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

The Daily Drivers: Ford refines its Flex

Recently, Automobile magazine included the Ford Flex on its list of the "best cars that nobody buys." We've been fans of the crossover since we drove one for our first Daily Drivers review, and we certainly understand how its boxy styling — not to mention its sticker price — can limit its audience. For 2013, the Flex gets cosmetic changes.

Appearance: It's still essentially a long, boxy station wagon. The major styling update is to the front end. Ford replaces its now dated three-bar design with a single chrome band that dominates the new grille, which integrates the redesigned headlights. It reminds Lyra of Robocop. Above it, Ford spells out FLEX in bold letters. The whole effect is futuristic and eye-catching. Ford kept the parallel body lines around the car, which we think only draws attention to the boxiness. A white top is still available as an option.

Performance: Our tester had the base 3.5-liter V-6, which produces 287 horsepower and has no problems getting the 4,500-pounder up to speed, even on the highway. We would have loved to have tried the twin-turbo Ecoboost, which adds 78 horsepower. (Lyra loves the Ecoboost in her Ford F-150 pickup.) As we found before, the handling is surprisingly good and carlike for a vehicle this long. Thanks in part to the long wheelbase, the ride is smooth and grounded. The Flex corners well, and the turning radius is much better than you would expect. Still, we were grateful that the Flex has a rearview camera. The electric power steering felt just about right, erring on the heavy side. And the Flex can even tow up to 4,500 pounds.

Interior: Despite its size, the Flex is low to the ground, so it's easy to get in and out, especially with wide-opening doors. The cabin appointments struck us as a blend between car and truck, with plenty of nooks that include a deep center console and rear armrest storage. The leather seats are plush and comfortable, with a lot of head- and legroom up front and in the second row. Even the third row isn't too bad for adults. Our tester had a second row with a pass-through, so getting to the third row was a bit easier. But with this option, the Flex can seat only six; it seats seven with the second-row bench seat. The third-row seats fold easily with tugs of straps. But those straps can get caught out of reach. The optional PowerFold sounds like the way to go. The big interior change is the redesigned center console, which has a clean, hard-plastic look. The Flex's console houses the MyFord Touch system. The touch screen is nice, but it's difficult to find the right button quickly, and it's easy to accidentally brush up against a wrong key.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Dash display: Ford has found the proper balance between the digital and analog.

Sync system: The voice recognition seems to have improved.

Rear park aid: It will tell you on which side an object is located.

Lyra Solochek

Discreet key pad: The backlit keypad on the driver's door turns off when not in use.

Bluetooth: No wires. Stream, don't plug into your player's audio.

Cargo space: There's even room for some furniture.

The bottom line: The redesigned Ford Flex gains more modern features — inside and out — and remains a fine minivan alternative.









2013 Ford Flex SEL

Price: $30,885 base, $38,990 as tested

Powertrain:

3.5-liter V-6,

6-speed SelectShift automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 287 at 6,500 rpm

Torque: 254 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm

Curb weight: 4,471 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 117.9

Length, 201.8

Width, 88.8

Height, 68

Seats: 6-7

Fuel economy:

18 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway

Safety features: ABS, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, safety canopy airbags, postcrash alert, rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert

Website: ford.com/flex

The Daily Drivers: Ford refines its Flex 10/05/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 10:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 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]

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

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    But its replacement — Tampa Bay Next — will likely include many of the same projects, including 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]
  3. 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 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]
  4. Leaders of Tampa Bay's top workplaces share insights, suggestions

    Business

    TAMPA — Nearly 300 people gathered at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday morning to hear tips and insights from leaders of the highest-ranked workplaces in Tampa Bay.

    Bays Florida associates (From left) Robert Patterson, Amanda Boser, and Kellly Banchak talk during the reception before the start of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces Live! program at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times