2012 Ford Edge SUV - FROM $27,770
Thanks to its well-rounded nature, the 2012 Ford Edge is one of the top choices for a midsize crossover SUV.
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Ford Edge gets a new, optional turbocharged four-cylinder "EcoBoost" engine that essentially produces the power of a V6 but returns the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. The EcoBoost Edge also comes with aerodynamic enhancements, which include shutters in the grille that automatically open and close based on speed for improved airflow. The Sync electronics interface system is also now available on the lower trims in a decontented, cheaper form.
When it comes to crossovers, Ford definitely has you covered. Whereas most other manufacturers sell two or perhaps three, the Blue Oval offers four plus a pair of truck-based behemoths for serious family hauling. In this crossover hierarchy, the 2012 Ford Edge sits above the Escape in the No. 2 position, a midsize, five-seater model that is realistically the just-right size for most families. The Edge is one of the most popular SUVs in the country, and after last year's overhaul, it's easy to see why.
It starts with the virtues that have come to define Ford's recent car and truck offerings. The cabin is handsome in appearance, high quality in construction and packed with an abundance of high-tech features that few can match. The driving experience almost has a European character, balancing a comfortable and controlled ride with reasonably precise handling.
For 2012, the Edge also comes with a new engine option. The available "EcoBoost" turbocharged four-cylinder essentially produces the power of a V6 with the fuel economy of a naturally aspirated inline-4. It's certainly appealing, but when you consider this engine's $995 option cost and the fact the EPA estimates you'd save only $250 per year in fuel, it's not the slam-dunk choice it looks like on the surface.
Every 2012 Ford Edge has a couple downsides as well, the most notable being the MyFord Touch electronics interface that's drawn criticism from consumers and our editors alike for being difficult to figure out and frustrating to use. However, perhaps the biggest reason not to buy a 2012 Edge is the wealth of in-house competition. Within the Ford family, the Explorer is bigger, while the versatile Flex has an adult-friendly third row seat.
Among crossovers that don't wear a blue oval badge, the Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano each hold advantages over the Edge in some way. Yet Ford's midsize crossover manages to walk an agreeable middle ground between them all that, at the very least, makes it a must-drive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Ford Edge is a midsize crossover SUV that seats five passengers. It is available in SE, SEL, Limited and Sport trim levels.
The base SE comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, integrated blind spot mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, reclining rear seats, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, exterior keyless entry code pad, automatic headlights, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also optional are satellite radio and the Sync electronics interface (including Bluetooth and iPod connectivity).
The Edge SEL includes all the above equipment along with 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (includes power lumbar), an "EasyFold" second row seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Leather Comfort package adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and a six-way power passenger seat with manual recline and fold-flat capability. Also optional is a rearview camera and the MyFord Touch system, which is an electronics interface that includes a large central touchscreen, a secondary screen in the gauge cluster, enhanced steering wheel controls, enhanced Ford Sync features (turn-by-turn navigation and traffic reports) and a second USB port for audio devices.
From there, the Edge lineup forks into two directions. The Edge Limited comes with all of the above, plus 18-inch chrome wheels, heated mirrors, an eight-way power passenger seat (with power lumbar) and a 12-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio. The Driver Entry package includes keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition and a power liftgate (available separately on the SEL). Also optional are 20-inch wheels, xenon headlamps and adaptive cruise control with a collision warning system.
The Edge Sport, in contrast, essentially comes with all of the SEL's standard and optional equipment along with 22-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, special exterior styling and the Sony sound system.
All but the SE can be equipped with several other options. The Vision package adds automatic wipers and a blind-spot warning system. The navigation system includes real-time traffic, weather and other information through the satellite radio feed. There is also a panoramic "Vista" sunroof and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Ford Edge comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 285 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. That drops to 18/25/20 with all-wheel drive.
Optional on all but the Edge Sport is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (dubbed EcoBoost) that produces 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive and active aerodynamic enhancements are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the Edge EcoBoost went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds -- a bit slower than average but not unreasonably so. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 21/30/24.
The Ford Edge Sport gets a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission (with shift paddles) and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, an Edge Sport AWD went from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- a good time for the segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18/25/20 with front-wheel drive and 17/23/19 with AWD.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control (with rollover avoidance logic), front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and blind-spot mirrors are all standard. Also standard is the programmable Ford MyKey system, which allows parents to limit vehicle speed and stereo volume for teen drivers. Optional on all trims except the SE is a Vision package that includes blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems. The Limited can be equipped with a collision warning system.
In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive Ford Edge Sport stopped from 60 mph in a better-than-average 122 feet. That was with giant wheels and sticky summer tires, but an Edge EcoBoost with regular wheels and rubber still managed to stop in 124 feet. That's still better than average and monumentally better than Edges of the past.
In government crash tests, the Edge received an overall rating of four out of five stars. Within that score, it received three stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Edge scored the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2012 Ford Edge features a modern-looking interior, especially on models equipped with MyFord Touch. This interface consists of three new display screens and the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice, touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory, but there's a bit of a learning curve involved (which is normal for such high-tech interfaces) and the touchscreen's smaller black icons on a black background make it difficult to use on the move. It also has a tendency to be slow to respond.
The Edge's front seats provide excellent support on longer trips, though some drivers will find the head restraints to be uncomfortably canted forward. In back, the reclining outboard seats are nicely shaped and offer satisfactory legroom, but headroom can be tight if you order the dual-pane "Vista Roof" option. Furthermore, the middle seat is for short trips only due to its slablike seatback. Should you need a third-row seat, we highly recommend the Ford Flex.
Without the power liftgate, the Edge's rear hatch can be hard for shorter drivers to close. Cargo capacity is a respectable 32 cubic feet with the backseat in use; folding down the second row opens up a not-so-flat cargo floor and a max capacity of 69 cubes. That's more than a Nissan Murano can manage, but less than the Explorer or larger crossovers like the Flex and Chevy Traverse.
The 2012 Ford Edge is most notable for its comfortable, well-composed ride and a cabin stuffed full of sound insulation that provides an ultra-quiet, vaultlike environment. Handling is solid and secure, with a less cumbersome feel around corners and in parking lots than its larger Ford crossover comrades. The Sport model is slightly sharper and more agile, but its enormous wheels degrade ride quality to the point where we doubt many drivers will accept the compromise.
The addition of a four-cylinder engine into the heavy Edge may seem foolish, but this turbocharged mill produces more torque than the base V6 and gets considerably better fuel economy. It's also surprisingly quiet in operation, and really, if it was the only engine available we wouldn't complain. Still, the base V6 is nevertheless a solid power plant that few people should find wanting for power. The Edge Sport exists for those few, but that model's heavier curb weight largely negates its power advantage. The standard six-speed automatic attached to all of the above is optimized for fuel efficiency and as such can be slow to downshift.