A blunt front end reminds you of Ford’s truck line and keeps the Edge from looking like a minivan. The rounded rear rescues it from being strictly utilitarian.

And maybe it’s not going any further off-road than the grass alongside Junior’s soccer game, but the Edge is no wimp. One-ton, Class-I towing capacity is standard. Acceleration from the 3.5-liter, 60° V6 is more than adequate with a peak horsepower of 265 at 6,250 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Variable intake cam timing and sequential electronic fuel injection should translate into lower emissions and better fuel economy. The vehicle meets current Low Vehicle Emissions (LEV II) standards and is EPA-rated at 24 mpg (highway). In-town mileage estimates of 16 mpg put it just on the gas-guzzling side of average for its class. The ratings held true for us: We managed 22.5mpg while driving over 400miles, 75% of which were highway.

The Edge holds the road well, too. Our tester, a new-for-2008 Limited edition, had wide-set 18-in. wheels (17 in. for the base model). Those, combined with a front suspension featuring Macpherson struts and L-shaped lower control arms, made even sudden lane changes feel smooth. In the back, Ford’s trailing-blade independent suspension decouples shocks and springs for a low-suspension profile and more cargo room.

Inside, front seats are heated and power adjustable in six directions, while the single row of back seats reclines slightly. With a Vista roof, 40% of the ceiling is transparent to the sky above. Over 800 in.2 of the window area is retractable.

Seeing the clouds is nice, but not at the expense of seeing what’s behind you. Poor sight lines out the back window made us grateful for reverse sensors on the Limited. The warning, which is optional for other trims, beeps with escalating frequency as you back toward obstacles.

Back seats fold mostly flat for 69ft3 of space. The EasyFold rear seats lets seatbacks collapse forward in a 60-40 split with the push of a button. When you want to fold the seats up again, you’ll need both hands, and possibly a shoulder, to lock them back upright.

The most-hyped part of the 2008 Fords is up front: Microsoft’s Sync voice recognition. It lets users operate the infotainment system and Bluetooth phones with verbal commands. Sync is a $395 add-on to the basic SE model and midrange SEL, but comes standard in the Limited.

The Edge’s SE model retails for $25,735. The SEL is $27,730, and our Limited version started out at $30,725. Upgrading to all-wheel drive adds $1,750 to all models, and moving from Class I to Class II towing capability tacks on $395. The Vista roof ($1,595), navigation system ($1,995), and power liftgate ($490) are separate options for the upper trim levels. These additions brought the cost of our tester up to $34,995.

— Jessica Shapiro