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Ford Flex

A face-lift and some mechanical upgrades benefit Ford’s people mover.

The Ford Flex is as adept at moving people and their belongings as is a minivan, and it is as satisfying to drive as a sport wagon. Unfortunately for Ford, however, the Flex’s dynamic qualities haven’t translated to real-world sales; the Flex is the slowest-selling passenger vehicle in the Ford lineup. To address some of the Flex’s perceived shortcomings, Ford introduced a face-lifted and updated 2013 model that went on sale last spring. The Flex’s styling has been updated with a new, one-bar grille, new headlamps, and new wheel styles. Under the hood, the base 3.5-liter V-6 receives variable valve timing, increasing output to 287 hp and 254 lb-ft. The EcoBoost V-6 — available only on the top-spec Limited — provides V-8-like power while matching the fuel economy of the base V-6. All versions of the 2013 Flex have stronger brakes and other chassis updates. The former are courtesy of a larger brake master cylinder and booster, drastically reducing pedal travel and making for a firmer, more consistent feel. In fact, the front brakes are now identical to those on the Taurus SHO. The non-EcoBoost Flex gains electric power steering. All-wheel drive is available with the normally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6. EcoBoost Flexes get standard all-wheel drive. As before, interior amenities abound, but you’ll have to pay extra for many of them.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Tahoe

Dodge Durango

Honda Odyssey

Toyota Sienna

new for 2013

An updated Flex went on sale last spring as a 2013 model. Styling changes were made to the exterior, and the interior got a redesigned instrument cluster, steering wheel, and seat trim. The Titanium model has been dropped for 2013, leaving the Limited as the top-spec Flex. There are three new exterior colors.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; tire-pressure monitors; a reverse sensing system; and programmable MyKey are standard. Inflatable second-row outboard safety belts are optional. Blind-spot mirrors are standard on S and SE; BLIS is standard on Limited and optional on SE. A rearview camera and adaptive cruise control with collision warning are optional. Trailer-sway control is optional with the towing package.

MPG

CITY 16–18

HWY 23–25

PRO

Unique styling

Versatile interior

Easy-to-access third row

CON

Unique styling

Expensive when fully optioned

Base Price Range: $31,710–$40,055

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: SE, SEL, Limited

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 6- or 7-passenger

ENGINES: 3.5L V-6, 287 hp, 254 lb-ft

3.5L twin-turbo V-6, 365 hp, 350 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 155.8 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 4500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 20.0/43.2/83.2 cu ft

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