This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Oct 4, 2008
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Ford's crossover offerings feature the all-new top of the line Flex. Prospective owners will have to address a simple question: Are you cool enough to drive a Ford Flex? While I can't even begin to understand the Flex television ads currently running, I can fully attest to the coolness of this new Ford. People have heard about the Flex and are eager to see it up close. I took our test vehicle to a couple of car events where it drew a lot of attention and positive comments.
The outward appearance is striking. Though technically a large rectangular box on wheels (what people hauler isn't?), Flex lines encourage your eyes to wrap around and over it's shape. The roof is relatively low at 68 inches. Combined with a wide stance and large tinted rear glass panels, the Flex has a slightly aggressive look to it. Four full sized doors allow easy access to the cushy interior. Upon first glance, you might assume that seats this nice are of the in or out type. You'd be wrong. Ford engineers found a way for the two back rows to fold down and form a completely flat surface. Even the front passenger seat folds flat for those rare but real times when more cargo space is needed.
We're all too familiar with promised seating for six only to find decent seating for two up front, teens in the middle, and knees in the chest for the rear. Not so with Flex. Flex is 5 inches longer than the already roomy Taurus X. Six full sized adults can fit inside. No kidding. Headroom is tremendous in each row. The middle seats are slightly higher than the front, giving passengers forward vision instead of trapping them inside. Rear seats are slightly higher again, making your entire people load one group instead of segregating them into three parts. Overall passenger ride height is lower than expected. It comes somewhere between large sedans and pickup trucks. You go "into" the Flex as opposed to stepping up or sliding down. This also helps bring the center of gravity down, increasing the handling response. Outward visibility is enhanced by virtue of a low sill and tall windows. Large side mirrors are a necessity and I found the backup assist camera useful.
Flex is a brute at 4,640 pounds. We knew the weight was there, but Ford's 3.5-liter V-6 has no trouble moving it around. With 262 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque twisting a 6-speed automatic overdrive transmission, acceleration is smooth, precise, and quick enough to impress a full load of passengers. Fit and finish of the Flex is a step above. For the target customer, Flex is great new alternative to the SUV. It has lots of comfortable space, car-like handling, and enough power to tow a trailer. And it is so hip that there's even a string of aftermarket companies already making Flex personalization kits. Ford Flex represents a welcomed, new direction for automakers.
For LA Car's full review on the Ford Flex, click Flex Time for Ford For Brian Kennedy's Op-Ed piece on the Flex, click Flex More Confident Than Its Creators For more information about Ford products, go to www.ford.com