Take all the advantages of a minivan or full-size SUV – safety, comfort, roominess, utility and seating for seven – then strip away the ho-hum styling in favor of a dramatic, linear design graced with a hint of retro. Throw in superior driving dynamics, power on par with a V8, greater fuel efficiency and a host of new technology meant to keep you and your family informed, connected and secure. The result? The newly refreshed 2013 Ford Flex.
There’s only one thing automakers love more than repeat customers, and that’s “conquest” buyers – those shoppers who own vehicles built by the competition but choose to switch brands and buy a new Ford. Since its introduction four years ago, the versatile Flex has posted the highest conquest and return-buyer rates of any vehicle in the Ford family.
Ford offers the six- or seven-passenger Flex in three models: SE (MSRP $30,885), SEL (MSRP $33,225) and Limited (MSRP $39,230). The unique design of the Ford Flex earned instant praise for its hunkered stance, generous proportions and available two-tone paint scheme. This year, Ford stylists have rounded the front end and switched to a single-bar chrome grille, for a sleeker visual effect. Chrome letters spelling out “FLEX” run across the hood’s leading edge, while the lower front fascia sports foglamps and a new air intake. Out back you’ll find dual chrome exhaust tips (now standard throughout the lineup), and a perusal of the list of new features reveals six all-new aluminum wheel styles ranging in size from 17 to 20 inches.
Also benefiting from a meticulous redo is the base 3.5-liter V6, which now boasts direct injection, Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and 287 hp – a 20 percent jump in power output. The base V6 actually delivers better fuel economy than last year, also, offering up to 25 mpg on the highway.
Power flows to the front wheels through a six-speed SelectShift Automatic®. If you would prefer to shift gears manually, you can do so via a button mounted on the shift lever. Four-wheel drive is available, and comes standard with the upgraded 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. After dipping into the twin-turbocharged EcoBoost’s 365 hp and 350 lb/ft of torque, the editors at Automobile magazine declared that the powerplant transforms this “family friendly crossover into a rocket.” Even better, despite putting out power comparable to a V8, the EcoBoost returns an impressive 21 mpg on the highway.
The Flex gains a slate of new driver-assistance technology, starting with standard electronic power-assisted steering, which sharpens handling while reducing fuel consumption by four percent. Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support joins the options list for 2013, boosting safety by using sensors to detect a pending collision, then precharging the antilock braking system to maximize stopping power.
Torque Vectoring Control, which reduces understeer during hard cornering, also makes the list, as does Curve Control – a system that slows the vehicle by up to 10 mph should you enter a turn carrying too much speed. The available Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert issues alerts when another vehicle approaches outside the driver’s line of sight.
Speaking of advanced technology, the new Flex is the first vehicle in the Ford stable to feature the voice-activated SYNC® telematics system as standard equipment. This year also brings a new generation of the standard MyFord Touch™ system, praised by Autoblog.com for its “new maps, better voice recognition…and a more responsive touch-screen.”
You’ll find the Flex just as competent when you need it to transform from a high-tech family carrier to a hardscrabble utility vehicle. Count on 83.2 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume, as well as a 4,500-pound maximum towing capacity (when properly equipped).
Comfort and convenience take precedence in the roster of standard features Ford has included on the new Flex. Standards on the SE model include cruise control, air conditioning, automatic headlights, a six-way power driver seat, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors and a 60/40-split second-row seat with auto-fold feature (for easy access to the third row).
Choosing the mid-range SEL adds heated front seats, heated mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat (six-way power for the passenger seat), dual-zone climate control, two USB ports and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Highlights of the standard features in the top-of-the-line Flex Limited include perforated leather-covered first- and second-row seats, a power liftgate, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Xenon headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with solid wood inlays and cruise/audio controls, LED taillights, ambient lighting, power-adjustable pedals, a Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link and a 12-speaker premium Sony Audio System. The list continues from there.
For buyers looking to put their personal stamps on their new Flex, the roster of optional equipment is just as crowded. Twin bucket seats are available in place of the standard second-row bench, as are a multi-panel Vista Roof™ and rear-view camera. Available Inflatable Safety Belts for the second row are class exclusives and help reduce the risk of injuries to the head, neck and chest.
The Titanium Appearance Package – available on the Limited – delivers such exclusives as a black painted roof, leather trimmed seats with gray perforated leather inserts and 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with black premium painted pockets.
The editors at Automobile magazine declared the new Flex “a compelling alternative to a minivan or large SUV,” crediting the crossover’s “smart styling, generous interior room and pleasant driving experience.” When you’re ready for the crossover that delivers everything you need in a full-size family vehicle – and gets the job done with a sense of style that’s second to none – contact us to schedule a test drive of the new 2013 Ford Flex.