On our recent trip to Florida, we were upgraded from our requested car to a Ford Edge. This was nice, in that with 2 kids, carseats & a stroller, the extra room is always helpful, and that it is remarkably similar to our own car, a Toyota Highlander.
The 2 cars are more or less identical in size: the Edge’s wheelbase is 111.2″, the Highlander’s is 109.8″. In length/width, the Edge is 184.2″/76″, whereas the Highlander is 188.4″/75.2″. That being said, the Edge feels less roomy inside – at least the driver’s seat feels less roomy – I didn’t sit anywhere else.
The place where the Edge truly shines is the dash/nav system, which uses the Sync tech. The display was clear, easy to see at a glance, provided clear information was very easy to control both with on-steering-wheel controls, and also voice. If we had hooked it up to some sort of internet-capable device, I suspect it would have been even nicer. By contrast, the Highlander’s nav system (nb: we don’t have the new Toyota “entune” system in ours), is really pretty terrible – the voice controls are unusable, the display is so low-res as to be ugly, I can’t use it if I’m wearing sunglasses, and the audio controls are buried and hard to use. Despite how much better the Edge’s nav/dash system is, there was one clear problem: it seemed to get confused very easily if/as I switched audio sources from bluetooth to usb and back – it would list the wrong artist frequently and I’d lose the ability to control the audio from the steering wheel controls. The only fix I found was to turn off the audio, then reconnect.
This may be a minor thing, but the steering wheel itself was much nicer in the Edge. It is slightly thicker, and felt much more comfortable in my hands. I also found it easier to adjust the tilt/height to be exactly where I wanted it.
Otherwise the interior was reasonable. The other noticeable interior differences have to do with finish – but I’m not sure there’s a fair comparison because I’m assuming the rental version is the most basic, whereas ours is somewhat kitted out. But! overall, there seemed to be a lot less attention to detail in the Edge: the door pulls felt cheap/flimsy, the cargo mat didn’t sit flush ever, the seatbelt buttons didn’t press smoothly, etc.
The mileage on the Edge was decent – we drove about 500 miles & had to fill up once – and was about 1/2 empty before filling it again to return to the rental place – I had been expecting to fill that more often. Our Highlander is a hybrid, so not a terribly fair comparison, but the Edge’s listed mileage is better than that the non-hybrid Highlander’s listed mileage.
The cars’ handling is very different – whereas our Highlander is best described as “smooth”, the Edge is definitely not – it felt really jumpy at low speeds (starting from stop, for example) and again, at high speeds (80+ mph), felt really shuddery to drive. Both have kick when you need it, but with the Edge, you can feel it moving up and down gears, whereas with the Highlander, its a much smoother transition – I don’t know if the hybrid-electric engine plays a part in that.
Given that both cars have more or less the same starting price ($28K), I’ll take the Highlander over the Edge every time, but, much like my old Ford Focus, Ford continues to impress me – not enough to lure me back to buying an American car, but maybe in a few years.