MPG-o-Matic Ford Flex Review Summary: The 2009 Ford Flex nearly defies description. As a brilliant alternative to SUVs and minivans, the Flex represents a rebirth of the great American station wagon with the comforts of a spacious limousine.
Available in both all-wheel- (AWD) and front-wheel-drive (FWD) configurations, the Ford Flex breaks new ground in the seven-seat people mover category. It’s not an SUV, it’s not a minivan, and it’s not like any crossover you’ve ever seen before.
While the Ford Flex competes with a range of seven-seat crossovers and SUVs, there’s nothing currently on the market that provides direct competition. With the Flex, Ford has created an entirely new segment.
Under the hood, the Flex is equipped with a 3.5 liter V6 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with the V6 producing 262 horsepower (HP) and 248 foot pounds of torque.
The official gas mileage estimates for the 2009 Ford Flex are 17 city / 24 highway miles per gallon (MPG) for the FWD version and 16/22 for the AWD version.
In hundreds of miles of driving, we cruised past the official estimates with our two-tone FWD Flex test unit, scoring an average of 28.1 MPG on the Interstate highway, with 23.4 MPG combined. Test period temperatures ranged from the thirties through fifties, with freeway speeds between 60 and 75 miles per hour (MPH). The Flex soaks up the open road effortlessly and responds well to light footed freeway driving.
The Flex provides both an average MPG monitor and Ford’s standard real-time MPG display. We were able to achieve our fuel economy results by keeping a watchful eye on the real-time bar-graph display, and a light touch on the accelerator.
It’s all about knowing when to let off. As always, the greater distance you can drive with your foot completely off the pedal, the better your mileage results. Once you learn how to maximize the number of bars, the game is yours.
While the Flex is no sports car, it holds its own on the back roads, without the typical plow you might expect in a vehicle this large.
As distinctively designed as the exterior might be, it’s the Flex’s interior that’s responsible for winning a growing legion of fans. My family described the Flex’s interior as both cavernous and limo-like, if a limo was like a private jet. The Flex is made for big folks, with the front and center rows providing a remarkable amount of legroom and headroom. The third row readily holds two full grown adults, as long as they’re under six feet or so and limber enough to climb in and out. Fold flat seating provides ample cargo room.
The Flex is a showcase for Ford’s high-tech interior touches. Color changeable LED ambient lighting sets the mood. Steering wheel controls and center console mounted USB iPod integration are provided with the Microsoft Sync audio system.
Convenience and comfort abounds. Flex families are all powered up, with four 12V outlets: one in the console, one tucked away in the base of the dash, one back in the hatch, and one in the center row. The center row also has its own HVAC controls and an 110V outlet. Ceiling mounted ducting brings heat and A/C to all three rows.
All-in-all, we found the Flex to be a fun and remarkably comfortable alternative to the typical SUV, CUV, or minivan. If you need to haul a flock, there’s nothing quite like it.
Fuel requirements: Regular-grade gasoline.
Assembly/Parts Content: The Ford Flex is built in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, with 80% of the sheet metal produced at Ford’s Buffalo, NY Stamping Plant.
– by Daniel Gray
January 3rd, 2009
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