Why have new homes become so unaffordable? It might be due to their massive size. The average new single-family home measures 2,422 square feet, 146 percent larger than the 1950s 983-square-foot home, according to the U.S. Census. Prices have grown as well, ballooning 4,111 percent even as incomes rose by a more modest 1,784 percent.
So, it’s little wonder that tiny houses have become a hot trend. Measuring less than 400 square feet, they are little larger than your average international shipping container — which they resemble. While prices vary widely, you can nab one for 10-20 percent of the cost of your average new home, provided you have some land to place it on. If you think that is something new, it’s not. “Tiny houses” are merely mobile homes for the middle class — single-wides with granite countertops and a haughty attitude.
It’s a brilliant, if deceptive, piece of marketing that too many are swallowing hook, line and sinker. But that’s what marketing does. It changes consumers’ perceptions so that they willingly pay 100 percent more for something that is merely 10 percent better.
Which brings me to the 2019 Ford Edge.
Offered in ascending SE, SEL, Titanium and high-performance ST trim, the 2019 Edge has been revised for 2019 with a new hood, grille and fascia; new wheels; improved liftgate design; reworked dual exhaust outlets; and updated LED lighting. Inside, a redesigned center console features a new rotary dial transmission shifter and optional wireless charging pad.
Most models of this front-wheel-drive midsize crossover exchange last year’s 3.5-liter V-6 for Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 250 horsepower, except for STs, which get a 335-hp 2.7-liter turbocharged four and sport suspension. A standard eight-speed automatic transmission replaces last year’s six-speed unit. All-wheel drive is optional.
Ford has also added a boatload of standard driver-assistance features. Dubbed Ford Co-Pilot360, it includes automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, rearview camera with lens washer, auto high-beam headlamps, post-impact braking and rain-sensing wipers. A Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ option adds adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist and evasive steering assist.
Technology is impressive as well. Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system features a Ford+Alexa app that can access Alexa from the car through a smartphone connection. A Wi-Fi hotspot can support 10 devices; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. It’s remarkably fuss-free; Sync 3 has become one of the easiest systems to use in any vehicle at any price. The optional 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system transforms the Edge into a mobile concert hall.
The Edge’s seats proved comfortable and the cabin proved roomy, a feeling enhanced by the massive panoramic sunroof. Cargo space is remarkably huge. The interior abounds in tasteful trim and soft touch surfaces that lends a modern upscale ambience that’s as fetching as Lincoln’s variant of the same model.
The enhancements are the perfect accompaniment to the Edge’s unexpectedly superior driving experience. Put the Edge to work tackling winding, twisting roads and you’ll find its handling to be taut and athletic. Steering is perfectly weighted for cornering, lightening up noticeably at low speeds for easier maneuvering. Yet the Edge’s athleticism never takes a toll on ride comfort; there’s just enough isolation to keep occupants content. The net result is a crossover with the handling chops of Germany’s finest, yet with the ride isolation you’d expect from the finest Lincoln. Its élan is striking.
And this brings us back to marketing.
Being such a ubiquitous presence, you wouldn’t expect to be impressed by a mainstream crossover. But the 2019 Ford Edge in Titanium trim explodes expectations by delivering a truly discriminating luxury car experience. Its tasteful, comfortable interior, flawless technology and expert balance of ride and handling renders it best in class.
I am sure that Ford would prefer you spend more on a Lincoln. Or you could pay even more and buy a foreign-branded crossover.
But you wouldn’t be getting a better vehicle. It would merely be more expensive, like a tiny house.