We dunnit again. Motofinity bought another car just to review it.
Actually, my wife and I replaced a higher-mileage Jeep Commander that suckled fuel pumps more forcefully than a starving newborn. It’s what you’d expect from a Hemi, but it was killing us.
We benefitted from incentives and the brain-bashing price war dealers and auto brands are locked in, and decided on a Mediterranean Blue 2011 Ford Edge SEL AWD. We were excited to finally have a safe, reliable SUV crossover to transport our young family around town, but the sweetness and light soon turned rocky…
Start with the good.
Something I love about Ford is its refresh/redesign cycles. Ford “refreshes” are lately far more comprehensive than the styling nip and tucks that used to happen, usually in concert with decontenting. For example, the 2010 Mustang was virtually all-new for that year, despite the fact that it rides on the same platform. New organs – in the way of the 3.7L V6 and the Coyote 5.0 introduced in 2011 – and new skin make for a new car, in my eyes.
The 2011 Edge shares this philosophy. A smoother, more sculpted fascia features a more prominent corporate “tri-bar” grille flanked by vertical LED strips and projector headlamps. The rear of the 2011 Edge is also more sculpted, and the old clear-lens taillights have thankfully been dropped. The jig is up when you look at the 2011 Edge from the side. The profile is virtually indistinguishable from the first generation. That said, Ford has created a well-executed styling update on a current vehicle without needing to reinvent the wheel to convey freshness.
Topping off the exterior is a well-received and very well-executed optional Panoramic Vista Roof. It’s pricey, but the views and natural light throughout the cabin make it a must-have. Splurge. It’s available on all Edge models, and it’s worth it.
Inside, the dashboard and center stack are more handsome than before, and made from better materials. Physical buttons give way to the 7” MyFordTouch LED touchscreen – more on that later – or touch-sensitive center stack controls for radio and climate. The lack of tactile feedback is weird, but humans are adaptable. You’ll get used to it. Except the damned hazard-lights button, which I keep setting off when trying to eject a disc. With the new dashboard, there’s not a whole lot of gadget storage, cause for concern until I found the nice little cubby beneath the center console.
The highly customizable gauge cluster – with 2 4.2” screens on either side of the analog speedometer – is wonky at times, but wildly gorgeous and useful at others.
MyFordTouch; segue to the not-so-good
There are two sides to every Schwartz, and with the good comes the not-so-good. MyFordTouch is standard on the Edge and is poised to become standard on all new FoMoCo models in the next several years. Many users – me included – complain of MFT’s response and lag after you press a button or command on the screen. If it were a smartphone, it would be acceptable, but this is a new paradigm for the automotive world. Over 100 years of buttons and levers in the car have spoiled us with their instant feedback and response. MFT is plagued by lag whether you are changing radio stations or trying to use the Sync voice recognition.
Other than a steep learning curve for voice commands, Sync is the bright spot in the otherwise dim reality of using MyFordTouch in the wild. Sync allows seamless connection of phone and MP3 devices, and you can tuck a wireless air card in the center console and turn your Edge into a rolling hotspot via USB. Slick.
While others might brandish a clenched fist, I have eventually come to find MFT tolerable. The screen is well laid out with 4 distinct quadrants for the phone, navigation/information, radio, and climate. I work with computers for a living, so laggy software is nothing new to me. When MFT works well, it is beautiful. Sometimes though, it seems more often than not, my wife or I are screaming obscenities to the dash. It’s like early iDrive in the sense that it’s ambitious and not quite there yet.
They’ll get there, and the beauty of the MyFordTouch system is that Ford is actively releasing patches for their software. With a little technical knowledge and a USB flash drive you can do the updates at home. The more complex updates can be performed at an authorized dealer. Again, slick.
The day after we purchased the Edge, I was entering the highway on a cloverleaf ramp, talking hands-free to my brother-in-law Jeremy via Sync. All of a sudden, a bang loud enough to alarm Jeremy on the other end of the phone shuddered through the vehicle. It felt like I’d hit a pothole, but I use this particular ramp every day on my way to work, and I was fairly certain there weren’t any potholes.
Pulling over to see what happened, I didn’t see any debris on the side of the road or damage to my vehicle. I got back in the Edge and circled my way back to the on-ramp to see if there was a pothole. As I suspected, it was as smooth as an Ohio road can be in mid-March. I did notice a hesitation when I’d press the gas pedal, so much that the engine would rev up before the car would move.
I took it to the dealership the next day and explained what happened. It was Saturday, so the service center was closed, but the Quick Lane oil service center on site was open. The Quick Lane manager drove it and didn’t notice anything. He checked for codes and came up with nothing. He advised me to bring it to the service center the following Monday.
They drove it for about a day before advising me that the whole rear end needed replacement. Apparently, the all-wheel drive system had a fault and it caused something to break in the rear axle housing. A week later, we had the Edge back, along with its sporadic hesitation. This is a dangerous problem to have. If we were to pull into traffic and try to get out of the way, it could potentially cause an accident.
I immediately took it back to the dealer, and through weeks of them driving it and us driving it with a “black-box” electronic data recorder, we came up with exactly nothing. It was frustrating, because we would take it to the dealer and it wouldn’t act up for them, but as soon as we got it home, it would hesitate. I even drove a mechanic around town for an hour, hoping it would act up with him in the car; no such luck.
By this time, it was mid-May and my wife and I had just from a weekend trip to Pittsburgh. The black box has made the 500 mile ride with us, though nothing happened. Back at home, it happened twice over the next couple days, and the black box snagged about a minute of recording each time. I immediately took it to the dealer to have it removed and analyzed.
The Service Manager called about a week later to say “Mr. Stearman, I have some good news.” “The last 2 recordings we got on the black-box were sent to Ford and they informed us that there was a Technical Service Bulletin released for this exact problem a week and a half ago. When can you bring it in?” (NOTE: Although the TSB had been released a week or two before, it hadn’t been applied to the individual VIN numbers yet.)
FORD: 2010-2011 Taurus; 2009-2011 Edge & Flex; 2011 Explorer
LINCOLN: 2010-2011 MKS; 2009 MKX; 2010-2011 MKT & MKX
The following week – now the first week in June – we finally had our Ford Edge back in working order.
<Sarcasm>That wasn’t so bad, now was it??!? </Sarcasm>
In all seriousness, the Ford Edge is a great car. I honestly don’t think that you can judge it based on the ordeal we experienced. I also can’t stress enough how easy it was to work with the dealer and Ford to get the issue resolved. No matter who I talked to – either at the dealer or a Ford employee – I was treated with respect and tact. I always felt like it was a priority for them to get the problem resolved and am genuinely impressed with their customer service.
We’ll keep you updated on our long-term experiences with the 2011 Ford Edge. So far, it’s delivering on its promise of family-friendly size, stylish exterior and high-tech cabin.