With a dizzying array of trims and packages, picking the right one on rental lots will give you an edge over vehicles in its class (no pun intended).
Car Class: Standard SUV/SFAR
Availability: All major rental car agencies
Alternatives: Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Nissan Murano
|Drive off||Walk away|
|Spacious passenger and cargo space||Fuel economy (in V6 equipped models)|
|Quiet cabin||Lack of smartphone connectivity|
|Comfortable ride||Front visibility|
As the middle child in Ford’s ever expanding crossover lineup, the Edge is a midsize 5-passenger crossover based on the Fusion platform. First introduced in 2007, the Edge has since been through a redo in 2014 that brought it in line with the current corporate design language. With a significant refresh due in 2019, should you avoid the outgoing models on the rental lot or is it still competitive with the rest of the entries in the crowded standard SUV class? Read on as we take an in-depth look at the 2018 Ford Edge SEL AWD.
All Edges except for the Sport trim are powered by a standard 2.0L Ecoboost turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Optional and equipped in our rental is a 3.5L V6 carried over from the previous generation. With a total of 280 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, acceleration is decent and power delivery is linear. For drivers looking for more oomph, the Edge is also available in the Sport trim, which brings a 2.7L Ecoboost turbocharged V6 making 315 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Until the 2019 models arrive, all Edges, regardless of engine are mated to a tried-and-tested 6-speed automatic transmission. While smooth in its operation, the transmission is down a cog or two compared to many rivals and it shows in the fuel economy ratings. Over our time with the Edge, we managed a paltry 13.2L/100km, which is worse that the much taller and heavier Grand Cherokee we drove last month.
Standard on the SEL trim, the 18-inch wheels and high profile tires on our rental works well together to create a well-balanced ride that remains composed over larger bumps. 19 and 20-inch wheels are available on higher Titanium and Sport trim and we predict that they will have a noticeable impact on the ride. Regardless of trim, all Edges benefit from an interior that is silent as a tomb. Engine noise is hushed under most applications and we barely notice any road or wind noise at speeds up to the legal limit. This is the certainly the type of vehicle that you would want for a long highway drive.
Thanks to the tall ride height, drivers can enjoy an expansive view of the road ahead and around them. However, the thick A-pillars and the way they widen at the base do create blindspots that can hide pedestrians or cyclists during turns. Around back, the sizeable glass areas affords decent visibility when backing up and is further aided by the standard back up camera and rear parking sensors in our trim. It’s a pity however, that the camera images are projected on a tiny 4.2-inch screen.
Comfort and Convenience
As the second lowest trim level, our Edge SEL does not have any options and comes equipped with standard features including a 4.2-inch infotainment display with 1 USB port, dual zone automatic climate control, proximity key with push-button start and heated cloth 10-way power adjustable driver seat (6-way for the front passenger). Unfortunately, active safety features such as autonomous emergency braking are only available as packages on top end trims. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are also only available as options on SEL trims and above. Given the proven effectiveness of these systems in avoiding and reducing the severity of accidents, we think they should be standard on all trims. Fortunately, all 2019 Edges will come standard with Ford’s latest CoPilot 360, which includes all of the latest in active safety with the exception of adaptive cruise control, which remains an option on most trims
While other interior colour combinations are available, our Edge is dressed in a black on black on black scheme. Stepping inside, we cant help but notice how monotonous everything looks. That said, the materials used are competitive with the rest of its class. Soft touch materials are liberally applied on the main dash and door panels and armrest while hard touch plastics are used for the lower parts of the cabin. We just wish there was more contrasting trim pieces to break up the different types of black. Standard on the SEL, the cloth seats are surprisingly comfortable and have received compliments from several of our passengers. Granted, leather upholstery would add a dash of luxury, but we are quite happy with the seats as they are and the 10-way adjustments also help with finding a comfortable driving position.
As standard, the Edge SEL is equipped with front heated seats. Available on higher trims and in certain packages are ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. We do strongly recommend looking for an Edge with a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats during the winter and summer months respectively. They will definitely provide a much needed boost to driving comfort
Ease of Use
Unfortunately for us, our Edge was not equipped with Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system. Instead, we are stuck with a tiny 4.2-inch display flanked by a multitude of buttons. Without Android Auto or Apple Carplay, we are relegated to pairing our phone and streaming music via Bluetooth. With 4 contextual buttons and D-pad, we took way longer than expected to understand the system’s logic and pair our phones. Thankfully, a volume and tuning knob are within easy reach, sometime that cannot be said for many other vehicles in its class. For renters venturing into uncharted territory, we suggest avoiding Edges with our setup as it does not come equipped with any form of in-car navigation. Look instead for Edges with a bigger 8-inch infotainment display. Adding injury to insult, our Edge only comes with 1 USB port, which made keeping our devices charged an issue. We can only imagine what can happen when the kids’ iPads and iPhones run out of juice on a long road trip. One word of advice, bring a USB adapter.
Unlike vehicles equipped with Sync 3, the gauge cluster of our Edge only came with a single LCD screen instead of the dual screens on higher trims. That, we found the simplicity a welcome departure from the complicated gauge displays in other vehicles. We found ourselves more focused on the road instead of the fiddling with the different menus and fancy graphics. Navigating around the limited options is also really intuitive through the D-pad on the steering wheel. For renters that prefer a traditional gear shift, enjoy while it last as all 2019 Edges will adopt a rotary shifter. We have experienced it in the Fusion and found it less intuitive than the current PRDNS shifter in the outgoing models.
Being one of the larger mid size SUVs on the market, the Edge boasts a spacious cabin with plenty of room to stretch out in both rows. With a 6 ft driver up front, taller passengers will have no problem sitting comfortably in the second row. While our rental is not equipped with the gigantic panoramic roof, we do not anticipate headroom to be an issue in models with that feature given the non-sloping roofline and generous headroom as is. Fitting 3 adults abreast in the second row is also a relatively simple affair thanks to the almost flat floor and wide cabin. For more comfort, the rear can also be reclined.
Opening the manual liftgate (powered on higher trims) will reveal a cavernous cubic feet of space that be further expanded by folding the rear seats using conveniently located buttons in the cargo area. With cubic feet of total cargo area, the Edge does fall behind 3-row crossovers like Ford’s own Explorer but for many families without the need for a third, the Edge provides more than enough cargo space for all their luggage needs
Having been on the market for a decade, the Edge has proven to be popular with buyers and renters alike with its right blend of the practicality of an SUV and the driving experience of a sedan. While the Edge remains a competitive all-rounder in the standard SUV space, we have seen entries that have more seats (Kia Sorento),are more luxurious (Nissan Murano) and more capable off-road (Jeep Grand Cherokee). With a refresh around the corner, we are excited to see what Ford brings to the table that gives the Edge an edge over the competition. That said, if you are set on renting one today, we strongly advise that you avoid the SEL trim and instead go for a Titanium or Sport trim. If none is available, it would be wise to consider other options in its class.
Avis/Budget: All Edges in the Avis/Budget fleet are of the SEL trim level optioned with a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, navigation and Sync 3 infotainment systems. While not the the best equipped, it does have the essentials renters are looking for in this class of vehicles.
Enterprise/National/Alamo: Interestingly, Enterprise/National/Alamo have Edges in a myriad of trim levels ranging from the lowly SEL trim (like our rental) to the top of the line Sport trim with all the options. Needless to say, renters should, if possible get into one of the higher trims. Spotting a Titanium or Sport trim shouldn’t be too difficult, just look for tell-tale features such as a panoramic roof and larger 20-inch wheels.
Hertz/Dollar/Thrifty: Oddly enough, we have yet seen any Ford products in the Hertz’s Canadian fleet.