SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The second-generation Ford Edge comes with an all-new 2-liter engine, but it has the same highway and combined fuel-economy ratings as the 2-liter version of the outgoing Edge.
That’s unusual for a complete redesign, as automakers typically try to boost their ratings by at least 1 or 2 mpg to stay ahead of the competition and make progress toward federal fuel-economy requirements.
But Ford Motor Co. took a different tack with the Edge, which was already the top-selling midsize crossover on the market and among the most fuel-efficient. Ford instead focused on making the 2015 Edge more capable, comfortable and high-tech, saying its buyers want those improvements more than slightly better gas mileage.
The result is a slightly longer, taller, lighter vehicle that feels more nimble, can tow 3,500 pounds with its base four-cylinder engine, and gains 5.5 cubic feet in the passenger compartment. It helps drivers see around blind corners and can park itself in a variety of situations.
In that context, “you’re getting more capability but not losing the label” of 30 mpg in highway driving, said Louis Jamail, vehicle dynamics supervisor for the Edge, at a press event here. “We’re always trying to improve fuel economy, but in this case the customers told us they wanted the capability that it didn’t have before.”
The approach is similar to what Ford did with the aluminum-bodied F-150, emphasizing the additional toughness and capability more prominently than the modest improvement in its fuel-economy ratings. But it leaves open an opportunity for rivals to leapfrog the Edge in the coming years. The Honda Crosstour, a slow-selling Accord variant that Ford lists among the Edge’s competitors, already beats the new Edge by 1 mpg.
The added capabilities, a plusher ride and more upscale features could help draw a firmer line between the Edge and Ford’s other two-row crossover, the Escape, which is smaller and starts at about $5,100 less. Consumers who prioritize fuel economy can choose the Escape, which is rated 2 mpg better than the Edge. But Ford says that’s not among the top three factors for midsize crossover buyers.
“It’s important, but it doesn’t drive the decision,” said Cristina Aquino, consumer marketing manager for the Edge.