What It Is: The next-generation Ford Edge, the brand's popular mid-size, two-row crossover. Here we can see a trio of Edges making their way around the outskirts of Detroit covered in heavy, shape-obscuring camouflage. Although it's hard to make out many details, the prototypes' size and chunky stance give them away as 2015 Edge test vehicles. One thing's for sure: The Edge will keep its signature three-bar grill, although the horizontal elements will be more three-dimensional. It's also clear that the 2015 Edge will retain its wide stance and relatively clipped overhangs, which should help it be just as attractive as the outgoing model.
Why It Matters: Believe it or not, Ford sells a surprising number of Edges. The neatly styled crossover butts heads with the overwrought Nissan Murano, the plain-Jane Toyota Highlander, and even its (soon-to-be-ex) platform-mate, Mazda's three-row CX-9, and it outsold all of them last year. But since being introduced for 2007, the Edge has seen only a mid-cycle face lift and the addition of Ford's turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder to the engine lineup. Given the crossover rides on outdated, previous-generation Fusion/Mazda 6 architecture, it's long overdue for a major update. Of course, the Edge's redesign also matters to anyone holding their breath for Lincoln's revival. Ford's luxury brand still isn't out of the woods, and this new Edge will again serve as the basis for the MKX, Lincoln's second-bestselling model next to the MKZ sedan.
The Edge also represents a serious effort to take advantage of the burgeoning global SUV market, so Ford will sell the Edge overseas. This task will likely be made easier through the use of the Fusion/Mondeo platform that's already on the road across the pond.
Platform: Here's where the next Edge will really get an edge, so to speak; we expect it will part ways with its old platform and move onto the current Fusion's underpinnings. Look for the Edge to keep its two-row seating arrangement, though-Ford will keep funneling buyers looking for a third row to the bigger, pricier Explorer.
Powertrain: We don't expect the next Edge to inherit all of the Fusion's engine choices-the sedan currently offers three four-cylinders-but don't be surprised if the current Edge's V-6 and turbo-four options carry over. We found the 240-hp, 2.0-liter EcoBoost four did an admirable (if not exciting) job of moving the current Edge about, and it should continue to be optional. As for the standard V-6, Ford likely will reinstall last year's 3.5-liter mill, which makes 285 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque and serves in a variety of large Fords from the Taurus to the Explorer. Keep your fingers crossed that Ford brings back the Edge Sport, which came exclusively with a 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6; the engine also dutifully powers the Edge's luxurious sibling, Lincoln's MKX. The transmission list should again be limited to a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive will again be optional.
Competition: Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey, Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The Edge mules seen here appear to be quite far along in the development process, which makes sense considering Ford is on the edge of revealing the redesigned model at the L.A. Auto Show in November. (You might even say we're on the edge of our seats. Ahem.) Don't expect to see pricing move much from the current $28,995 entry fee.