Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sis Done Good

We're in Michigan now to attend my uncle's funeral, and Sis decided to rent a car. Both of our vehicles are long in the tooth, and I have a difficult time fitting in her econobox. It can be done, but for four days of nothing but driving? I have no credit cards anymore and didn't have the cash - gonna have to pay her back for my share of this trip.

This is what she came up with.It's a 2013 Ford Edge Limited, AWD and a 3.5L V6. So far, it's been a blast to drive, and I actually fit in the little thang. Which is all a matter of perception - while Sis likes it, she feels it is just too large for her. Huh? But considering what she's been driving, one can understand it. I think she's a tad warped at me because she's only got to drive it when she came up from OKC to my place. I've hogged it ever since. I put the VIN info in on this page, and it only has three options - the ruby red paint, the 20" chrome clad wheels, and the daytime running lights. They are the fang like slashes in the "corners" of the bumper beneath the headlights. I think they look kewl. MSRP on this puppy is $39,050 - seems kinda pricey, but the F150s I've been perusing are easily over $40k and get into the $50k range in a hurry.

One of the standard items on the Platinum list are these mirrors - of course heated and powered, but I'm really digging the tiny spot mirrors. Been helping me out in heavy interstate traffic.

While it is AWD, and a SUV, it definitely tilts more towards the Sport side rather than the Utility side of things. When we were leaving our motel the other morning I chose to exit at a driveway that had not been cleared of snow - it had some ruts through there, and had refrozen. This little hot rod immediately let me know that the eight or ten inch depth was toooooo deep. I used my old small car trick of straddling the ruts to climb up on the snow and eased across. Apparently there was an extremely frozen chunk that the right front found, because I topped out the suspension with a WHAM. At about three or four mph. So, the ride is quite compliant on rough pavement yet firm - body roll or wallow is non existent. Just not much for any sort of off road excursions. There is no on center wandering, and just thinking about changing lanes has one headed off in that direction - the steering is quite quick off center.

That ruby red paint has been catching my eye - there is a high probability of a new F150 in my future, and if I have my way, it will be this color. It is an extra cost option, but I'm thinking I like it.

Pretty decent information center underneath the door ajar warning. Options include a tach with the speed displayed digitally, or an instant fuel monitor with miles remaining in the tank, and then some menu options for two trip meters and some other stuff. It runs off buttons on the left side of the steering wheel - fairly intuitive.

The entertainment and HVAC controls are all in the touch screen and have some redundant controls in the steering wheel to the right and some below the display - that big wheel is the only way you can tune the radio. All the other options just change presets. The HVAC is dual control - you can set the temp for each side separately. There is a reverse triggered camera with a built in proximity sensor - when in revers, the display shows what the rear facing camera is seeing with some virtual parallel lines that indicate where you'll end up - so you can see if anything is in your path. When I backed out of a motel parking space and started to close in on a snow bank, it let me know tout suite.

And you can see the cruise and the left dash menu buttons. One thing I do detest about Ford and their cruise control is that EVERY time you shut the vehicle off, you have to remember to toggle on the cruise control. You can hit the set button all you want, but it ain't turnin' on until you do. Which is a pain for me, because the ol Z71 and the Mighty Binder stay on until you turn it off, and I'm not used to turning on something that ought not be shut off, in my humble and irritated opinion.

We started the trip running about as far as we could with the fifty miles remaining in the tank warning coming up, but we ended up filling after we drove for about four hours and had some range left more often - about twelve gallons instead of seventeen or so. I've been driving 80 or 81 in the 75 zones, 75 or 76 in the 70 zones, 70/71 in the 65, and about 62 in the 55mph zones, and averaging just a hair under 21mpg on all but one stop, where the figure was more about 20.5. Not bad

The V6 is naturally aspirated and runs through a six speed auto. It drops a gear climbing about every hill, but it is really unobtrusive. When ya pull out to pass and ease into it, the auto will generally just drop one gear. However, if ya poke it in the butt (not flooring it), she'll drop two gears. I've never been a fan of the sound of a V6, and this one doesn't sound any better. When one pokes it in the butt, the washing machine gods become angry. She'll squirt right on down the road no problem, but the sound of an angry V6 just ain't the same as a V8. And I have resisted the urge to floor it, or to check out the top end. Back in the day, I would have this vital information filed away almost immediately, but drivers' license protection seems to be the order of the day now. RPMs are around 2100 or so in sixth, then up to 2500 or higher when it downshifts. It winds tighter than the V8s I'm used to.

And the cabin is tight. Crosswinds don't work their way through the door seals, nor does flexing over uneven surfaces cause any noise increases. Frankly, the structure does not seem to flex at all. I'm sure it does, but it's gonna require a more finely tuned butt than mine to detect. Stiff body, stiff suspension yet a fairly compliant ride. Potholes are a thump heard more than felt. I had to run on some slick roads, and the AWD gave me the feeling of security I get when the ol' Z71 is switched to auto on similar surfaces.

Those leather seats are pretty damn comfortable. Two days of long hours made me ready to get out, but it was more the confined space for too many hours than the seats - these are ten way power, and one thing I'm not used to is the up and down setting. The Z71 has eight way -that's the element that is missing in comparison. My leather is fairly slick, but this stuff is grippy. I'm liking the grippy.

The only thing other than the cruise that has harshed my mellow is the turn signals. They are supposed to be "smart" signals - just barely pushing them is supposed to make them run on their own for three cycles, then holding them down and releasing is supposed to make them stay on until you are finished turning. Not so much. If you don't hold these down, you have no turn signals. If you let off, the stalk returns to neutral and the signals quit. So, one has to manipulate the signals while turning the wheel in corners if one wants the signals to display and let everyone know your intentions. I suspect a new switch would fix that.

I don't think I'll be wanting to give up the ol' land yacht gas hog style of wheels any time real soon (which means I'll still be getting the F150), but if I had to, this would not register as a hardship to drive every day. I have no idea what the other cars in this segment are like - never been in 'em at all. But his little puppy has been a pleasant surprise and nails competency while being fairly fun to drive. It just does nearly everything well.


jed said...


Touchscreens have no place on a car for basic functions. I can tweak the heat control knob without taking my eyes off the road, for example. Touchscreens and menus -- you have to actually look at them to operate them. I already hate the touch-screen on my smartphone, which BTW for use as a phone is dumber than my dumb phone.

I suppose I'll be buying used cars from now on, because I'll just stay with knobs and sliders, TYVFM. I'm assuming that there are now, and will continue to be, economies in the production of touch-screen interfaces which will gradually cause the electro-mechanical interface to disappear. And this is a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Cool info from someone who drive all the time... maybe you ought to do this for a living!