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Ford Flex: Thoughts from inside the box

Consumer Reports News: August 05, 2010 11:23 AM

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The Ford Flex is one of those vehicles that everybody has an opinion about. Total strangers in the supermarket parking lot have no problem telling a Flex pilot just how ugly their car is, or how cool it is.
Nobody is on the fence. You either love it or you hate it.

At least it gets people talking.

I fall into the camp of those who like it, but the real beauty of the Flex is inside. There's a surprising amount of versatile space, with a huge second row and accommodating third row. Altogether, there's room for seven passengers in our Flex to travel in reasonable comfort. With fewer riders onboard, folding seats enable the Flex to swallow a whole lot of cargo—up to 47.5 cubic feet.
The Flex trumps the redesigned and much-ballyhooed 2011 Ford Explorer for interior usefulness, aided by four inches in length and right-angle shape. And while the Explorer will also accommodate seven, its more curvaceous styling brings some natural packaging compromises. Before rendering judgment, we'll purchase and test the new Explorer soon as it becomes available. But suffice to say, Flex is a prime hauler.
Our Flex is painted in what Ford calls White Platinum, which to me makes it look kind of like a chest freezer. But as they say, looks are in the eye of the beholder. Others have said it looks like a hearse, a limo, or prehistoric Mini Cooper. All of us are probably right.

I've always been more concerned about what a vehicle feels and looks like from the inside, and that is where the Flex delivers. Not only is it spacious, quiet, and comfortable, our Flex, with all-wheel drive and its 355 hp, twin-turbo Eco-Boost V6 is surprisingly quick for such a large vehicle, and it feels agile for its size. The thing accelerates like a Mustang with 0-60 mph zipping by in 6.5 seconds, and I've been averaging around 20 mpg overall with it in my custody.  While that fuel economy is not outstanding, it's certainly better than some SUVs with this kind of carrying capacity. (Overall, the Flex got 17 mpg in our testing, same as last year when it had much less power.)

So naysayers, naysay what you will. Those of you with families, pets, and gear to move around, give it a look. And if you're like me, you might want to admire the Flex from the driver's seat.

Jim Travers 

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