New Car Review of the 2007 Ford Edge SEL Compact Station Wagon.
What was tested? 2007 Ford Edge SEL Plus AWD ($30,720).
Price as tested: $30,720.
There's a glaring problem with most SUVs.
While they're perfect for crossing the Gobi Desert or scaling the continental divide, they're absolutely awful on pavement. Driving an SUV in the city is like having a pet penguin in Mexico or spending your spring break in Helsinki. It's simply not right.
Thankfully, car companies are discovering that buyers no longer want vehicles that can climb mountains and cross the Mississippi. We only want cars that look like they can do those things.
That's why the new Ford Edge is absolutely brilliant. While this vehicle looks sort of like an SUV, it's actually a station wagon that drives poetically and has room for five full-size people to ride in creamy comfort. It's an Explorer that lost its beer belly.
The Edge is a near clone of the Nissan Murano in many respects, starting with its curvy body. Someone must have climbed atop the mountain of automotive design and shouted, "SUVs no longer have to look like refrigerator boxes," because people haulers like the Edge are finally beginning to show some creativity in their styling.
It's cute, yes, with a roundness that makes you want to cuddle it like a Labrador puppy. But it's more than that.
It's also a little aggressive, with a big chrome grill that looks like it's made of polished guillotine blades.
It's handsome. Stunning. Attractive.
And even more amazing, it's a Ford.
Ford's products are increasingly being divided between the old and nasty -- like the Ranger and Mustang -- and the new and tasty, like the Fusion. And the Edge is among the yummiest of all.
Its strengths go beyond good looks. It also drives sublimely, with a much more refined feel than you'd expect from its $25,320 base price. It's quiet, smooth and even a little bit fun on the right roads.
Its suspension is its crowning achievement. Like a good piece of salmon, it's silky-smooth and firm at the same time, giving a good balance between softness and control.
The only downside is its six-speed automatic transmission. It's like Ford took Jeffrey Dahmer's sadistic mind and implanted it into the Edge's shift-controlling computers so they'll massacre your driving every chance they get.
Sometimes it chooses to shift like an Indy racer when you're wanting to drive it like a Rolls Royce luxury barge.
Other times, when you stomp on the gas pedal and pretend you're at the Brickyard, the transmission refuses to change gears until after it's finished its leisurely smoke break.
It's easy to forgive the wacko transmission, though, when you look at this wagon as a whole -- especially its interior.
The Edge is a great example of how much better Ford is making its interiors than it did a few years ago. There are no squeaks or rattles, no Barbie Doll plastic trim. It's actually nice inside, even pleasant to touch.
It's practical, too. I folded down the back seats and used it to haul eight-foot-long pieces of lumber. It has a big cargo space even when the seats are in place, and there's an enormous amount of head and leg room wherever you choose to sit.
Forget Ford's new leadership and corporate turnaround plans. If the company is ever going to make a profit again, it'll only be because of vehicles like this one.
Pros: It's an outstanding vehicle in many respects. It looks great, drives like a dream, is very practical and isn't too expensive.
Cons: It has a spastic six-speed automatic transmission.