THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Ford Edge Limited crossover SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Though the Edge mostly is a carryover from 2008, the Limited edition I drove is new as is Ford's Sync, which integrates Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and iPods through voice recognition. Sitting on a unibody construction, the front-wheel-drive Edge boasts a graceful ride and firm handling.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces a respectable 265 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. It's mated to a splendid 6-speed automatic transmission. Up front is a MacPherson strut and L-shaped lower control arm suspension while the independent rear is equipped with a trailing blade, integrated knuckle and lateral links. Guiding the SUV through the curves and turns of the road is a reliable power rack-and-pinion steering system. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds if you need to haul your personal watercraft to the beach.
LOOK & FEEL: It's one muscular-appearing vehicle, thanks to a centered Ford insignia in the three-bar chrome grille surrounded by quad-beam headlights and an aggressively-raked windshield. As you step toward the rear, the huge 20-inch tires will grab your attention, as will the high-mounted spoiler and chromed dual exhaust tips. The plush leather seats get a two-toned color scheme. The contrast of red stitching on the shifter knob, four-spoke steering wheel and the seats give sporty vibes. Amid the brushed aluminum center stack are catchy 9-by-2-inch vertical air vents. Space is at a premium in the functional Edge, starting with a removable divider and tray in the gigantic center console, trunk and shifter area and in the doors. The front-passenger and rear seats fold flat, opening up room to haul an 8-foot piece of plywood.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control, antiskid system with rollover sensors, safety belt pretensioners and tire pressure monitoring system.
OUT THE DOOR: $30,320, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Choose the Panoramic Vista Roof option for $1,395. Also worth it is a $490 power liftgate to help while loading/unloading cargo.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P245/50R20; wheelbase, 111.2 inches; length, 185.7 inches; weight, 4,288 pounds; fuel capacity, 20 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 16 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Because of its sharp styling, powerful performance and utilitarian features, the Edge has lived up to its name by pushing other crossovers in the market aside. We expect the trend to continue until Ford redesigns the SUV down the road.