Ford Touts Technology, Design, Dynamics of ’15 Edge

The ’15 model comes with a number of technology features, including active-grille shutters, adaptive-cruise control, start-stop and active-park assist.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

March 24, 2015

4 Min Read
rsquo15 Edge receives new 20L twinscroll EcoBoost inline 4cyl engine
’15 Edge receives new 2.0L twin-scroll EcoBoost inline 4-cyl. engine.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Ford is planning to emphasize technology, driving dynamics and style to give the new ’15 Edge midsize CUV a leg up on it competitors.

The Edge has lost some of its luster for many CUV buyers, with sales slipping 15.6% to 108,864 in 2014, and off 30.7% through February, according to WardsAuto data.

Some of that decline can be blamed on the transition to the new model at Ford’s Oakville, ON, Canada, assembly plant, but the Edge also faces increased competition.

The new model offers three engine choices, including the carryover 3.5L normally aspirated V-6. The engine, which has been used in several Ford vehicles for years, is meant to appeal to consumers who still desire a traditional V-6, as well as South American customers who want it for its biofuel capability, says J.D. Shanahan, chief engineer.

The other two engines are a 2.7L direct-injected turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 and 2.0L twin-scroll EcoBoost inline 4-cyl., which makes its debut in the new Edge, now arriving at U.S. dealers.

Shanahan says the new 2.0L is a more complex engine than the outgoing 2.0L it replaces, but the payoff is worth it because of the added capability it brings.

“The (old) 2.0L used to be the fuel-economy engine, now it’s the all-around engine,” he tells WardsAuto at an Edge drive event here. “With the twin-scroll and redesigned intake, it’s much more robust for different driving temperatures, more responsive and just more capable all around.”

The new 2.0L, which makes 245 hp and 275 lb.-ft. (203 Nm) of torque, is capable of towing 3,500 lbs. (1,587 kg). Unlike the outgoing engine, it can be mated to Ford’s all-wheel-drive system.

All three engines come paired with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

The ’15 Edge receives new front and rear suspension developed to isolate road imperfection and absorb noise, as well as improve handling. In back, the Edge gets an integral-link independent suspension with coil springs and an antiroll bar. In front, the CUV retains a MacPherson-type setup.

The Edge Sport boasts an upgraded suspension with rear antiroll bars that are 15% stiffer than the base model. It also receives larger rear monotube damper and coil springs that are 10% stiffer.

There are a number of technology features as well, including active-grille shutters, adaptive cruise control, start-stop, active-park assist, a hands-free liftgate, lane-keeping system and inflatable rear seatbelts.

Ford research indicates Edge customers value technology more than traditional buyers, says John Goncalves, Edge marketing manager.

“Who our vehicle appeals to is the customer who wants these premium features but doesn’t need the name badge to validate themselves,” he says.  

Much more attention was paid to interior details, including how the front doors meet the instrument panel and how various other components merge and align.

Higher-grade materials are used throughout the cabin, which features increased storage space and thinner, more supportive seats.

The upgrades to the Edge should appeal to its core buyers, typically young couples with one or no children and empty-nesters coming out of a larger vehicle with an average household income of $100,000, Goncalves says, predicting the new model also will lure back current owners.

“We are 50% conquest for Edge, which compares to 46% for Ford overall,” he says. “(And customers) are 50% female, compared to the Ford brand at 36%.”

Another potential bounce-back opportunity for Edge sales is the number of buyers increasingly shopping CUVs, Goncalves says. Ford research indicates CUVs last year made up 24% of the global industry, and that number is expected to jump to 29% by 2020.

China, where the Edge is produced locally, is expected to account for a large amount of sales. Deliveries nationwide were up 7% last year and Ford’s utility sales jumped 17%, with Edge growing 20%, Explorer 119% and Kuga and EcoSport up 42%.

“It’s really growing rapidly in Asia-Pacific and Europe, which is why we will start selling (Edge) in Europe, as well,” Goncalves says. “We’ve recorded record (CUV) sales for the four consecutive years and have been a global leader in utility sales.”

Although early in the launch, Ford is expecting a rich mix for Edge, which comes in SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium trim levels.

Traditionally, 35% of Edge sales have been Sport or Limited, which is being replaced with the Titanium for ’15.

“We expect that to increase,” Goncalves says. “Seventeen percent of customers buying higher-trim series are coming out of premium brands, and we’re going to have a more=premium vehicle for them.”

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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