Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek

The Daily Drivers: 2009 Ford Flex SEL review

Appearance: There's no way you can discuss the Flex without talking about its love-it-or-leave-it styling. It certainly draws attention. Design guru Chip Foose has likened it to a Mini Cooper all grown up. We agree, but understand that some might find it too boxy.

Performance: The Flex boasts a 262-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, plenty for the 4,500-pounder. But all those horses in the front-wheel drive car comes with a price — torque steer. That's when the steering tugs to one side under hard acceleration. The handling is responsive and the six-speed automatic shifts smoothly. With a low center of gravity, the feeling you might roll over on turns is nonexistent.

Interior: Ford promotes the Flex as having a "Limo-Style Comfort," and it does. The SEL's leather seats were firm yet comfortable. The 10-way driver's seat adjusts from low-rider low to crunch-your-head high. The second row has plenty of legroom, with optional captain's seats (which are required for the optional built-in fridge.) The third row might be a bit tight for adults, but roomy enough for younger ones. The cabin is library quiet. And not to worry, parents: A rear DVD player is available as an option. If you need cargo room, both the second and third rows fold down flat, long enough for a 6-foot adult to stretch out. (But you might feel like a puppeteer, pulling lots of straps to get the right seating configuration.)

The Flex's Max AC quickly cools down the cabin with dual zones for the front, and independent controls for the rear seats, accessible from the front instrument cluster or the second row. The automatic climate control maintains the temperature you set.

Exterior:.The Flex lacks a minivan-type slider door, and its large doors might be too heavy for some kids. The heavy rear hatch opens vertically and is manually operated. (A power lift gate is availabe in the SEL and Limited models as part of the convenience package.)

Ford calls it a crossover. But we wish they'd just call it what it is: a station wagon. Remember those big bad tanks from the '60s and '70s? Well, they're back in the Ford Flex, but with 21st century technology and amenities. The Flex is based on the Taurus X platform with roomy interior to match its brawny Mini Clubman-on-steroids styling.

Appearance: There's no way you can discuss the Ford Flex without talking about its love-it-or-leave-it styling. It certainly draws attention. Design guru Chip Foose has likened it to a Mini Cooper all grown up. We agree, but understand that some might find it too boxy.

Performance: The Ford Flex boasts a 262-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, plenty for the 4,500-pounder. But all those horses in the front-wheel-drive car come with a price — torque steer. That's when the steering tugs to one side under hard acceleration. The handling is responsive and the six-speed automatic shifts smoothly. With a low center of gravity, the feeling that you might roll on turns is nonexistent.

Interior: Ford promotes the Flex as having a "limo-style comfort," and it does. The SEL's leather seats were firm yet comfortable. The 10-way driver's seat adjusts from low-rider low to crunch-your-head high. The second row has plenty of legroom, with optional captain's seats (required for the available built-in fridge). The third row might be tight for adults, but roomy enough for kids. The cabin is library quiet. And not to worry, parents: A rear DVD player is available. If you need cargo room, both the second and third rows fold flat, long enough for a 6-foot adult to stretch out.

The Ford Flex's Max A/C quickly cools down the cabin with dual zones for the front. The automatic climate control maintains the temperature you set. The rear air is controllable from the front or the second row.

Exterior: The Flex lacks a minivan-type slider door, and its large doors might be too heavy for some kids. The heavy rear hatch opens vertically and is manually operated. (A power lift gate is available in the SEL and Limited models as part of the convenience package.)

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture, 49, city driver, 6 feet tall, married with a teenager and a middle-schooler.

Max Headroom: I feel like I could wear a Rayhawk while driving and not scrape the roof liner.

Fuel gauge: It starts counting down when you have 50 miles of gas left. Great reminder for procrastinators.

Handling: Sure, the Ford Flex doesn't handle like a Ferrari, but it doesn't feel like a Freightliner either.

Lyra Solochek, 43, highway commuter, 5 feet 1, married with a 5-year-old and a teenager.

Ride: Slaloms through construction zones with no problems. It's solid, comfortable and is a decent corner-hugger. You can feel the road — in a good way.

Attention to details: 10 cupholders, second-row pullout bin and four 12-volt plugs. Plenty of places for your child to store toys.

Sound machine: Outstanding sound quality from the Sony Premium Sound System.

The bottom line: Boxy can be beautiful. With seating for seven and carlike handling, the 2009 Ford Flex SEL offers ultimate flexibility for a range of drivers — from a young family needing lots of space to a hip-hop-cranking low-rider.

2009
Ford Flex SEL

Price: $28,550, base; $34,455, as tested

Powertrain: 3.5-liter Duratec V-6; six-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive (all wheel drive optional)

Horsepower: 262 at 5,200 rpm

Torque: 248 pound-
feet at 4,500 rpm

Curb weight: about 4,500 pounds

Dimensions in inches:
Wheelbase, 117.9 Length, 201.8

Width, 75.9 (88.8 including mirrors)

Fuel economy:
17 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway (front-wheel drive); 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway (all-wheel drive)

Safety features: Full airbag coverage, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, antilock brakes, tire pressure monitor

Trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited

Options worth considering: Voice-activated navigation system with reverse camera; SYNC communications and entertainment system; convenience package with power liftgate; DVD entertainment system, all-wheel drive.

Web site: www.fordvehicles.com/crossovers/flex

Ride: Slalom through construction zones with no problems. It's solid and comfortable, a decent corner hugger. You can feel the road… in a good way.

Attention to details: 10 cupholders, second-row pullout bin and four 12-volt plugs. Plenty of places for your child to store toys.

Sound machine: Outstanding sound quality from the Sony Premium Sound System. Even talk radio came in crystal clear.

Max Headroom: I feel like I could wear a Rayhawk while driving and not scrape the roof liner.

Fuel gauge: It starts counting down when you have 50 miles of gas left. Great reminder for procrastinators.

Handling: Sure, the Flex doesn't handle like a Ferrari, but it doesn't feel like a Freightliner either.

The Daily Drivers: 2009 Ford Flex SEL review 06/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 11:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers, thousands of concealed weapons holders

    Corporate

    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson …

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  4. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    The name, that is. But its replacement — Tampa Bay Next — includes several of the same projects once proposed for TBX, such as the express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as a place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]