CAR REVIEW: Ford Edge Sport 2011

The Edge Sport packs tech and hot looks into an uneven package
CAR REVIEW: Ford Edge Sport 2011
UNEVEN PACKAGE: Fords Edge Sport offers an uneven package, with high tech and poor handling
By Staff writer
Tue 07 Dec 2010 04:19 PM

It’s improved, hasn’t it? The old Edge was an agreeably butch crossover and I was rather fond of its old Gillette Mach-3 style grille, but this Edge Sport turns it all up to 11. Ford swelled the grille to elephantine proportions, drops 22 inch wheels into the mix, adds katana-slash fog lights, and completes its transformation into the ultimate factory-pimped vehicle.

What about all the cool new gadgets? Ford’s promised a revolutionary new interior. And they have delivered, but not with as much success as I hoped. For the sake of clarity, I’ll focus on what works and what doesn’t. 

In the working category, let’s put the twin 4.2-inch LCDs flanking the speedometre. Controlled by two four-way steering wheel controls, you can precisely manage virtually every aspect of the car using just your thumbs, from the climate control to the music currently playing. You’ll impress your mates no end with the animated screens that smoothly slide and in out of view – overall, it’s a masterpiece of ergonomic design and readability. Unfortunately, the centre console falls squarely into the ‘half-cooked’ category. Ford had the brilliant idea of introducing flat ‘capacitive touch’ ones which react to the heat in your fingers. Cool? Yes. Usable? No.

In most cars, you depend greatly on muscle memory, remembering how buttons feel and respond. Without haptic feedback of any kind of the Edge, you’re constantly forced to look at the dash to see what button you’re pressing – the opposite of intuitive.

Speaking of intuitive, that interface looks busy for a computer, let alone a car. The eight-inch display screen is pin-sharp but strangely laggy to finger inputs and makes poor use of all that onscreen real restate. The fonts are small, buttons are tiny and the screen simply isn’t responsive enough – not to mention, it gets washed out in strong sunlight.

The dash is covered in soft touch materials and the contact points like the steering wheel feel great, but there are too many obvious places where Ford have cheaped out , most egregiously on the top of the passenger doors. There’s even remnants of the flashing process on the door pulls. If the Edge Sport was cheap like the old car, this wouldn’t be a problem but at nearly $41,000, this is not a cheap car.

You have to rev hard to get at the power (just like its Mustang cousin) while the steering and ride are incontrovertibly corrupted by the big rims, with the latter bordering on unacceptable. It’s not like there's a hugely sporty payoff, either – turn in hard and the enormous body roll puts risqué handling antics out of your mind. There’s also a cruel irony in the fact that in a car called the Edge, you can’t actually see the corners very well.

The Edge is the definition of a ‘bitsa’ car – bits of this and that never really add up to a whole. The Sync technology works, but the interface is arcane. The engine is agreeable in the Mustang, but breathless when hooked up to this AWD drive train.  The next Explorer which has designed with these systems from the ground up looks to be the smarter buy. But if you need the Edge’s youthful looks, match firmly past the Sport and get the $27,160 regular model which is nearly as quick and rides infinitely better. Your spine will thank you for it. 

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