Ford Edge makes driving safer, easier

Gerry Miles photoFord gave the revised, 2019 version of its Edge wagon automatic driving abilities like emergency braking and lane tracking, which make it the most advanced model among mainline mid-sized crossover utility vehicles, according to Ford.

As a helpful and accommodating crossover sport-utility vehicle, the Ford Edge tells us a lot about why sport-utilities have grown so popular. They’re now so popular that Ford – along with other U.S.-based car makers – is all but abandoning traditional sedans to focus on making these more versatile wagon-style passenger carriers.

The Ford Edge also gives us a good look at how advanced automatic driving aids are making their way into daily-use vehicles and becoming an ordinary aspect of our motoring.

Ford refreshed this year’s version of its middle-sized, five-passenger crossover to extend the Edge’s appeal as the current design nears its fifth year on the market – Ford first introduced today’s version of the Edge as a 2015 model. This year’s Edge wears a reshaped grille, hood, back hatch, and front and rear bumpers. The cabin of the 2019 Edge is more accommodating due to changes that include new storage bins, and a rotary dial for selecting transmission gears. By eliminating the upright, lever-type gear selector between the two front seats, the low-lying dial creates more cabin space and eases occupant movement.

To conserve fuel, this year’s model comes with an engine start/stop feature that shuts down the motor when the car waits at intersections, and restarts it automatically when it’s time to move. A new eight-speed automatic transmission makes the Edge’s power delivery smoother and more efficient.

The most conspicuous improvement in the 2019 Edge is the inclusion of the automatic driving aids that Ford groups under the name Co-Pilot360.

Every Edge model, from the lowest priced front-wheel-drive SE level, listing at $31,090, to the highest priced, luxurious Titanium trim with all-wheel drive, which lists at $41,850, comes with Co-Pilot360 functions that aim to improve safety and ease driving strain driving taking control of the car in particular situations.

“Everybody wants the technology that’s now available in these vehicles, especially the safety technology,” commented Chris Sawyer, sales manager at the regional dealership Portsmouth Ford in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In this year’s Edge, that technology includes forward obstacle detection with automatic emergency braking, including pedestrian detection. The package comes with automatic high-beams. Its lane-departure monitor warns the driver when the Edge is drifting off of its travel path, and gives some steering aid to help get it back on track. It also alerts the driver if the system detects erratic movement. Blind-spot monitoring tells a driver when it’s safe to change lanes. Rear cross-traffic monitoring helps prevent backing out of a parking space when another car is crossing in the back.

Ford also adds rain-sensing wipers to the 2019 Edge. And this year’s model gets post-impact automatic braking, which helps secure the wagon if it should be involved in an accident.

That’s still advanced stuff, even though such capabilities are moving steadily out of the luxury class of cars and into more ordinary autos. Ford states that its 2019 Edge now carries more automatic driving aids across its full range of models than any other middle-sized sport utility. In that way the Edge marks a milestone in the progress of driver-assisting technologies.

Of course, upper-priced versions of the SUV include more automation. You can add a $4,150 option package to the top level Edge Titanium model to give it automatic evasive steering, plus intelligent cruise control that keeps the crossover centered in its lane while it keeps pace with traffic, even when the traffic stops.

Ford also is selling a sporting, higher performance version of the Edge, called the Edge ST. The most expensive variation with its starting list price of $43,450 that includes all-wheel drive, the Edge ST stands apart primarily for its twin-turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 335 horsepower. Other Edge varieties use a turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower.

The ST model also incorporates a more athletically tuned suspension, four-wheel traction tailored for balance during fast maneuvers, and a more supportive driver’s seat. It sports aggressive accents like larger dual-exhaust outlets and deeply cut lower side skirts.

At Portsmouth Ford, Chris Sawyer noted that the wider variety of configurations reflects a something-for-everyone approach that expands the appeal of the vehicle to more drivers.

In all Edge variations, people appreciate the safer and easier driving provided by Co-Pilot360. But while the high-tech add-ons are sweeteners, the fundamental ability of the Edge to get more done accounts for its rising popularity, along with the growing popularity of the entire crossover sport-utility class that the Edge inhabits.

The open, spacious cabin in the Edge makes it stand out in the utility category. Its rear cargo hold alone easily handles routine hauling chores like weekly groceries from Market Basket, equipment bags for the little league team, or travel bags for a weekend over-nighter. Expanding the back by folding down one or both of the rear seats makes the Edge a more versatile high-volume hauler.

Evaluating an abundantly equipped Edge Titanian recently, I saw how the wagon’s high-capacity, flexible hauling capabilities still outshine the advanced automation the model now contains. Sure, while driving 100 miles with a passenger, traveling to pick up a college student returning home for the summer, I appreciated and even felt entertained by the up-level wagon’s abilities to negotiate aspects of freeway travel with little input from me. But the best feature of the Edge came when we added a third passenger for the return trip, along with all the student’s possessions that had cluttered her dorm room during the preceding nine months.

The Edge swallowed all of the college-life accessories, leaving more than enough room for us three riders to travel comfortably and converse casually.

Even if cars really do one day drive themselves, today’s models like the Ford Edge show why crossover utility vehicles will likely remain the favorites they have recently become.

Jeffrey Zygmont is an author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books, and a long-time auto writer. Contact him at www.jeffreyzygmont.com.

2019 Ford Edge

Vehicle type: 4-door, 5-passenger, front- and all-wheel-drive mid-size crossover sport-utility vehicle

Price range: $31,090 to $43,450 (plus options)

Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles basic warranty; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain warranty; 5 years/unlimited miles corrosion warranty; 5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance

Base engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 22 mpg city; 29 mpg highway

Wheelbase: 112 inches

Power: 250 horsepower at 5,500 rpm; 275 lb.-ft. torque at 3,000 rpm

Length: 189 inches

Width: 76 inches

Height: 68 inches

Weight: 3,959 pounds

Fuel capacity: 18.4 gallons