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    Two Crossovers in Autumnal Colors

    1-PHOTO-Philip RuthFall colors are the theme this week. Both the tested Ford Edge Titanium and Jeep Renegade Trailhawk 4×4 came in shades that evoked the season of pumpkins and squash.

    Fall also provokes the desire to hunker down and settle in with a casserole and your special someone, but that’s where these diverge from the theme. Their unique shades made the Renegade and Edge the extroverts among the traffic around them, as they received the kind of attention one aims to get when hitting the town.

    Color is a funny subject in the car industry these days. On many vehicles, there’s little variation from the regulation choices of white, black, silver, blue and red. A drive through San Francisco yields visual explosions of color from the houses but little variation within the passing traffic. This is a relatively new phenomenon—cars of the 1950s were alive with pastels, and even a humdrum 1995 Taurus wagon I picked up cheap on Craigslist had a “Light Evergreen Frost” finish that glowed in the sun. But today’s market globalization has carmakers playing it safe with basic shades that will sell in San Jose, Shanghai and everywhere in between.

    So you won’t find many orange or yellow sedans. Mainstream buyers seem to have little interest in disrupting the current dialed-down color flow. But the paint this week—Electric Spice for the Edge and Colorado Red on the Renegade—came on vehicles that are already more expressive than their competitors by design, so that their finishes were icing on the cake.

    The Ford Edge is a crossover version of the midsized Fusion sedan, and the Edge’s tightly pulled lines give it a look of taut athleticism, like it’s ready to spring. The Edge’s styling exacts a price in utility, as it stretches 10 inches longer than the compact Escape, but has only about five more cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. You’d accept that trade-off if you wanted to roll up in something with the Edge’s rakish look.

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    Edge prices start a bit higher than the low-to-mid-$20K range of compact crossovers, with a 2016 starting price on its lowest SE trim that bumps up against $30K. Base prices run up to $40K for the Edge Sport, which adds more drama to the Edge’s look with big 20” wheels.

    While the Edge sports a look that’s urban and chic, the Renegade is chunky and jaunty, with a kicked-up beltline and a basket-handle rear pillar. Combined with signature Jeep round headlights up front, the Renegade clearly originates from one of the U.S.’s most storied car brands. The Edge is based on the midsized car, the Renegade spawns from a subcompact structure it shares with the Fiat 500X. Renegade base prices run $19K–$28K and have several trim and color themes in the six different trim levels.

    Both the Edge and Renegade are pleasant daily drivers, with ample power and amenable handling. Their bold shapes and colors add another layer of appeal.

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant at  Check out his automotive staging service at