With a style that makes for a love/hate response from most, but gets long looks from all,
the quirky, yet quite capable Ford Flex can handle daily chores and be a respectable dinghy
when you’re on the road in a motorhome. The seven-passenger Flex provides gracious
amenities and comfortable accommodations with an interior designed to flip and fold into a
handful of seating and storage-space configurations.
Ford’s Sync hands-free communication
and entertainment system helps to keep the driver’s attention forward and on the road. Its
voice-activated GPS navigation system integrates destination entry, climate control and
Sirius satellite radio into a single 8-inch, easy-to-use touch-screen display. Comfortable
seating and easy-to-see and use controls also help make it a fun vehicle to drive, even on
long hauls. Our test model – the 2009 AWD Ford Flex Limited – came complete with an
optional reverse camera system that displays the area behind the vehicle on the
navigation-system screen when the Flex is shifted into reverse.
Passengers will delight in
the Flex’s use of pleasures, such as the optional compressor-style refrigerator built into
the second-row seat center console in lieu of a seventh passenger seat. The sunroof bathes
occupants of the entire vehicle in a warm glow, providing a wide-open view of the sky.
3.5-l V-6 Duratec 35 engine in the Flex is a four-valve-per-cylinder, intake variable
camshaft timing power plant with an aluminum block and heads. It puts out 262 hp at 6,250
rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The spunky little V-6 is mated to a well-mannered
six-speed automatic transmission and can really get up and go when you put some pressure on
it. Fuel consumption can average as high as 22 mpg on the highway.
The Flex’s steel unibody
platform rides on a fully independent four-wheel suspension design that incorporates
gas-pressurized MacPherson struts, rear-facing L-shaped lower control arms, an isolated
subframe and 32 mm stabilizer bar up front; and a multilink rear end with upper and lower
control arms, fully isolated subframe and 22 mm stabilizer bar. Its power rack-and-pinion
steering system is responsive and works well with the vehicle’ s flat-riding yet smooth
suspension, keeping the vehicle, its occupants and cargo secure and under control.
FORD FLEX SPECIFICATIONS
Engine: 3.5-l V-6 Duratec 35
Horsepower: 262 @ 6,250 rpm
Torque: 248 lb-ft at 4,500
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Brakes: 4-wheel disc
Length: 16′ 9.8″
Width: 6′ 4″
Height: 5′ 8″
circle: 40′ 8.4″
Curb Weight: 4,640 lbs
Cap: 18.6 gal
Fuel Economy: City/Highway, 16/22
Baseplates Available: Blue Ox, Demco, Roadmaster
Price as tested: $43,820
Ford Motor Co.,
(800) 392-3673, www.fordvehicles.com.