More Expert Reviews
|2010 Ford Flex
|2010 Ford Flex
By Danny Chang
- Smooth ride
- Decent acceleration
- Lots of interior space
- 20-inch wheels bring road presence
- Limb-threatening second row seats
- Unwise location for hatch closing button
- Controversial styling
From the moment I saw the Ford Flex in its prototype form a few years ago, I was excited to see it headed towards production. Of course, the prototype was a lot shorter and taller like an old Bronco, and not hearse-like as is the production Flex. The production model rarely mimics the prototype version after its transformation from the tradeshow floor, but I was still glad to see Ford take a chance with styling and bring this crossover to production. Say what you will about the design, the Flex is certainly one of the most distinctive crossover vehicles on the market today. With its silver two-tone roof on top of a dark ink blue metallic coat, our tester was quite a looker. It came with a 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, rolling on massive 20-inch wheels and all-wheel drive.
With 355 HP, 350 lb-ft of torque and AWD, the turbocharged EcoBoost engine gets the same mileage (16 city / 22 highway) as the regular Duratec V6 but with a lot more power (Duratec has 262 HP). That’s plenty of power to get this crossover moving though you definitely hear the engine work hard at it. Let’s just say it doesn’t sound like a Ferrari V8 when it works hard though. Yeah, the car is big and feels heavy. However, the Flex was surprisingly nimble to maneuver. I had no problems weaving in and out of traffic on the freeway and the Flex was easy to maneuver on local streets and in parking lots, despite its size. I also found the Flex easy to get in and out of, thanks to its low platform and riding height; much better than SUVs and minivans.
I am a fan of the Flex’s styling, although I know it’s a bit controversial. Its square shape worked really well on the prototype, which is taller and shorter. The product planners decided to make it a crossover and give it more cargo space, so the Flex grew lower and longer. The design is still very distinctive compared to all other minivans and crossover vehicles. I like the grooves in the door panels, reminiscent of the woody, and I really dig the white/silver two tone roof option, which works well on the MINI Cooper as well. The proportions are very well suited to the car, and the exaggerated wheel arches in the fenders actually don’t seem over the top on the Flex. Even the oversized Ford oval logos don’t seem out of place on the Flex. I prefer the tailgate with the aluminum finish to match the three-bar grille on the front end. The tester also came with privacy or tinted windows in the second and third rows that adds a touch of class. Finally, the 20 inch bright painted-aluminum wheels with Goodyear Eagle RS-A P255/45R20 high performance all-season tire option is really the way to go to give the Flex a commanding road presence and helps with the stability of the ride in my humble opinion.
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The Flex is very spacious on the inside. The car is very wide. The dashboard is ultra deep in front of the driver and you can’t really reach the bottom of the windshield without giving yourself a hernia. There’s plenty of elbow room for passengers in the front and second row, but there’s a very noticeable lack of armrests in the second row captain chairs. Not really captain chairs without armrests, eh? Armrests are missing from the front seats too, thanks to the cost engineering police?
The third row is stadium seating, offering a commanding view of the cabin. Access to the third row is easy enough, either through the space between the two captain chairs or by pushing a button that pushes the second row seats out of the way. Except that this action happens lightning fast and the seat snaps forward and folds up out of the way at an astonishing speed. One could lose his fingers if he’s not careful. I’m not sure if this is just the tester or standard on the Flex, but Ford should definitely look into it. Otherwise overall ergonomics are just okay, nothing to write home about.
One other glaring miss is the location of the button to close the rear hatch – it is located on the driver side C-pillar inside left. That’s right, you read correctly, the button to close the hatch is actually on the inside of the car instead of on the hatch itself, as is standard design on almost all other vehicles with this feature. Basically you have to stand to the left side, reach in and push the button and then quickly snatch your hand and back out before the hatch knocks you unconscious, chops off your hand, or both.
With the $3,895 option package that includes AWD, 20-inch wheels, convenience package and a Sony 12-speaker sound system, the Flex SEL comes to $40k.Throw in the aforementioned death trap of an autofold 2nd row seats option, Class III Tow package and a two-toned roof, the price tag comes to almost $41,555 MSRP. Sounds a bit steep for a crossover that doesn’t even have a navigation system. Sure, there’s Microsoft Sync but I couldn’t figure out how to connect my iPhone on Bluetooth. The Flex is slightly more expensive than a comparably equipped Chevy Traverse, its closest competition that has more cargo room and optional 8-passenger seating. Chevy throws in the bland styling for free.
If you’re a soccer mom (or dad) who hates the stigma of a minivan and thinks getting a lower-stance crossover vehicle instead will somehow make you seem cool at the school parking lot, look no further than the Flex. Compared to competition like the Chevy Traverse or the Toyota Highlander, the Flex is very distinctive and looks pretty bada$$ on those 20s. You don’t get the sliding rear doors like on a minivan, which is convenient at times, but at least you can tell yourself and anyone who cares to listen that you “DON’T drive a minivan.” Forty grand is a small price to pay for that small piece of sanity in life.
|Read More Expert Reviews on CarREVIEW.com
|2009 Ford Flex SEL AWD – Character that can’t be classified
“Although it shares the same drivetrain as the Ford Edge and the now seemingly pointless Taurus X, the Flex brings a level of refinement, quality, uniqueness and sticker price that the other two Ford products can’t even come close to matching.”
|Official website for Ford cars, hybrids, trucks, and SUVs – www.ford.com|