Ford Edge (16-) preview

  • Concept packed with technology...
  • but tech may not make final car

Pictured above is the Ford Edge concept, which previews a new large 4x4 production model to be launched in the UK in 2015.

There’s already an Edge model in the US but this is the first time Ford has introduced a model with the name in Europe.

It means Ford will have three off-roaders in its 2015 line-up: the small Ecosport, the mid-sized Kuga and the larger Edge. The company believes it’s a growing market, forecasting Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales in Europe to increase by 22 percent between 2013 and 2018.

Clever aerodynamics

It’s a blocky design, with dark-coloured sections at the base of the bumpers and sills to help the ground clearance look even higher than it is. Those enormous wheels are likely to be scaled down slightly by the time it reaches showrooms.

We’re not sure if the hand-stitched leather wrapping around the instrument panel will make it to production either, although the LED headlamps and tail-lights fitted to the concept may.

There’s no official word on the engine range, although Ford says its Ecoboost petrol engine will feature in the line-up.

So-called Active Grille Shutters aid fuel efficiency by blanking off parts of the grille to reduce aerodynamic drag when less cooling is required. There are also ‘air curtains’ which guide air away from the front of the car via ducts to help increase aerodynamic efficiency.

Autonomous driving technology

Technology fitted to the show car is likely to reach showrooms in one form or another, including a feature called ‘Fully Assisted Parking Aid.’

Existing Ford models such as the Focus are already available with ‘Active Park Assist’, which can steer the car into a parking space autonomously while the driver operates the pedals. The Edge concept features a prototype technology which takes over the car’s controls completely and can even be operated remotely, with the driver standing outside the car.

Ford envisages a future where its cars can squeeze into tighter spaces, with the driver hopping out before remotely instructing the car to park itself.

The Edge concept also previews further autonomous driving tech, including ‘Obstacle Avoidance’ which displays a warning if there is an obstacle (such as very slow-moving or stationary traffic) in the car’s path and, should the driver fail to act, not only automatically apply the brakes but also steer the car away from the object.

Ford says all of the above is another step towards completely self-driving cars in the near future.

We’ll have more information soon and we’ll be testing the car ahead of its launch for a full Ford Edge review in 2016.