It’s one smooth operator, this 2012 Ford Edge.
Its handsome, sleek exterior and comfy, high-quality interior look and feel classy. Throw in excellent road manners and a well-honed drivetrain, and it’s easy to see why this midsize crossover is one of the most popular in the country.
New for 2012 is the addition of the optional, EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerplant. Ford is quite proud of this line of turbocharged, direct-injection engines, as well they should be. This little gem cranks out a generous 240 horsepower and a useful 270 pound-feet of torque, an output more expected of six cylinders than four. It propels the nearly 4,000-pound mass of the Edge quite readily.
It also manages exemplary fuel mileage — 21 city and 30 highway — on regular-grade gas, although the potential savings in fuel expenses are mitigated somewhat by the $995 surcharge over the standard V-6.
The six-speed automatic transmission goes about its business unobtrusively, but it does display a hesitancy to downshift when more power is sought quickly, such as in passing maneuvers.
Inside the Edge’s cabin are a pair of generously sized buckets up front and a nicely shaped second-row bench that can hold three passengers in relative comfort. They’ll be ensconced in a roomy cocoon carefully constructed of mostly high-grade plastics, much of it of the soft-touch variety, with accents of satin-finish metal and faux carbon fiber trim.
Our SEL-model tester was graced with nice leather upholstery with contrasting stitching adding visual interest.
The dashboard is chock-full of colorful digital displays, the only true gauge being a big speedometer. A large, center-mounted screen is the control center for the oft-maligned Sync system which bundles audio, climate, rear-camera view and navigation.
Even once acquainted with it, the Sync still requires too much time looking away from the road to handle simple functions such as turning on the front-seat heaters or dialing a new radio station.
The Edge eases down the road in near-silence, a function of well-placed insulation, careful attention to aerodynamics and a thicker windshield with acoustic laminated glass to dampen wind noise.
Ford’s suspension tuners have done an exemplary job of dialing in a European feel, balancing the Edge’s taut handling with a smooth, compliant highway ride.
Earlier versions of the Edge were criticized for long braking distances, but that problem seems to have been cured as our tester’s brakes delivered strong stopping power.
The marketplace is full of midsize crossovers, but Ford has managed to serve up one of the best through excellent packaging, thoughtful details and unexpectedly economical performance. No wonder it’s a success.