Newer technology can sometimes feel forced. Sometimes it can even feel unnecessary. Today new vehicles are getting all their analog gauges replaced with screens. Those screens are getting bigger and bigger each year. The cars sometimes feel not built to the same standard as old, not made to last. The metals are lighter and weaker, and the cabs are filled with more and more plastic pieces. Even at times, the country where the vehicle is manufactured can raise questions. In America, people always say that being made in the U.S.A. makes it the best product you can buy.

Today, Ford manufactures most of its vehicles in North America, with plants in Mexico and Canada. However, many plants are U.S. based. Still, the biggest number of plants outside the country are located in China. The Blue Oval has plants everywhere to manufacture for its markets, truly a worldwide brand. As such, they've developed a vehicle that makes us envious, because it happens to be one not available in the United States. It serves as proof that no matter where something's origins lie, it shouldn't be quickly dismissed.

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At The Edge Of Loyalty

Many car people are brand people, and they like what they like to the ends of the earth. It doesn't matter what it is or how bad it may be, they'll continue to follow it, invest in it, and use it. To convince such a person to make a switch, can be elusive, difficult, and complicated. So then asking an American to up and move to China could be difficult, but the Ford Edge L makes a case. At the very least, it creates pensive processes and begs to be considered for a ferry across the pond.

As Americans, one could say we care more about how our car looks than how it performs. The Ford Edge L has some good looks. It features a sporty grille, with a popular lighting split lamp look. The DRLs are above the driving lamps, but they are integrated into a clean look.

The front fascia has vent cutouts in the lower corners that tie into a lower diffuser, providing a sporty look, if not functional use. This is all wrapped up in a sleek four-door body. Dark front and rear taillights add a neat touch, coupled with a black-outed roof. The Edge L has a fin in the bodywork by the C-pillar, with an "L" emblem, denoting the new model.

The interior is three-row, with the first two featuring bucket seats. There's a large infotainment screen, stretching across the center of the dash, set over a near equally long climate control venting system with copper accents to match the standard seats. The Ford Edge L features two EcoBoost options: an E-Hybrid producing 271 horsepower, and a gas-only engine making 248.

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The American Edge is Dull

Silver 2023 Ford Edge ST
A dynamic shot of a Ford Edge driving 

The Ford Edge is ending production soon in the U.S., but the Edge L for the China market is such a tease. The American version has been around since 2007, with the second generation beginning in 2015, but only receiving a facelift in 2019. The Ford Edge L breathes a fresh look, to go along with new technology, which makes one wonder why this version may not make it to the United States.

The body is dominated by horizontal lines, a wide grille, and model-appropriate L-shaped LED headlights. The blacked-out roof provides a trendy look. It stretches 196.9 inches, about a full eight inches longer than the U.S.-based version, and only a couple of inches shorter than the Explorer.

The gas-only version is a turbo 2.0-liter inline-four, putting out 248 horsepower and 279 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid variant produces 271 horsepower and 299 pound-feet of torque, and Ford claims that'll net 37mpg. The vehicle is all-wheel-drive and seats seven in the three-row cabin.

Ford Edge L interior
Ford China
A shot of the cabin of the Ford Edge three-row mid-size SUV sold in China

Inside, the digital instrument cluster is 12.3 inches. What's more, the aforementioned touchscreen which spans the majority of the dash, is 27 inches! Expect such a feature to crossover into the U.S.-based vehicles, even if the Ford Edge L does not. The vehicle also features a Heads-Up Display, as well as ambient lighting. Going on sale this spring in China, if the vehicle made landfall in America, it would bridge the gap between the Escape and Explorer.

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Ford Explorer: Not Bad But Not Great

Ford Explorer Timberline On a Country Road
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline On a Country Road With Plenty Of Sunlight

The Ford Explorer is rated 7.5/10, a solid C grade, but it's not a bad-looking vehicle in the off-road-orientated Timberline trim. Currently, there are six trims, ranging from just over $38,000 to over $51,000. Several different powertrain options exist to move the vehicle. It starts with a 300 horsepower 2.3 turbo four-cylinder, that takes the Explorer from zero to sixty in six seconds.

This is followed by a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged V-6 making 400 horsepower. Lastly, there is a 3.3-liter hybrid V-6, that puts out a combined 318 ponies. Rear-wheel drive hybrid models get 27mpg in city, and 28mpg on the highway, but adding AWD drops it to 23mpg city. Properly equipped, the Explorer can tow up to 5,600 pounds. One can see that the Explorer has a good amount of options and performance capabilities.

However, the main problem with the Explorer is it has a lot of competition in the mid-size SUV market, with offerings that are more premium and refined. This includes the top Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and Jeep Grand Cherokee L. In fact, Car and Driver ranked the Explorer behind the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and Mazda CX-90. What's worse, the Explorer doesn't come in sixth or even seventh place, but rather 9th!

Another issue with the Explorer is that its interior is very uninspiring. The cabin is functional and comfortable, but only for those in the first two rows, as the third row places the floor too close to the floor for older kids and adults. There's an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen standard and a 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen option, but that requires one of the most expensive trim upgrades.

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China's Edge L Is Sharp

This all pales in comparison to the Ford Edge L. The most talked about facet of the Edge L is the new looks it brings to the table. It blows away the American variant by comparison in that regard, and as a newer design, outshines the Explorer as well. The Explorer does not suffer from as much of a staleness as the American Edge, which is why the former is still around and the latter finds itself getting shown the door, but it's still needing more of an update.

The infotainment and interior design, with larger screens and a more serviceable third row, is a league beyond the current Explorer. All in all, this makes the Ford Edge L very desirable. Given that it is nearly as long as the Explorer, it not only bridges the gap but nearly closes it. Combining an all-new great looking style with a technologically advanced package, one with more efficiency to boot, makes the Ford Edge L worthy of making the long-running Explorer obsolete.