It brought a smile to my face, the 2013 Ford Flex sitting in my driveway with its Ruby Red Metallic Tint paint glistening in the sun, full of holiday cheer. With three rows and seating for up to seven, the Ford Flex is a standout with its unique crossover design that’s both modern and functional.
As it enters its fifth year on the market, the Ford Flex is turning heads and gaining more fans (it went on sale in 2008 as a 2009 model). In 2012, sales were up 3.5 percent over 2011. And it’s easy to see why, especially if you are in the market for a crossover that offers a comfortable interior, along with great cargo capacity.
Lots of room
Designed to accommodate passengers and their stuff, the Flex is … well … flexible. Inside there is plenty of cargo room, especially if both the third- and second-row seats are folded. With both folded, cargo capacity is 83.2 cubic feet. Fold just the third and you’ll have 43.2 cubic feet. And with no rows folded, there is 20 cubic feet of storage capacity.
Fresh new look – inside and out
So what’s new for this full-size crossover available in three models: SE, SEL and Limited?
For 2013, Flex’s new front end is now slightly rounded, creating more visual harmony between the front and the rest of the vehicle. Notably, the signature Ford blue oval has been removed from the front, which now solely bears the Flex badge. There are also six all-new wheel styles, including three all-new 20-inch selections.
Also new is an Appearance Package available on Limited and SEL models that includes a two-tone black roof and black mirrors, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, leather seats, unique door trim panels and other interior upgrades for a truly distinctive premium look and feel.
The new Flex comes in nine exterior colors, including three new colors for 2013. Customers also can choose from body-color roofs, or two-tone with white, silver or black, standard on the Appearance Package.
Under the hood, Flex’s new base engine delivers even more efficiency and performance with the addition of twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to the 3.5-liter V6.
The upgraded 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine provides 287 horsepower – an approximate 25 horsepower increase from the previous engine – and 254 pound-feet of torque. The new Flex will also deliver 1 mpg more in fuel economy, with EPA-certified fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway (FWD). Fuel economy for the AWD model is 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is still available on the new Flex, bringing the fuel economy of a V6 engine with all-wheel-drive capability and V8-like performance of 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The fuel economy rating for the 3.5-litter EcoBoost V6 is 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission.
Both engines also are made more efficient with EPAS (electric power-assisted steering). EPAS improves fuel economy approximately 4 percent, and reduces emissions while improving steering performance primarily because the steering system is powered by an electric motor connected to the vehicle’s battery, instead of an engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering system.
The Flex’s starting MSRP is $30,885 (SE model). To learn more about this versatile crossover, visit your local Southeast Texas Ford dealer or go online to www.ford.com .