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Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Ford Edge

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Our front-wheel-drive 2009 Ford Edge Limited test vehicle was powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 found in every Edge. This capable engine cranks out 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, and it's hooked to a six-speed automatic — the only available transmission. At our test track, the portly 4,312-pound Edge sped from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, a few paces behind segment luminaries like the Nissan Murano and Toyota Venza V6. The culprit here is the copious curb weight, up about 400 pounds on competing front-wheel-drive crossovers.

For the most part, the Edge's powertrain is solid. Shifts from the six-speed automatic are unobtrusive, yet kick-downs in passing situations are satisfyingly quick. The engine note won't rouse your inner Earnhardt, but it's refined enough for most tastes. In any case, the numbers don't tell the whole story: Flooring the front-drive Edge's accelerator from a stop produces tire-roasting wheelspin, even with traction control on, and the power doesn't really fall off until you've hit highway speeds. Fuel economy is a bit below average at an EPA-rated 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

Sedanlike handling is supposed to be one of the selling points of crossover SUVs, and here the Edge falters. Its steering is annoyingly light and vague, with lots of play on-center. Body control around corners is adequate — note that our tester had the optional sport suspension — but the Edge always feels large and unwieldy. In our slalom test, the Edge sauntered through the cones at a decidedly SUV-like 56.5 mph.

Braking is another trouble spot. Unlike past examples, this 2009 Ford Edge produced acceptable 60-mph-to-0 stopping distances in its first few runs, though 134 feet isn't anything to write home about. However, by the fifth stop we encountered significant brake fade, with stopping distances rising to 152 feet. Obviously, most people aren't going to do five panic stops in a row in real-world driving, but even here the Edge's brake pedal is characterized by excessive dead travel and a general sense that the brakes aren't quite up to the task