Placing a small 4-cylinder engine inside a mid-size SUV might seem like a bad idea, especially for power-hungry American drivers. Yet, this is exactly what Ford has done with the 2012 Edge EcoBoost mid-size crossover.
Fortunately, this motor is an overachiever. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine features direct injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing, and a turbocharger that spools up to 16 psi of boost. Output is 240 hp at 5500 rpm and a healthy 270 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 rpm.
The end result of this unusual arrangement is a surprising level of real-world performance. The beefy torque response makes for effortless everyday driving, and the engine is impressively smooth and quiet. If you didn’t know it, you’d never guess there was a turbo four under the hood.
Stand on the gas and the torque is so prodigious that it overwhelmed the tires of our front-wheel drive test car. Keep it floored and acceleration is brisk, although not breathtakingly so, which is understandable given the Edge’s 4,000+ pound curb weight.
As the EcoBoost name implies, one of the main benefits of this engine should be increased efficiency. The EPA claims the Edge Ecoboost will hit 21 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, a nice increase over the 19/27 earned by the V6 powered Edge.
Unfortunately, during our test the fuel efficiency gauge languished around 22 mpg during mixed driving. Only on more extended freeway trips did we start to see anything close to 30 mpg, and it would take some serious hypermiling to achieve that mark. Although this is better than what a V6 powered Edge would achieve, we were hoping for even more payoff at the pump.
Luckily the Edge also represents itself well in other areas. In fact, this might be one of the more well-rounded SUVs on the market. Ride quality is excellent, the exterior is attractively styled, and the interior is well made. Interior room seems on the small side for a mid-size crossover, but the raked windshield and expansive dash makes for a spacious appearance.
One gripe we had with our test car is the Ford MyTouch infotainment system, which remains frustrating to work with. The MyTouch system even fell into a mysterious comma at one point, during which nothing worked, and then miraculously sprang back to life two days later.
The Edge EcoBoost does face a challenge when it comes to price. Ford is charging an extra $995 for the EcoBoost option, which given the modest fuel efficiency gains would take at least a year or two to pay back.
While the Edge Ecoboost starts at a fairly reasonable $28k for the FWD SE base model, our Limited trim test car rang in at close to $40k with options, and this is without AWD. Shoppers with that kind of coin can also afford a small luxury crossover, like the Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60, or a larger 7 passenger SUV like the Honda Pilot or even Ford’s own Explorer.
Ford is marketing the Edge EcoBoost as having the capability of an SUV with the efficiency of a family sedan. Although this is a stretch, the Edge EcoBoost is an intriguing alternative to more conventional cars and SUVs.