Ford has taken the wraps off its second-generation Edge SUV, seven months after previewing it in the form of the Edge Concept. Unlike the first-gen, this one is set to be a global offering – it’s going to be sold in more than 100 markets around the world.
Slightly longer and taller than its predecessor, it has been redesigned from wheels to roof, carrying over nothing from the current U387, which arrived in 2006. Underpinnings-wise, the CD3 chassis used in the current Edge has been replaced by the global midsized platform first seen on the Ford Fusion two years ago.
Coupled with an entirely new, stiffer body structure and redesigned suspension, the promise is improved drive dynamics. The front MacPherson layout has been retained, but the rear now features a fresh integral-link independent system with coil springs and anti-roll bar.
New too is the company’s adaptive steering technology – the Edge will be the first Ford to feature it. The system uses a precision-controlled actuator (comprised of an electric motor and gearing system) placed inside the steering wheel. Requiring no change to the vehicle’s traditional steering system, the actuator essentially adds to or subtracts from a driver’s steering inputs.
Compared to a traditional fixed ratio steering, the new adaptive system continually changes the ratio between a driver’s actions at the steering wheel – as in the number of turns – and how much the front wheels turn in relation to vehicle speeds.
At lower speeds, such as pulling into a parking space or manoeuvring in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn, dialling in more steering into the road wheel so each low-speed action requires less turning of the steering wheel.
At highway speeds, the system optimises steering response by enabling the vehicle to react more smoothly and precisely to driver input. The result, the company says, is a better and more engaging drive experience behind the wheel at all speeds.
Three engine options will be available for the SUV in the US – there’s a normally-aspirated 3.5 litre V6, as well as two EcoBoost units, a 2.0 litre four-cylinder and 2.7 litre V6, all paired with a six-speed SelectShift conventional automatic transmission, replete with paddle shifters.
Of note is the 2.0 litre EcoBoost, which is not the same unit in use currently on the likes of the Focus ST, Escape / Kuga and Mondeo. This is a new unit set to replace the existing one, which has only been around for just under five years.
The new 2.0 litre EcoBoost features a Borg-Warner twin-scroll turbocharger and a host of revisions and improvements. Changes include a new and lighter engine block as well as a new aluminium balance shaft. Other bits include lighter pistons, a new design integrated exhaust manifold and new fuel injectors. As a result, compression ratio goes up from 9.3:1 to 9.7:1, promising improved overall fuel efficiency.
Output figures aren’t finalised, but Ford says that the new mill will offer an estimated 245 hp and 366 Nm in the Edge (for the 2.7 litre, more than 300 hp).
This sounds low given that the current unit already offers 240 PS (236 hp) and 340 Nm in the Mondeo, for example, but output figures can be hiked depending on applications (as in use on the next-gen Focus ST), and so don’t tell the whole story – the company says that the new 2.0 litre EcoBoost is significantly improved over the current one in terms of performance.
Aside from being more frugal, improvements include less turbo lag and reduced vibration levels when idling compared to the current engine. It’s also quieter – aside from the implementation of acoustic wrap to the intake manifold, an upgraded heat shield provides additional sound management, as does a modified oil pump.
As befits a flagship SUV, the Edge will be loaded up with a suite of standard and available technologies, ranging from adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support to enhance active parks assist. Also on call, the recently announced active glovebox knee airbag system and inflatable rear safety belts.
The new Edge will go on sale in North America in the first quarter of 2015, with sales following in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific markets. Do you think it would do well here?