PRO’s: Great styling, tons of usable space, room for 7 adults, above average visibility and BIG POWER!!
CON’s: Under bolstered front seats.
FINAL THOUGHT: A wonderful alternative to the standard SUV/Minivan that provides all day comfort, big power, room for seven and a driving experience that is MUCH better than you’d expect.
If you were a kid from the mid-1940’s to the mid-1980’s then the odds of you being shuffled around by your parents in a station wagon were pretty damn good. You see before the minivan and the SUV came into the picture, wagons were the shizznit. In fact it hasn’t been until recently that manufacturers are taking a second look and wondering if they should revisit a formula that worked so well for over 40 years. For most people saying “minivan” or “station wagon” is a dirty thing. I mean they’re driven by people who are old, have no fun and are martyrs to their children, right? Well, not really. You see these big behemoths of the open road were people movers and served a purpose that few other vehicles could match. It’s now 2013 and although wagons are few and far between these days, that hasn’t stopped some manufacturers from re-imagining what the wagon should be.
Enter the 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD. The first vehicle in my opinion that has bridged the gap between minivan, SUV and wagon, and done so with style, functionality, class and performance. When first introduced in 2009 consumers didn’t really know what to make of the Flex. Was it an SUV, crossover or some kind of new age surf wagon? The answer oddly enough, is all of the above. First and foremost let’s talk about style, something the Flex has in spades. With a long, low cut roof line and stylized panel-type doors and hood, the Flex is extremely attractive in stock form. However opt for the “Limited” model and pimp it out in Fords Deep Impact blue paint with Ingot Silver roof and in no time you’ll have yourself something that’s quite the looker.
The Flex is also big, like really big with a 117.9″ wheelbase. That means the ability to seat 7 adults in comfort and still have some room left over for luggage. With the third row seats up you’ll be treated to 20 cu. ft. of cargo space. Fold them down and that bumps to 43.2 cu. ft. Drop down the second row seats and you’ll now end up with a whopping 83.2 cu. ft. of room. People, that’s A LOT of space. My tester was equipped with the optional 2nd row 40/40 seats with auto-fold (electric fold down), a $750.00 option which is totally worth it for the cool factor alone.
All of the seats in the Flex are fairly comfortable, however the fronts could definitely use a bit more bolstering. Around town they’re fine, but take an exit ramp at any type of speed and you’ll swear you’re in an old bench seat Crown Vic.
While most manufacturers are moving to smaller and lighter offerings, Ford has realized that vehicles with room like the Flex are still very much in need by larger families, so I applaud Ford for going big on this one.
This 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD meant this tester came pretty loaded up with options like 10-way heated power drivers seat (6-way passenger), dual climate controls, SYNC with MyFORD touch (the juries still out on this), HID headlamps, ventilated front seats, as well as a cool little cooler and reverse sensing system with video. Things like 2nd row seats with auto-fold, big 20-inch wheels and adaptive cruise control were extra and part of option package 303A. At $3,295.000 on top of the Limited’s $43,850.00 base price, it’s a big option, but live with it for a week and you’ll never want to get rid of it.
Climbing behind the steering wheel is a pretty enjoyable affair. The dash is all digital and uses the latest and greatest in graphic technology to provide you with a look and feel that’s similar to today’s best video games. Readouts like the speedometer and tachometer can be tailored to the drivers mood, and everything from the cruise control, Bluetooth phone and satellite radio can be controlled through nicely laid out steering wheel mounted buttons. Ford’s SYNC massive touchscreen lies dead center in the dash allowing occupants to adjust climate, vehicle settings and audio.
A fair amount of thought was put into the Flex’s interior as not only was it comfortable, but it’s laid out so that never once was my 6’4″ frame cramped. One feature I wasn’t a massive fan of are the dash buttons, or push pad thingies on the center stack. If I push something I want to feel it move in and out. I get the whole “soft-touch” movement, but I tend to like things a bit old school and I think the majority of drivers would agree with me.
Now we come to driving impressions, the part where the Flex outshines just about every other SUV/Wagon/Crossover out there. Under the hood lies Ford’s new 3.5L EcoBoost V6 twin-turbocharged direct-injection engine that pumps out 365 hp and 350 lb.ft of torque. Now I’ve driven the Flex with the standard 287 hp V6 and truth be told, the EcoBoost is leaps and bounds better. Power is put down to Fords Active All-Wheel Drive System through a smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Mash the gas and you’ll sprint to 60 mph in under 6-seconds, a super impressive time when you consider that this rolling toaster weighs in at over 4,800 lbs.
Handling on the Flex is equally impressive. Throw it into a corner and the Flex rewards the driver with very little in the way of drama. It’s compliant, confidence inspiring and a real pleasure to drive and thanks to the vast amount of glass in the Flex, outward visibility is excellent.
From a mileage perspective I was showing a combined of around 18 mpg. Ford says it will get 16 city and 23 hwy, but I’m not sure if I believe the latter. I averaged around 17 in combined driving.
The Flex Limited is a vehicle that I’d be proud to own. It offers well above average styling and all-weather capability with room to do pretty much whatever you please. As optioned this 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD came in at $49,790.00 which, let’s face it, ain’t cheap. However, when you factor in what you get in regards to options, power, comfort, daily usability and overall enjoyment, this 2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD may be one of the best bargains out there.
I loved it.