Ask Bark: Living On The Edge - But Which One?

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
ask bark living on the edge but which one

Michael writes:

For the past decade my daily driver has been a 2007 F-150, now sold. It’s time for something lighter and smaller to drive around the city in, not having enough need of a truck any longer to warrant keeping one. As an example of the drastic downsizing we were wanting to do, initially we’d ordered an Escape, believing it to be large enough to meet the need.

When that didn’t work out as planned, we revisited the decision and decided to order an Edge instead. The extra couple of inches in every dimension makes for a much more livable vehicle for two large people and a dog, without sacrificing much suburban city maneuverability. Neither of us liked driving the Explorer much, and we don’t need the interior space offered by the Flex. We’ve decided on a fully loaded AWD model with all the latest electronic gadgetry as this will be another decade long ownership experience.

So the problem isn’t so much what vehicle to buy, but what engine, as the Edge is available with three.

  1. Ecoboost 2.0-liter turbo — rated at 28 mpg highway (the vehicle’s primary use will be highway), so fuel economy is a definite plus. I’m old enough to remember when even V8s had
  2. 3.5-liter V6 — rated at 25 mpg highway, this option seems the conservative choice. On paper it doesn’t seem to offer anything over the four-cylinder, while offering worse fuel economy at 25 mpg. For those who absolutely can’t stand the thought of possible issues down the road with a turbo (not me, even with the planned decade ownership time frame) this seems an obvious choice. For me, I think I’d stick with the standard turbo four over needing a six-cylinder. Even a few MPG over a 100k-200k lifetime isn’t a large financial penalty over that time.
  3. Sport 2.7 Turbo Ecoboost — because budget isn’t an issue, this opens up the possibility of stepping up to the Sport model. The price jump to go to the sport over a loaded Titanium isn’t large, and you gain quite the engine to go with the unique trimmings. At 24 mpg, you get V6 fuel economy certainly, but I’m guessing with this powerful an engine you’d be able to drive it with a light foot (which I do have generally anyways) & keeping out of the turbo should net some nice mileage numbers.

So what say you? Modern four-cylinder economy with a turbo? Old school V6? Or the best of both worlds? With today’s engines it seems the old standby of buying the largest engine available in a given car isn’t necessarily the right answer. Or does that still hold true? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

Mike, it’s hard to dispute your logic behind getting the Edge. Ford’s done a nice job putting a quality model in each of the CUV/SUV segments (with the exception of the Expedition…and the Explorer…okay, the Flex and the Edge are nice). Luckily, I’ve had some experience with each of these motors, so I feel qualified to offer you some advice on this subject.

I have the 3.5-liter V6 in my own Flex, and it’s been a bulletproof engine. What it offers over the turbo four is reliability and zero turbo lag. Even in the Flex, which is about 500 pounds heavier than the Edge, the power has always felt more than sufficient, and I’ve never felt like it had insufficient power. The turbo four also greatly prefers 93 octane over 87, which negates your fuel economy advantage. If I were choosing just between the turbo four and the V6, I’d pick the sixer. No, the fuel economy isn’t great (I average about 21 mpg combined in the Flex), but it’s a proven motor that should last you as long as you own the car.

However, you’re not limited to those choices, and I think that you wrote to me asking for permission to go for the Sport model. Permission granted.

As you mentioned, the engine isn’t the only reason to step up to the Sport. I think you’ll find that the Sport model suspension is a vast improvement over the standard Edge suspension, and I personally find the styling of the Sport to be more visually pleasing, as well. The only negative that a practical person such as yourself might find with the Sport are the gigantic, ridiculous rims — 20-inchers is standard, and many of the Sports you’ll actually see in the wild are fitted with 21s and summer-only tires.

Since you’re wanting actual functionality from your Edge, I’d recommend that you go with the Sport on 20s. Yeah, it’s thirstier, and yeah, it likes 93 octane, too, but how can you say no to 350 lb-ft of torque? Go get the Edge that you actually want. Is it too late for me to trademark

Bark M. is a nice man. He likes answering your questions. Send them to him at, or find him on Twitter and Instagram.

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2 of 54 comments
  • Madman2k Madman2k on Sep 14, 2016

    I have the 2.7 in my truck. Works well in a pickup, never feels over-strained. I towed about 7400lb once, you can feel the weight for sure but not too bad. For an Edge, I don't think it's worth being forced to get the 20" wheels and black leather, unless you will tow a lot or drive at high altitudes, etc. I don't think a medium sized SUV is really suited for hot rodding or work where you'd notice the power difference. I vote for the NA V6.

  • 427Cobra 427Cobra on Sep 14, 2016

    As an owner of a 2013 Edge Limited, I'll give you my perspective. When I was shopping, I originally wanted a Sport model... but there were options I wanted that were not available on the Sport, so I went for the Limited. I drove both. I found the power differential between the 3.5L & 3.7L unnoticeable. Regarding ride quality, I find that the ride on the factory 20s is excellent... firm, but extremely comfortable. I was just concerned about tire replacement costs for the 22s on the Sport model. Mileage has been a disappointment for me. In-town, I average about 13-14 mpg. Now, a LOT of that has to do with my commute. It's only 3.5 miles, but it is all up and down hills, in the mountains north of L.A. Interesting that my '16 Ram 2500 crew cab 4x4 6.4L gets about the same mileage in-town. On the highway, the best I've ever done in the Edge was 26 mpg (24 mpg avg). I've found that the 3.5L in the Edge feels a little "sluggish"... for a couple of reasons. First, the Edge is HEAVY... it takes some torque to get all that mass moving... which the 3.5L doesn't exactly have an abundance of. Second would be the transmission programming & gearing. Now, I came out of a '04 Saturn Vue... which had the fabulous Honda-sourced 3.5L V6. That was a much lighter vehicle, but was extremely quick, felt light-on-its-feet, and would get 28 mpg all day long with the cruise set on 80. Yes, the interior was cheap & platicky... and the NVH was terrible... but it was one of the best vehicles I've ever had. The Edge has been a mixed-bag for me... very comfortable & very quiet... trouble-free... but there are some things I don't like about it. Rearward visibility is poor. Grab handles on the door panels are too far forward, with no secondary grip farther back. In tight quarters, you'll really test your forearms trying to open the door without banging into a car parked close by. My other gripe is just personal preference. My Edge is loaded... almost every bell & whistle... most of which I find to be more of a distraction than an assistance... The adaptive cruise has a knack of picking up the car in the next lane (when going around a curve on the freeway) & slams on the brakes... unnerving at times. This is all minor stuff... overall, I've been happy with it. I've never understood all the complaining over the MyFordTouch system. I've been extremely impressed with its capabilities. Yes, it's a little under-processored & laggy at times, but I've never had any issues with it. In the end, it's your decision... go with your gut.

  • David S. For a single quarter, only ninth best-selling (estimated?) of 2022. Maybe ICE vehicles would sell at a similar rate if the government paid people to buy them too?!
  • Dukeisduke I don't like how they've changed their nameplates and font from the Star Trek-ish LEXUS, to L E X U S, kinda like VW's lettering on the back of the T A O S, or those stick-on letters you can buy at the parts store that people use to their own names on the back of their cars.
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