Since the Ford Flex hit the market in 2009, it has been one of the automakers lowest selling cars to date; however, this years version sets out to turn that trend around. The 2013 model is newly designed to incorporate impressive changes that Ford hopes will bring it out of the slump and set sales souring. If you see it from the side or rear, the only change is the shifting of the logo but from the front, it’s another story. This year the vehicle looks classier than ever with a stunning new grille, more attractive headlight design, and the new model name adornment. It’s one of the best 8 passenger vehicles in 2013.
Upgrades to the interior are also quite significant. The unattractive four-spoke steering wheel, has been replaced by a substantially nicer three-spoke style. They also added entirely new gauges that set the speedometer directly in the center of the panel, making it much easier to read. The dashboard also saw some significant changes. The navigation panel is now much larger, the visibility is of higher quality, the raised buttons have been replaced by a soft, inset design, and the system employs the latest version of the MyFord touch navigation software. This has created a cleaner and smother look than ever before.Despite that fact that the interior still offers a luxurious and roomy seven-passenger layout, as well as auto, fold-flat, third-row seats that maximize cargo space to 83 cubic feet, there have been significant additions that fuel noise elimination. Adorned with sound-reduction materials in the dashboard, front shock towers, hood, and the lining of the rear wheel housings, the 2013 Ford Flex is now 15% quieter.
When tested, the passengers in the third row had absolutely no issue trying to speak to those in the first row without raising their voice; this is much more impressive than last years model.The 2013 version may look just as conservative as the ones before; however, this year, Ford has managed to add much needed horsepower to both of their engine offerings. Moving down the road at a much more impressive speed, the base model motor is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers 287 hp when at 6500 rpm and 254 pounds of torque when reaching 4000 rpm. The six-speed, auto transmission also allows the driver to switch between 2 and 4 wheel drive with great ease. In two wheel mode, the basic Flex engine achieves around 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, but when engaged in 4 wheel function, those numbers reduce to 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
The second engine option is the most sought of the two. This 3.5-liter, EcoBoost V6 engine is capable of producing 365 hp at 5500 rpm and 350 pounds of torque between 1500 and 5250 rpm. This definitely helps this car move quickly, reaching 60 mph in 3 seconds rather than the previous 6. The extra power also has very little effect on fuel economy; however, because of its all-wheel drive function, the EcoBoost engine only achieves 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. http://carhero.org
Other new options and safety features include improved 4-wheel disc brakes, keyless entry with push button start, blind-spot warning system, a tilting-and-telescoping column, inflatable rear seat belts, collision warning cruise control, curve control, and torque vectoring. Pricing of the 2013 Flex starts at $30,885 for the front-wheel drive SE model; however, the better-equipped SEL model runs about $33,225 and the all-wheel drive SEL comes in at $35,175. All-in-all, this years new Flex is much more impressive than in years past and if you don’t mind the boxy, station-wagon look, it’s definitely a superior buy.