"Car Talk" with Jonathan Pitman
Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Just when you thought the Ford Motor Company was going to throw in the towel and call it a day, the company comes up big flexing its muscles with the debut of the 2009 Ford Flex. At first glance, this car is appealing and catches the eye. I guess you could say the new Flex is part SUV and part crossover. However, its sophisticated design and advanced technology sets it apart from most other vehicles because it was designed to be nothing short of perfect.
The Ford Flex comes in several trims including base, SE, SEL and Limited. The SE offers plenty of wonderful incentives, including automatic headlamps, 18 inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps with body colored bezels, volume controls and cruise control (standard) on the steering wheel, body colored door handles, seven passenger seating and more. Other royalties on the SE include a standard 6 speaker audio system with single CD player. However, if you opt for an upgraded sound system, expect an amazing live performance from Sony that has 12 strategically placed speakers and a 6 disc CD changer (available on SEL and standard on Limited). As you move up in trim levels expect to get a handful of additional options that are luxurious and will have consumers begging for more. The SEL delivers extras such as fog lamps similar to the SE model, however, the surrounding area located around the fog lights is in chrome, which adds more richness. HID headlights, which appear in a bright blue color and allows drivers to see the road ahead at night with ease, comes standard on the Limited, but is optional on the SEL. Heated front and rear leather seats are also available on the SEL and standard on Limited.
The vehicle I test drove was the Flex Limited. Sorry for the disappointing news consumers, but the Flex only offers one engine option – a 3.5 Liter V6 that produces 262 horsepower. However, on the road that horsepower was not lacking as it accelerated from 0-60 in about 8 seconds. Another good thing worth adding is instead of using a CVT transmission, the vehicle uses a 6 speed gearbox, which I think suits the Flex very well on the road. With the 6 speed automatic, I noticed the Flex was very smooth and at 60 miles per hour, the tachometer was at a low 1,500 rpm’s. The fuel economy was not too bad at an estimated 24 MPG on the highway.
Inside the cabin, it was relatively quiet as far as wind noise. But, I was slightly disappointed in the performance of the suspension. It seemed to feel more like riding inside a small car rather than a $40,000 high priced vehicle. There seemed to be what I call “body roll,” which to me means the amount of body movement occupants of the car feel when hitting a bump. That said, however, the overall handling was good and the braking power was excellent – not too sensitive nor too tight.
The design of the seats look pretty basic and nothing about them really stands out except for the robotic-like head rests. Something that caught my eye was the optional cooler for storing beverages and even frozen items, located in the center rear second row bucket seats.
The navigation system, which is integrated with the rear camera, is a nice plus. For a vehicle of this size, it was great that Ford added a little extra help with the rear sensors, which sounds a beep if back up bring you too close to an objects. Meanwhile, the rear camera gives you eyes in the back of your head – or at least on the navigation screen. The rear camera jumps into action when you put the car in reverse, giving the driver a birds-eye view of what is going on behind the vehicle.
Inside the cabin, a sliding moon roof brings the outside in to the driver and front row passenger. Meanwhile, an optional multi-panel Vista Roof with a shade is available for the 2nd and 3rd rows. There also is not shortage of wood trim inside the Flex Limited. It can be found on the doors, the dash, the steering wheel and even the trim on the instrument cluster. The gauges on the instrument panel are easy to read and appear in a bright ice blue.
Climate controls are easily accessible not only to the front seat passengers, but those in the rear have their own controls. The optional DVD system has a decent LCD screen and is great for those road trips that usually have kids asking, “Are we there yet?”
The Ford Flex has plenty of cabin storage and trunk space. The available automatic tailgate opens and closes with the push of a button. It even beeps to warn you that the tailgate is closing. The rear seats fold flat with the push of a button and the front seat can also be folded flat.
The boxy design of the Ford Flex roof reminds me of the Mini Cooper. And like the Mini Cooper, buyers have the option of selection one color for the body and another color for the roof. Other key features that make The Ford Flex appealing are its safety features: Side and head curtain airbags, all wheel drive, traction control and roll stability control.
All-in-all the Ford Flex is a uniquely-designed vehicle that showcases today’s innovative technology.
All photographs courtesy Ford.com