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CLOSER TO THE EDGE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Thu, Sep 24, 2009

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

CLOSER TO THE EDGE By Harvey Schwartz

A brand new model, the Ford Edge 'Sport' arrives as the first factory-customized crossover, with class-exclusive 22-inch wheels, an eight-piece body kit for a sportier look, and a tuned independent suspension for better performance on the road. With the auto industry in a steep downturn in vehicle sales because of the recession, the only bright spot is the decline in gas prices back into the low $2 per gallon range. The lower gas prices from the $4.50+ per gallon range to the low $2.00 range has helped with crossover sales across the segment.

Just like the Ford Explorer was the sales leader in sport utility sales in the 1990s through the early 2000's, the Ford Edge crossover has taken over the sales lead in the growing crossover segment with its bold good looks, unibody construction, sedan-like ride, versatility, and higher-than-SUV gas mileage specs. The 2009 Ford Edge lives up to Ford's commitment to deliver more vehicles customers want to buy, and the big story for 2009 is the new Edge Sport model, aimed at customers who want a sportier look, edgier handling, and a more personalized vehicle. The new Edge Sport rolls on available 22-inch polished aluminum wheels or the standard 20-inch premium painted wheels with branded hubs, both mounting 40-series Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires to complete the look. This marks the first time a 22-inch wheel-and-tire combination has been offered on any crossover. The Edge Sport's 22-inch wheel/tire handling package elevates the already sporty Edge to a new level of handling and control. It feels at home on a road course or twisty mountain road, but still delivers a ride agreeable for even a daily driver. To get the most out of the wheel/tires handling package, Ford has revised its fully independent suspension with performance tuned shocks, springs, thicker anti-roll bars, and steering components to deliver stunning handling not found on any other crossover vehicle. Noise, vibration and harshness have been canceled out with the use of front and rear isolated subframes.

The Ford Edge 'Sport' also shows its personality with an eight-piece, factory-installed body kit that includes a unique front air dam, side skirts, lower door caps and a rear skirt, all finished in body color, instead of the dark lower finish on other Edge models. The front air dam comes with integrated fog lamps and a lower grille insert. Giving the Sport model an even more menacing look are smoked front and rear lamp lenses and three-inch wide dual exhaust tips. The sport model is available in four exterior colors: Black, Redfire, Brilliant Silver and a limited-run Sport Blue, that covered my test vehicle. On the road you can really feel the difference with better road-holding capability, better traction, quicker acceleration with the wider tires and sport-tuned suspension, plus a better feel for the road with the performance steering gear. The latest version of SYNC which adds 911 Assist-with no monthly fees-to the industry-first system of voice-activated control and connectivity for mobile phones and MP3 players is just the first of many cutting-edge features in the 'cockpit' Also available is the next generation navigation system with SIRIUS Travel Link, which gives drivers and passengers access to up-to-the-minute information and entertainment including coast-to-coast coverage of real-time traffic and weather reports; fuel options from more than 120,000 stations sorted by price and distance; major league pro and college sports as well as movie listing from more than 4,500 theaters. Other new features include a new in-cabin ambient lighting package and such customer-friendly standard features as passenger grab handles and a cargo management system with four hooks, two tie-downs, a cargo net and a universal garage door opener.

Edge's optional panoramic Vista Roof opens up a whole world of possibilities. The large glass moon roof provides a grand view of the sky and a sense of freedom that accentuates Edge's sporty nature. The roof features a large 27.3-inch by 29.4-inch forward panel that offers tilt and slide opening, and a 15.75-inch by 31.3-inch fixed rear glass panel. The oversized front panel provides open-air touring. Close the forward roof and the enormous skylights allow natural light to flood the cabin while protecting the cabin from the elements. Twin-power-operated cloth shades can be closed simultaneously to block 100% of ultra-violet rays. Edge's 3.5 liter V6 engine generates 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque and features smooth operation at high rpms and up to 90 percent of the torque at low rpms. A 10.3:1 compression ratio and close-coupled catalysts help it meet stringent ultra-low emission vehicle II regulations. The 6-speed automatic transmission delivers good fuel economy and performance. Short first and second gears provide impressive launch and acceleration, while the tall overdrive gears deliver seven percent better fuel economy than a four-speed automatic. Edge's optional intelligent all-wheel-drive system was tuned with an emphasis on performance while offering confident all-weather driving. By constantly monitoring and predicting traction, the system delivers torque to all four wheels, even before the wheels begin to slip. An active on-demand coupler can deliver the precise amount of torque to the rear wheels. Paired with the optional AdvanceTrac traction control, intelligent AWD can transfer torque front to rear and side to side. Edge's modern design flows into the interior, evident in the instrument panel and distinctive center stack. Optional leather seating surfaces feature contrast stitching inspired by the fashion industry. Edge is designed to fit the customer's need for style as well as cargo space and adaptability. The large center console uses a removable divider and tray to organize the space both vertically and horizontally for secure storage of everything from a laptop computer to coins and MP3 players. The Edge has four power points, three within the driver's reach, along with a MP3 audio jack. Small slots molded into the side of the console keep phone and MP3 cords neat and organized. The console lid has a ticket slip, two penholders and a tissue holder.

Edge comfortably seats five, offering available six-way power, heated, adjustable front seats and adult headroom and legroom for the second row. The reclining 60/40-split second-row seats fold to provide a level load floor for carrying equipment in the large cargo area. The Edge can transport items as long as 8-feet with the available fold-flat front passenger seat. Each rear seat can be folded manually using an industry-first single-hand release or automatically with an optional EasyFold electro-mechanical remote release accessible from the cargo area. The nicely loaded Edge Sport model Test Car came equipped with a veritable laundry list of usual and not so usual features including among others; the requisite keyless entry system and the very helpful reverse sensing system. Standard safety systems include 5-3-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, adjustable head restraints, child safety locks, LATCH system, tire pressure monitoring system, front/side airbags up front, front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, and a full safety canopy for the front and second-row outboard seats. The new 2009 Ford Edge with the Sport package gives Ford a solid contender in the mid-size crossover segment, with head-turning bold looks, giant wheels/tires plus a sport-tuned suspension that really separates the men from the boys.

© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT The crossover for those who want more sport in their sport utility vehicle. For more information about Ford products, go to www.fordvehicles.com More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2009 Ford Edge 'Sport' Price: $33,755.00, $35,140.00 as tested Fuel economy: FWD-17 mpg/city, 24 mpg/highway, AWD-15 mpg/city, 22 mpg/highway Engine: 3.5 liter DOHC 24-valve, all-aluminum V6 Horsepower: 265 hp at 6,250 rpm Torque: 250 lb.ft. at 4,500 rpm Drive configuration Front engine/front wheel drive, optional AWD Transmission: 6-speed automatic Front suspension: Sport-tuned independent MacPherson struts with L-shaped lower control arms, coil springs, monotube gas-charged shocks, stabilizer bar, isolated subframe Rear suspension: Sport-tuned independent with trailing blades, integrated knuckle, lateral links, coil springs, monotube gas-charged shocks, stabilizer bar, isolated subframe Wheels/tires: 22X9 machine polished aluminum wheels, 265/40R22 all-season radial tires Brakes: Front-power-assisted 12in. vented discs with dual-piston calipers Rear-11.8 in. solid discs with single-piston calipers, ABS standard Total length: 185.7 in. Total width: 75 in. Total height: 67 in. Base curb weight: FWD-4,078/AWD-4,288 lbs.

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