DEARBORN, MI – Ford takes the wraps off the all-new ’15 Edge midsize CUV, a product the automaker has high hopes for given the segment’s growing popularity.

“Almost universally, people in every market in the world are in love with the two-box silhouette (of CUVs),” Jim Farley, executive vice president-Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, says at a media event here. “In their eyes it means leaving the ordinary life for a dream use of the product. It means adventure and freedom, even a sense of optimism.”

Based on Ford’s global CD4 platform, which also underpins the Fusion midsize sedan, the new Edge is scheduled to go on sale in North America in first-quarter 2015, with sales following in Europe, South America and Asia-Pacific markets, including China. 

Farley does not disclose volume expectations, but says the Edge has sold well despite increasing segment competition.

Last year, U.S. Edge sales were up 1.0% to 129,109 units, according to WardsAuto data. Through May, deliveries were off 7.2% to 51,368.

Midsize CUV customers are so passionate about their vehicles they are willing to pay more for their vehicle in relation to their income than customers in any other segment, Farley says.

“The Edge buyer will spend nearly 40% of their annual income on the purchase price; the Fusion is 10 points lower,” he says. “So people have emotional craving for these vehicles.”

In Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Edge will compete with luxury vehicles, especially in the top-level Titanium trim, Farley says, noting no decision has been made whether or not to offer the CUV as a Vignale edition, a near-luxury trim level the automaker recently launched overseas.

In North America, the ’15 Edge will be offered with a standard 2.0L twin-scroll turbo EcoBoost 4-cyl. engine or a 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, both of which are new powerplants. The 3.5L normally aspirated V-6 carryover engine also will be available.

In Europe, the vehicle will come with right-hand-drive in some countries and be sold exclusively with a 2.0L diesel mill, the automaker says.

The twin-scroll 2.0L EcoBoost is expected to produce 245 hp and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque, and when paired with all-wheel drive will have a tow rating of 3,500 lbs. (1,587 kg). Ford’s stop-start system will be optional with the 2.0L engine.

The automaker has yet to release horsepower and torque ratings for the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, but says the engine will produce power comparable to a midrange V-8. It uses the same compacted graphite iron in its cylinder block as the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel, which Ford says allows for a remarkably stiff and compact design.

All engines will be mated to the carryover 6-speed automatic transmission, which now comes standard with paddle shifters.

The exterior gets sleeker sheetmetal with more pronounced character lines and a modified version of Ford’s new global front fascia, which first debuted on the Fusion.

“It’s Edge the runner, rather than Edge the boxer,” says Moray Callum, Ford’s global design chief. “It’s a sleeker design with better aerodynamics.”

Inside the Edge gets an upgrade over the outgoing model, with more attention paid to small details, such as rethinking how the front doors meet the instrument panel.

Legroom in the first and second rows isincreased 1.9 ins. (4.8 cm) and 1.0 in. (2.5 cm), respectively, while headroom grows 1.0 in.

The new Edge comes with a bevy of technology offerings, which Farley says are important to the target customer. Those features include a 180-degree front camera with a washer to ensure the lens remains clean, as well as adaptive steering technology, which makes the vehicle easier to maneuver at low and high speeds.

“People want and will pay more for the premium attributes, technology and great design that Edge offers,” Farley says. “Edge is a personal product. People buy it for them, not the family. It’s very much like the CD-coupe segment of the past.”

bpope@wardsauto.com