Ford Flex Review:
When I first saw the Flex I thought, “That’s a huge MINI Cooper SUV!
That’s because it features a similar “floating” cap roof over glass
that, for an additional $395, you can order in silver. But the Flex is
nothing like a MINI, it carries up to seven people in spacious comfort
and is more than 17 feet long.
as a concept car, the Flex wears deep grooves along its doors and tail,
further emphasizing its horizontality. Ahead of its surprisingly upright
windshield is a hood as flat as your dining room table and a nose as
vertical as Niagara Falls, only in chrome. It’s strange to think that a
vehicle could be so attractive, yet so boxlike, but the Flex is a
faceted, 4,800-pound gem.
Others agree. Last
year, members of the Friends of the National Automotive History
Collection (NAHC) voted the Flex as the “Collectible Vehicle of the
Future” from the year’s new American-built cars and trucks. The NAHC
supports the world-famous automotive collection at the Detroit Public
You can get the Flex in
three levels: SE, SEL and Limited. Of the many differences, the
standard wheel size grows from 17 inches to 18 inches to 19 inches with
The base engine for all
three is the 3.5-liter Duratec V6 with 262 horsepower through a
six-speed automatic. Four-wheel disc brakes with antilock are standard.
Inside, climate control keeps you comfy and you’ll find the usual power
windows, locks and mirrors, illuminated vanity mirrors on the sun
visors, a decent audio system, Ford’s new capless fuel system and much
The SEL offers chrome
accents on the outside, dual-zone climate control, power seats, SIRIUS
satellite radio, and Ford’s hands-free SYNC system for entertainment and
navigation. The Limited provides even more: a power liftgate, leather
seats, wood inlay steering wheel, a 12-speaker Sony sound system,
voice-activated Navigation, and ambient lighting. And, it gets the satin
aluminum liftgate appliqué.
But the big deal, in
the SEL and Limited models, is the new Ecoboost engine. Ford claims it
supplies V8 performance with V6 fuel economy. That appears to be true.
The EPA rates the Ecoboost Flex at 16 City, 22 Highway, and the
all-wheel-drive Duratec-powered Flex receives the same ratings. I
averaged 17.0 mpg in my typical week of mixed city and freeway motoring.
My Dark Ink Blue
Metallic SEL test car moved along briskly with the Ecoboost engine. 365
horsepower is a lot compared to the Duratec’s 262. You can feel it when
you press the gas pedal and it sounds strong (but not quite as deep as a
V8). Direct injection provides a high compression ratio for improved
fuel economy and twin turbochargers banish turbo lag, for instant
performance. And all Ecoboost models come with all-wheel drive standard.
The EPA’s Green Vehicle
Guide has no data for the Ecoboost engine yet, but the Duratec earns 7
for Air Pollution and 5 for Greenhouse Gas, and we can all hope that
with “Eco” in its name, the new engine does even better.
The Flex offers
seven-passenger capacity, but my tester had a pair of buckets in the
middle seat, making it a six-seater. The second row, with “Autofold”,
with the third row’s ability to fold forward or backward provides
flexibility in people and cargo hauling.
If you’re carrying your
precious family around, you’ll appreciate the Flex’s advanced structural
safety system. It features octagonal front frame rails, tunnel rails and
support members, which absorb and redirect crash forces away from the
passenger compartment in a collision. The car’s Side Protection and
Cabin Enhancement (SPACE) Architecture provides improved side impact
The Personal Safety
System analyzes crash circumstances and then controls how the airbags
inflate and the seatbelts work, taking into account passenger weight and
whether the belts are fastened.
The Flex rolls along
smoothly and quietly. Ford has sweated the details to get its interiors
right, with attractive surfaces, good fit and finish, and supportive
seating. The wood trim may be fake, but it’s attractively combined with
chrome and silver accents.
Flex, with its standard Electric Power Assist Steering, offers something
called Pull-Drift compensation. This software-based technology helps
keep the car on track in crosswinds or on uneven roads. It’s standard on
Prices start at $29,725
for the SE, including delivery. The SEL starts at $32,525 and the
Limited begins at $38,395. Add $1,800 for all-wheel drive. My test car
came with a Rapid Spec package, which included 20-inch wheels, the Sony
premium audio setup, a “Convenience Package,” trailering package and the
silver roof. Total: $41,555.
The Flex is part of
Ford’s portfolio for the next decade, which will include a new Explorer
soon and no minivans. The future looks good from here.
By Steve Schaefer ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Flex is the new Ford crossover for the next decade. It has the
utility of a minivan with the appeal of an SUV. The long body looks like
a station wagon with a cool two-toned paint job, while the wide stance
assures stability and safety. Toss in the Ecoboost motor and some power
upgrades and you have a fine family cruiser for the 21st
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The 2010 Ford Flex
Review provided by:
Tony Leopardo ©
AutoWire.Net. “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor
and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or
comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive ”
Ford Home Page
Column Name: Flex is a
fine family cruiser for the 21st Century
Topic: The 2010 Ford
Word Count: 992
Photo Caption: The
2010 Ford Flex
Photo Credits: Ford
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Series #: 2010 - 27
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