Only if they don’t mind being comfortable and looking good.
I’ve always been a car girl. Growing up, I spent many weekends watching as my dad and grandfather lay on their backs in the driveway beneath a variety of vehicles fixing brakes and replacing spark plugs. My grandfather sold cars for most of his adult life and as a young boy in the fifties, my dad could name every make and model of car on the road with a quick glance. As a result, I love being behind the wheel and have never had a problem jumping in the car and taking off on an adventure.
In that vein, I also love road trips. As a mom, I’ve hit the road several times on some fairly long distance drives solo with my three girls. Unlike getting on a plane, there’s something surreal about pulling out of the driveway at sunrise and finding yourselves someplace totally different by nightfall. Friends have reacted with everything from admiration to horror upon hearing about the lengthy drives I take with my kids and I’m always surprised to learn that not everyone enjoys spending long hours on the road as much as I do.
But I will say that having a great family road trip vehicle makes all the difference, and comfortable seats, a dynamic sound system, lots of cargo space, and, in this day and age, plenty of cool technology, practically guarantees smooth sailing. Most recently, my girls and I had the chance to check out the 2016 Ford Edge Titanium, which carries a price tag of about $36,600, on the long haul from our home near New York City to Orlando, Florida for the annual Traveling Mom writers’ retreat. In the nearly forty-hours we spent on the road, the Edge fully delivered with style, comfort, and efficiency.
The perfect family road trip vehicle
As a family of five, having a car with a third row is pretty much non-negotiable, especially on longer drives. We’ve taken far too many ski trips with the three girls squished uncomfortably in the back seat of my husband’s much-loved Subaru wagon—my van handles poorly in the snow—to make anything other than a minivan or larger SUV or crossover our family vehicle. But because my husband wasn’t able to join us on this trip, the Edge was ideal for the four of us.
The two rows of seating in the Edge were roomy and comfortable and offered plenty of interior storage space, which is always a plus. In this area, Ford leaves you wanting for nothing and the Edge features a small dashboard cubby, a spacious center console with a 12-volt power outlet, a small storage space between the two front seats that doubles as a media hub, extra space to stash stuff in the doors, and lots of cup holders. If I had to complain about something, it would be that the holders in the door weren’t wide enough to fit my Camelbak, but that would be splitting hairs. Finally, the Edge is equipped with heated and cooled seats in the front and heated seats in the back, a pleasure for most, though my girls decided to turn this into a game, secretly turning on each other’s seat heaters and laughing hysterically when the unsuspecting sister’s bottom started to get hot.
As any mom can tell you, it’s terrific when one of the kids is old enough to graduate to the front seat and that chauffeur feeling is replaced by the fun of having someone ride shotgun. With my oldest daughter in the passenger seat and the two younger ones in the back, we all had ample legroom. The girls in the back seat had space for their backpacks on the floor in front of them and were able to recline comfortably during the long trip. They also enjoyed the fold-down console between their two seats to hold their drinks and provide a surface for game playing.
Plenty of bling for the digital age
Given that we were looking at close to eighteen-hours of travel each way, I pulled out all the stops in terms of road trip entertainment. In the days leading up to the trip, a quick Internet search helped me find some creative road trip game ideas and travel-sized favorites like Trouble, highway bingo, and hangman. A visit to the library provided us with a bag full of books on CD, which was a treat since the CD player in my 2006 minivan had been broken for ages.
But beyond this tech-free fun, the Edge Titanium we tested came equipped with a technology package that featured all the bells and whistles of the modern age. In the front, a media hub just behind the gearshift offers two USB ports, an audio input jack, and an additional 12-volt outlet. There are more outlets in the second row along with a third 12-volt jack in the rear cargo area.
Not wanting to deplete our data plan by running our music apps, we had a great time trying out all the different channels on the Edge’s Sirius XM satellite radio—my favorite was Best of the Eighties, though we spent quite a bit of time listening to the Pop Hits Countdowns, and of course, RadioDisney helped get us excited for our time in Orlando.
Since I drive a car from the dinosaur age, long before Bluetooth technology was the norm, I loved being able to pair my smartphone using the Edge’s Ford Sync system. This was especially helpful during this solo mom-and-girls-only trip, since it made it a breeze to stay in touch with my husband from the road, keeping him updated on our whereabouts and safety.
The Bluetooth was also handy for playing our iTunes and Overdrive audiobooks through the car’s speakers, though we did struggle when we tried to pair my daughters’ devices along with mine—we were able to connect them with Ford Sync, but couldn’t figure out how to easily toggle between them. If we wanted to run iTunes from my middle daughter’s phone, it was impossible for me to use mine for making and receiving calls.
The Edge we drove wasn’t equipped with LCD screens or a DVD system (though it’s an option; screens are embedded in the back of front seat head rests). And though I’m not a huge fan of built in systems, when night fell and we were still a few hours away from our destination, my girls watched a movie on my laptop and we used a mini cable to run the sound through the high-quality Sony speakers via the auxiliary jack. Snuggled into the backseat with the surround sound, the girls had their very own theater on wheels and helped make those final hours pass more quickly. And when my laptop battery began threatening to die, a real, 110-volt power outlet in the backseat made plugging it in a breeze.
Safety meets style on a marathon road trip
The Edge Titanium’s technological capabilities certainly aren’t limited to the entertainment realm; there are a ton of other features—everything from second row inflatable safety belts, to a back up camera, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, and a front end 180-degree camera—that make your drive the safest possible.
The one that resonated the most for me was the driver alert system that causes a little orange coffee cup image to flash on the driver’s display panel when the system thinks you might need a rest. I was surprised by the number of times this image flashed throughout our trip—and it wasn’t because I was driving erratically due to being tired. All moms know that there’s a certain amount of multi-tasking that happens when we’re solo with our kids. The driver alert system made me aware of just how frequently, when reaching to hand something to one of my kids or fumbling for something in my bag, I veer slightly out of my own lane. It wasn’t coffee I needed—it was to keep both hands on the wheel. I appreciated having this important reminder and after the little coffee cup reared its head a few times more than was comfortable, I began relying on my older daughter to handle all requests for snacks, flip through the satellite radio stations, back up the audio book, or tweak the GPS.
I also liked having the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that caused a small light to flash on my sideview mirrors if there was someone approaching to my left or my right. I have a terrible blind spot in my car and have learned to triple check before changing lanes. The Edge made this much less stressful, especially while careening down I-95 for eighteen-hours.
All these super-fangled technological accoutrements are fantastic, but the Edge’s beautifully styled leather trimmed interior and sleek, shiny exterior are definite head turners. Pair that with the Titanium’s spectacular, panoramic Vista Roof available as an option, and you have an envy-inducing family road trip vehicle that you’ll be happy driving to the end’s of the earth and back.
What We Loved
- Spacious, comfortable interior with lots of legroom
- Ample cargo space—both in the cabin and in the rear
- Panoramic Vista Roof makes the Edge Titanium feel like driving a convertible
- Fabulous Ford Sync technology including seamless touch-screen LCD controls, several charging ports, and a superb entertainment system
- A smooth, quiet ride and high-quality safety technology
- Capless gas tank makes for no mess at the pump
- Memory setting on driver’s seat
- Keyless entry and start
What You Need to Know
- Analog speedometer isn’t as appealing as digital
- No USB charging ports in the second row
- Trip computer and other menu options take a bit of practice
- Uses regular gas
- Starting price, about $28,000; price of the model we drove, about $36,600