this axiom, both in terms of style and performance.
The Edge has been around since the 2007 model year and was given an interior and exterior makeover for 2011. In addition, its 3.5-liter V6 was treated to a 20-horsepower surge (to 285 from 265).
The Edge Sport is different enough from the regular Edge to be considered a whole other vehicle. As the name implies, this is one five-passenger wagon that has been built to please buyers looking to spice up their rides, but still need a multi-purpose machine capable of carrying a wide variety of gear.
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Visually, the Sport differs from the rank-and-file Edge in several ways. The blacked-out grille is certainly one telltale sign and the massive 22-inch forged aluminum wheels are another. Unique smoked headlight and taillamp designs, oval chrome exhaust tips and body-colored lower front and side trim are also part of the sport package.
A specially tuned suspension has been dialed in and contributes to the Sport’s hunkered-down stance and sharpened reflexes.
Inside there are number of Sport-unique elements, such as black leather seats with contrasting “Silver Smoke” metallic-colored inserts, aluminum pedals and column-mounted paddle shifters that offer a degree of manual control over the Edge’s six-speed automatic transmission.
The practical side of the Edge is its flexible people and cargo-carrying capacity that’s significantly greater than either the BMW X3 or Audi Q5 wagons, but similar to what you get in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
What truly differentiates the Sport from the other Edge models (SE, SEL and Limited) is the 3.7-liter V6 that generates 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This new powerplant, which is also found on the 2011 Ford Mustang, provides impressive thrust along with equally impressive fuel economy. Here, the 3.7 is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. That compares to 19/27 for the base Edge, which is a fair trade-off considering the Sport’s sporty leanings.
Down the road, 2012 Edge buyers will be able to select the new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will produce about 275 horsepower along with “superior” fuel economy.
Complementing the Sport’s performance and exterior appearance are its many and varied luxury amenities, many of them technical in nature. They include Ford’s MyFord Touch voice-command technology that replaces traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with LCD screens and five-way controls like those found on cell phones and MP3 music players. MyFord Touch displays information using two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking a dial speedometer, while an eight-inch touch-screen resides atop the center stack to operate many of the vehicle’s systems, such as climate and audio. Switches on both sides of the steering-wheel crossbar control the information on each display. The screens can be personalized to show information relevant to each driver in the family.
Also included is iTunes Tagging that allows the listener to “capture” a song they hear on the HD Radio for later purchase from the Apple iTunes store. By pushing the “TAG” button on the touch screen, the song information is stored in memory.
Although a front driver, all-wheel-drive adds $1,850 to the Sport’s $37,750 base price. Additional extra-cost features include a panoramic sun roof, navigation and video entertainment systems, push-button start, blind spot mirrors that warn of approaching traffic on either side of the vehicle and adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the vehicle directly in front.
The Sport clearly pushes the Edge’s envelope in terms of power and content. But it’s not about just adding more. It’s about putting together the right combination of parts and pieces to create an effective image. And this Edge does exactly that . . . brilliantly.