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Following a model year where many changes were initiated, the Ford Edge midsize sport utility vehicle arrived mostly unchanged for 2012.

However, the folks at Ford did unveil one significant modification – the new “EcoBoost” turbo-charged engine, which was test-driven here for a week. It was a good test, too. Although a four-cylinder, this Edge actually delivered nicely on a ski trip to Lake Tahoe where the challenging mountainous terrain proved no major obstacle in regards to performance.

The performance was appreciated and so was the gas mileage, which is another solid selling point for the EcoBoost. It’s a peppy engine that features 240 horsepower and has the power of a V6. The EcoBoost also delivers admirable gas mileage at 21-30 mpg.

Ford says the EcoBoost has aerodynamic enhancements, which include shutters in the grille that automatically open and close for improved air flow, depending on one’s speed. One doesn’t have to understand the method, just the end result, which in this case left me with a surprising amount of gas following a 220-mile round trip to Tahoe.

Of course, this enhanced feature is no gift; it certainly hikes up the sticker price of the EcoBoost-equipped  model ($34,915). The entry-level Edge SE, one of four trim models, is a 3.5-liter, V6 with 285 horsepower that gets 21-27 mpg, and costs $27,770. The top-of-the line Edge Sport goes for just over $37,000 and is a 3.7-liter, V6 with 305 horsepower. Note that no Edge comes with third-row seating.

There are some nice qualities that are shared by all Edge models, including a comfortable ride, quiet cabin, appealing exterior, solid handling, towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, and the abundance of upscale features.

However, those same upscale features are frustrating when it comes to the automaker’s MyFord Touch system. This is one confusing front panel system that even the manual couldn’t really help simplify. The learning curve is big, so big that my wife and I basically gave up since we only had the Edge for a week.

The system is especially difficult for the driver to operate due to the touchscreen’s small black icons that were a lot less visible thanks to the black background. The hunt for everything from radio controls to heated seats was never ending. Even the control buttons on the steering wheel were somewhat perplexing. And who wants that? Not me.

Despite the frustration with the cabin controls, overall the Edge is a solid SUV. But part of the problem is even among its own company, the competition is sizable. The Ford Explorer is bigger and more luxurious than the Edge, while the Flex is a versatile SUV that’s more family-oriented thanks to its third-row seating.

Additional Edge competitors include the Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-9 and a few others.

There are issues that can be a nuisance, but the Edge still warrants a good look thanks to its performance, comfort, gas mileage, and overall appeal.

2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost

  • Performance: 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, 240 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 21-30 mpg
  • Price: $34,915
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000

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