Ford's new all-wheel drive disconnect system improves the Edge's traction and fuel economy.
We've seen advanced all-wheel drive systems with clever torque vectoring before, but the 2019 Edge SUV will be the first Ford that offers an AWD setup that can detect different driving conditions and seamlessly switch between full front-wheel and all-wheel drive accordingly. Ford calls this system all-wheel drive disconnect, which will come as standard for the performance-focused 2019 Edge ST and as an option for other 2019 Edges in the line-up. Obvious benefits of this system include improved traction and fuel economy.
Using artificial intelligence and information received from dozens of sensors, Ford says the system can detect wheel slip, traction control, if the windshield wipers are on, whether the Edge is towing a trailer, and the outside temperature.
"The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge," said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. "Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn't know it is happening."
Ford says an algorithm that uses "fuzzy logic" uses data to determine whether to engage all-wheel or front-wheel drive, which takes 10 milliseconds to detect. Up to 100 percent of the available power can be distributed from the front to the rear wheels depending on driving conditions detected by the system.
As well as improving traction and stability, Ford's all-wheel-drive disconnect also improves fuel economy. All-wheel-drive equipped Ford Edge cars deliver EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 21/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined. This is a slight improvement over the 2018 AWD Edge model, which is rated at 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined.
Front-wheel drive vehicles have EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined. With standard all-wheel drive and a 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, the Edge ST has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined.