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Walking on the Edge: Ford blings out 2011 Sport crossover with 22s, blacked-out grille

Wed, 14 Jul 2010

“Dude, that is sick,” a rival designer gushed to Ford's Doyle Letson when the 2011 Edge Sport was revealed at the Chicago auto show last winter.

“What does it look like with the real wheels on?”

Letson replied, “Those are the real wheels.”

The rollers in question are 22-inch forged aluminum wheels with tuxedo-black spoke accents wrapped in Pirelli tires. They look like they're stolen from a SEMA concept, and they're perhaps the single most distinguishing feature on the Sport model, which launches with the rest of the redone Edge lineup later this summer.

More than simply a trim package, the Sport has been reinforced this year with a host of striking styling cues and a standard 305-hp V6 engine to evolve into a true halo vehicle for the Edge. Inside are charcoal-black parts, silver metallic inserts and the innovative MyFord Touch feature, which takes Sync a step further and replaces traditional dashboard buttons with colorful LCD screens.

The color lineup is among Ford's snazziest, and Kona blue (think the Mustang hue), red candy, white platinum, tuxedo black and silver will be offered. The Sport starts at $36,995, including destination. The base Edge starts at $27,995.

But the Sport isn't simply window dressing. Ford designers made a conscious effort to focus on certain cues to make the crossover look and feel more athletic. The grille is blacked out, the headlights are smoked and there are body-colored front and rear fascia. The planted look is bolstered by the side-skirt rocker panels--which all amounts to a factory-installed body kit.

“We think it's a place where we can stretch a little bit,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager for Ford cars and crossovers. “Maybe we're not going to sell a ton of them, but that's OK.”

Still, look for the Sport to draw a considerable following and build cache for the brand among practical-minded enthusiasts. Analyst Erich Merkle compared the Edge to the redone Fusion Sport package, which offers a body-colored grille and other finishings to stand out from its more conventional siblings. It's also more practical to dress up an existing vehicle than attempt to make money off a true halo, like the Chevrolet SSR or the Plymouth Prowler.

Greg Migliore
Yes, those are 22-inch forged aluminum wheels, and they are one of the spotlight features on the 2011 Ford Edge Sport.

“It can compete in that sport segment without having to go and define a new vehicle,” said Merkle, president of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm Autoconomy.

Meanwhile, Ford also said the base V6, which makes 285 hp, will get an EPA-rated 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Sport will get 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

By Greg Migliore