By Robert Nichols
I was handed the keys to a 2016 Ford Edge Sport AWD the same week Ontario was breaking February’s warmest day record. Given the frankly gorgeous weather and the Sport badge on the CUV I had little choice but to take advantage of the clear roads and enjoy some lively driving. All in the name of research mind you. So how did the Edge Sport AWD stack up?
Well first we need to understand where the Edge sits in the market. It is too large to truly be called a compact and as it only seats five it can’t really be classified as a mid-size. The Edge fills a unique niche in the automotive landscape that of a compact mid-size CUV, with a little dash of sportiness to keep things interesting.
In 2015 Ford revealed the second generation Edge built upon the same global platform found in the Fusion sedan. The new platform is complemented by an all new body structure and suspension that have made the Edge edgier in terms of ride and handling. Also new is the much bolder and more athletic design, especially in the Sport model. As part of the redesign the entire body was remolded. Subtle cues like the crease that runs along the belt-line, the wrap around rear lighting and sculpted sides all serve to give the Edge a sleeker, more agile figure. Even the view across the chiselled hood from inside gives the impression of sportiness. Not much of anything was changed externally for 2016. My test vehicle was painted Spice, a colour that grabs your attention immediately. Being the Sport model the bold paint choice was enhanced by a blacked-out grille, HID headlights, LED rear lighting and 21” painted aluminum rims (a $950 extra). 20” aluminum rims are standard on the Sport model.
Inside the latest Edge has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Everywhere you look you will see quality finishes and soft touch materials. The seating is comfortable for all and there is ample leg and headroom throughout. In my tester the seats are trimmed in leather and have suede inserts that look fantastic. The front seats can be heated or cooled and the rear seats can be heated, which is appreciated by all on chilly winter days.
The control layout is spot on, everything is within easy reach and the placement of controls is logical. I really liked having an actual knob for the volume control and the 12 speaker Sony system produces great sound. Ford uses the sound system to emit a sound that effectively cancels out the engine noise altogether. This irked me just a bit in the Sport model because the 2.7L twin-scroll engine makes a nice noise and I would have liked to hear more of it.
Perhaps the biggest leap forward for the Edge, indeed all Ford products, is the latest SYNC system. Some have argued that it is a bit time consuming having to navigate a maze of sub-menus, but personally I think it works great. The controls you use while driving are easy to find. The reconfigurable gauge cluster is simple to operate and provides the driver with every conceivable piece of information they actually need, and some they do not. The center control touchscreen is a good size and responds immediately to your every command. The voice control system works very well and controls your phone, navigation and entertainment. What else could you ask for?
Storage space is more than generous. Behind the rear seats the cargo area will hold 1,110L and with the rear seats folded an impressive 2,078L of space becomes available. There is a handy compartment on top of the dash, a large central armrest compartment and a pass through below the center console that is admittedly hard to access while seated. The power operated rear hatch can be opened via the key fob or by shaking a leg under the bumper; add to that the power folding rear seats and the Edge proves itself to be a rather capable and easy to load tool.
Under the hood
As mentioned the Edge Sport use a 2.7L V6 Ecoboost engine. The output is impressive at 315 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. Power comes early at 2,750 rpm thanks to the twin-scroll turbocharger and keeps coming smoothly all the way to the redline. All trim levels use a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters. This engine is a real treat, it makes a nice noise, muffled it may be, delivers ample power and shifts smoothly under most circumstances. It is definitely worthy of the Sport badge.
For 2016 the Sport comes only with AWD and the 2.7L V6. All other trim levels have the option of FWD or AWD and other engines. Carried over from the first generation is the naturally aspirated 3.5L V6. This engine comes available at the SEL trim level as an option, and puts out 280 hp and 250 lb.ft of torque. The base engine is the 2.0L EcoBoost 4 cylinder that delivers 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. This engine can be selected in all but the Sport model.
On the road
I had some unseasonable conditions during my week and was able to take advantage of the balanced ride. The Sport model is the only trim level that offers a sport tuned suspension. The ride is firm without being rough. Corners are taken without worry, even at exciting paces. And that’s the odd thing; I was expecting the Sport title to be little more than a badge and harsh suspension. But it was so much more. It delivers a comfortable commute; even on the worst city roads. Potholes are barely noticed and occupants are not bashed about. But when things get faster and the road gets twisty the Edge Sport eagerly encourages you to push just a little harder. It is genuinely fun to drive.
Of course there are numerous technologies that play a huge role in the fun drive demeanor. The Edge is not a light weight. Weighing in at 1,849 kg it literally weighs a tonne. In spite of this it doesn’t feel heavy, rather it feels almost nimble. This is a direct result of the optional variable steering, roll stability control, curve control, torque vectoring, traction control and the intelligent AWD.
Ford has also offered a great selection of safety and driving aids, giving Canadian consumers exactly what they want. The Edge I was given had the optional 401A equipment group that added $4,500 to the total price. For your money you will gain blind spot monitoring, HID headlights, lane departure warning, active front steering, split-view front camera and several other extras. For an additional $1,500 you can select adaptive cruise control and collision warning. According to Safecar.gov the 2016 Edge scored 5 out of 5 for both front and side crashes and 4 out of 5 for a rollover. Both FWD and AWD models scored equally and rated 5 out of 5 in overall safety performance with all the safety technologies selected.
The official fuel economy figures for the Edge Sport are 13.6 L/100 km city, 9.8 L/100 km highway and 11.9 L/100 km combined. During my time I struggled to do any better than a combined 13.7 L/100 km, but I tend to have a heavy right foot.
The other engines rate as follows:
The 2.0L EcoBoost FWD – 11.5 L/100 km city, 7.8 L/100 km highway and a combined consumption of 9.8 L/100 km.
AWD – 11.8 L/100 km city, 8.4 L/100 km highway and a combined consumption of 10.3 L/100 km.
The 3.5L V6 FWD – 13.2 L/100 km city, 9.0 L/100 km highway and a combined consumption of 11.3 L/100 km.
AWD – 13.7 L/100 km city, 9.6 L/100 km highway and a combined consumption of 11.9 L/100 km.
The 2016 Ford Edge Sport will impress with ample power and the sporty handling. It delivers great cargo space and will comfortably seat 4 adults. The abundance of technology will meet the needs of any tech nut and the new styling will catch the eye of on lookers. For those who want a CUV that is a bit out of the ordinary and delivers a fun to drive spirit, the Edge Sport is certainly worth a closer look.
Base Model Price: $31,049
As Tested Price: $56,839
- Comfortable seating and roomy interior
- Ride and handling are well balanced
- Abundance of available safety technology
- Powerful engine
- Pricey when fully loaded
- Engine makes a great noise but it is too muffled
- Less than expected fuel economy
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