Since its birth in 2006, the Ford Edge has only been available with the 3.5-liter Duratec V-6 engine, but that's about to change at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show with the introduction of Ford's first application of the four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the updated 2011 Ford Edge.

Powered by the turbocharged 230-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the 2011 Ford Edge is angling for major fuel economy improvements without a noticeable loss in power. That shouldn't be too tough a challenge, as the 3.5-liter V-6 currently in the Edge rates just 265 horsepower. It also scores 25 mpg highway in V-6 form, meaning the EcoBoost should be able to just crest 30 mpg, with similar improvements to the 18-mpg city rating. Ford says the combination of turbocharging and direct-injection can yield up to 20 percent gains in economy, which would push the 2011 Edge to 22/30 mpg.

As with any turbocharged four-cylinder, turbo lag may be an issue, though Ford's engineers have worked hard to combat the problem. The flat torque curve provided by a turbo engine will also likely make up for the momentary wait, providing a strong mid-range feel about equal to that of the V-6, which produces peak torque at 4,500 rpm. Turbo fours typically reach peak torque by 1,500-2,000 rpm and hold it well into range. Peak horsepower figures dictate ultimate performance, but it's low-end torque that makes an engine feel "quick" in daily driving.

The addition of the EcoBoost four to the Edge marks the start of Ford's transition from V-6s announced last year. "With this next phase of our plan, we will expand our EcoBoost engine offerings, adding higher-volume, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines to the premium V-6 engine we currently offer in North America," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Ford global product development last September.

At any rate, we only have about a week to wait to wait now, as the 2011 Ford Edge with the EcoBoost four will be unveiled at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, which kicks off with the media preview on February 10th. Until then, you can find a preview of the 2011 Edge's interior in the gallery above, and a preview of the MyTouch system that will be in it here.

[Detroit News via GreenCarReports]