Now that Ford has decided to stop producing cars, for the most part, it can concentrate on trucks and utility vehicles.
Goodness knows it has enough of the latter! From the tiny EcoSport to the gargantuan Expedition, there are five: EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer and Expedition.
Base prices run from $21,500 to $59,500 and each step up the ladder adds 250-400 mm in length, 170-375 kilos in weight and at least $5,000 to the price tag.
The best-seller in the camp is the Escape, with the Edge a distant runner-up. For the 2019 model year, Ford has given the Edge a mid-cycle makeover. It gets a fresh face, new wheels, new transmission, redone interior and a raft of standard safety features.
We drove a Titanium model. The top-of-the-line Edge passed the $50,000 mark putting it into the midst of a whole raft of competitors including some from luxury brands. In addition to an ultra-smooth ride and quiet interior, the tester had the fit, finish and materials to play in the big leagues.
I can’t tell you what it is like behind the wheel. Regular readers know that I have a new hip and strict instructions not to drive for a few weeks. My patient and lovely wife gets to play chauffeur and I’m passing along her observations. This lady is not an enthusiast, but she has driven thousands of vehicles over the years, helping me shuttle between press units.
During that entire time, I can’t remember more than a dozen comments about the power, handling, steering, etcetera. A thoroughly competent and accident-free driver, I think of her as the average consumer. Each week she gets into and out of a different vehicle, if not to drive, then to move in the driveway or run an errand. She has to adjust seats, mirrors and in many cases the HVAC system, so can be critical when a manufacturer gets cute and comes up with a different location or approach for these functions.
After a week shuttling me around in the new Edge, she was generally positive. She liked the seats, visibility, and amount of room in the cargo area. There was plenty of room for child seats for the grandchildren, and both front and rear doors, opened “nice and wide.” The forward facing and rear cameras were much appreciated when getting into and out of tight parking spots.
There are minimal changes inside the Oakville-built 2019 Edge. The main one is the centre console which now boasts a rotary controller for the transmission. This is a growing trend. The excuse is that it provides more room on the console than a traditional shift lever. The trouble is that it often requires the driver to take their eyes off the road to ensure they have engaged the right gear. This one is better than most in that you simple rotate fully clockwise to engage drive. You have to feel around a bit for reverse. There is provision to manually control gears but fewer than one per cent of Edge owners will ever utilize this “feature” included to placate the few drivers remaining who prefer to shift for themselves.
The new eight-speed automatic transmission paired with an automatic start/stop system helps to improve fuel economy. All-wheel-drive models add a new feature, one that disconnects the rear wheels until more grip is needed. More than a dozen sensors monitor available traction switching from fuel-saving FWD to AWD and back within 10 milliseconds. As a result of all these efforts, Ford says combined fuel consumption has improved from 10.5L for AWD models, to 10L It does, however, recommend premium gas! You can use regular fuel if you’re willing to live with a slight loss of power, so slight you won’t notice it.
Ford has added a couple of significant new features for 2019. FordPass Connect (nee SYNC Connect), provides a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices and the ability to lock, unlock and locate your Edge via an app on your smart phone.
The Edge becomes the first Ford SUV equipped with a suite of driver assist systems called Co-Pilot360. It includes pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams and a rear-view camera with a lens washer (good one, Ford!).
An active lane assist system attempts to keep you centred in the lane. It operates only when cruise control is engaged.
The 2019 Ford Edge is available in SE, SEL, Titanium and ST trim levels. The base SE front-wheel-drive version has been dropped for 2019. AWD is now standard bumping the base price up by about $1,000. But that also gets you the new eight-speed automatic, FordPass Connect, and Co-Pilot360 driver assists.
Ford’s decision to discontinue most cars, is based on the growing popularity of crossovers. The revised Edge is expected to capture a large number of consumers who might have previously been looking at cars.
2019 Ford Edge Titanium
Engine: turbocharged, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, 250 horsepower, 275 lb.-ft. of torque on Premium fuel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway):11.4 / 8.3
Length: 4,795 mm
Width: 2,180 mm
Wheelbase: 2,850 mm
Weight: 1.940 kg
Price: $39,999 base, $53,439 as tested including freight
Options on test vehicle included: burgundy velvet metallic paint, $450; equipment group 301A (adaptive cruise control with full stop and lane centre, evasive steering assist, enhanced park assist, panoramic sunroof, cold weather package, heated steering wheel, floor liners, windshield wiper deice, heated rear seats, heated and cooled front seats), $5,000; Class II trailer tow package, $600; rear seat entertainment system, $2,100
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