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2013 Ford Flex Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 1 review
Though still a bit quirky, the 2013 version of the Ford Flex has just a bit less of the edginess it once boasted. Softer corners and a distinctly un-Ford-like nose with a solid chrome band, svelte headlights…and no more Blue Oval, gives this year’s version of the automaker’s well-received 7-passenger crossover a nearly Range Rover-like appearance, while the standard V6 gets 23 more ponies and 7 more lb-ft of torque. The upscale Titanium trim has also been dropped from the lineup, leaving for now the base SE, midlevel SEL and top-shelf Limited trim selections. A bunch of revamped amenities and gizmos are also offered this year, including available MyFord Touch electronics integration, remote keyless entry and ignition, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System), automated parking assist, adaptive cruise control and power-adjustable telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Finally, electric power steering is now standard across the lineup. Of course, all trims are once again available in all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions, with front-wheel drive (FWD) the standard configuration. All trims come with standard three-row seating, and cargo area remains 83.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
As usual, Ford’s large crossover gets some competition from the likes of its Explorer kinfolk, not to mention G.M.’s roomier Acadia, Enclave and Traverse offerings, and from Dodge’s muscular Durango, too. For those who are into gizmos and gadgets, however, the Flex offers more than its share, with some nifty moves and a quiet ride to boot.
The up-powered 3.5-liter variable-valve-timed V6 is delivered with all trims and combines with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission for 285 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated mileage is 18 mpg city/25 highway in FWD trims, and 17/23 in AWD variants. The Limited, meantime, can be delivered with an available 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission that features steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The turbocharged six-banger is available only with AWD, thus mileage drops to 16/23, burning recommended premium unleaded. Adding the available Class III towing package with trailer sway control to either engine choice will top out trailer-towing capacity at around 5,000 pounds, while full-time AWD trims are managed by a mechanical limited-slip center differential.
Standard appearance, comfort and convenience features for the base 2013 Flex SE include 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, fold-flat front passenger seat and reclining second-row seating. Digital keypad power door locks, along with power windows and outside mirrors are again standard, while cruise control, rear parking sensors, SYNC audio and communications interface, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering complement a trip computer and SYNC-based voice-only directions capability. Finally, an MP3-capable single-CD player drives 6 speakers, and standard Bluetooth hands-free capabilities complement phone pre-wiring.
The SEL, meanwhile, adds 18-inch alloys to the mix, along with heated front seats and outside mirrors, a universal remote garage door opener, tri-zone climate control and simulated wood cabin trim accents. This midlevel trim also throws in standard satellite radio service, a memory card slot and a USB connection for enhanced listening pleasure.
The high-end Limited, furthermore, boasts standard 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a power rear liftgate, memory for driver's settings and a rear-view camera, as well as 390-watt Sony premium audio with 12 speakers.
Rear-seat DVD entertainment is available lineup-wide, as are a roof rack with side rails and a second-row console that comes in handy, but limits seating to 6 passengers. With the SE and SEL eligible for a number of items that are standard for the Limited, look for such available extras as voice-activated GPS, the posh Titanium Package (with 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, MyFord Touch/SYNC interface with touch-screen displayes, upgraded leather and unique cabin trim) and power-adjustable pedals on both the higher trims. The Limited, finally, is additionally eligible for an available refrigerated second-row console and multi-panel Vista Sunroof with power-opening front moonroof, not to mention Adaptive Cruise Control and, for those who find parallel parking a chore, Active Parking Assist.
Safety-wise, the 2013 Flex sports standard 4-wheel antilock braking (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and three-row head airbags, just for starters. All trims also boast dusk-sensing headlights, a post-collision safety system, remote antitheft alarm and, with the subscription to Ford’s SYNC system, airbag deployment notification. Both the SEL and Limited are delivered with standard front fog/driving lights, while the Limited additionally boasts xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. Finally, the BLIS blind spot warning system is optional across the lineup, as are inflatable second-row seatbelts.
Owners of the 2012 Flex complain mainly of less-than-perfect brakes, some issues with SYNC voice-directions navigation, a few oddly placed cabin storage areas and cupholders, and a lack of turn-signal-integrated mirrors. On the plus side, most folks are pleased with the oomph from the turbocharged EcoBoost V6 when combined with its well-mannered 6-speed shiftable transmission. Handling, quietness and the plethora of high-tech goodies, gremlins and all, are each found praiseworthy in the 2012 Flex, while it’ll be interesting to see if the new upgrades will relieve some of the previous contentiousness regarding this hefty crossover’s unique look.
by Eric Tallberg
Talk about the 2013 Ford Flex
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