The original Ford Flex was introduced in 2009, and at the time, many journalists were confused by what type of a vehicle it was, and many of them weren’t big fans of the design (but hey, what do they know?). I personally liked the design from the beginning; I’m a big fan of vehicles with straight lines and boxy design. To me, the Ford Flex is a modern day take on the classic surf wagons. So if you’re also confused about what category the Flex fits in, it’s quite simple; the Ford Flex Platinum is a blend between a car (station wagon), a minivan, and an SUV – pretty simple right? All blended with in with some cool retro-styling.
From the outside, the Flex looks very low but when you stand next to it, the roof is quite high, I parked it next to a Ford Ranger truck and the Flex’s roof was higher than the Ranger’s. The Flex has the space of a minivan and the looks an SUV and can carry 7 passengers. So is the Ford Flex the right vehicle for you? Read the rest of the article and you can make a decision based on my experience.
When I first picked up the Flex, I was like holy crap, this car is huge!! I’m used to driving small cars and was pretty overwhelmed by the sheer size of this thing. The first two days were very nerve-racking because I didn’t want to hit cars when I was parking and tried to avoid parking in crowded lots. Day 3 is when I heard a voice in my head saying “
Luke Faisal, use the force technology”, and boy did I ever use the technology!
Don’t be fooled by the retro looks, the Flex is loaded with technology which made driving and parking the car pretty easy. In fact, I almost forgot how big this thing was. Parking lots became my playgrounds and I was backing in this bad boy every chance I got. I felt rather liberated and never will I fear another big car ever again! (As long as the car has lots of tech-assists).
The 2013 Flex has a starting price of $29,499 in Canada, the one we test drove was the top of the line Platinum edition with the optional Titanium appearance package which includes 20″ wheels and a black roof; the Flex was loaded with every optional offered and the price on our car was $55,549 (not including delivery and taxes). This is a lot of money but it comes with options that are found in luxury vehicles that are priced $20k-$30k more. For me to list all the options this car has would take a long time but I’ll highlight some of them below:
- Heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats.
- SYNC with MyFordTouch – voice controlled navigation, climate, phone, and entertainment system.
- Adaptive cruise control/collision warning
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
- Push-button start, rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights, power liftgate, power folding 3rd row seats, and much more.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t mind the styling on the Flex, it has nice long lines and it looks like nothing else on the road, which is a good thing in my opinion. The Flex gets a new sleek looking front fascia for 2013, which for some reason reminds of TRON. Could it really be inspired by TRON? Perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, and only the designers at Ford know the answer to that.
The interior is very comfortable with lots of room; it feels very open especially with the massive optional panorama roof. There is a lot of room in the 2nd row and 3rd row seats. The seating position on the 3rd row is a little weird; the seats seem to be too low to the ground. When you sit down, your knees are almost at chest level. The 3rd row seats can be flipped backwards, at the touch of a button, that creates tailgate seating for sitting in parking lots or at sporting events, they work great in theory but if you’re 5’ 8” or taller, your view will be blocked by the back of the roof.
Although the interior is luxurious, there are some hard plastic parts on the door panels which I wasn’t too big of a fan of; a car that cost almost $60,000 should come with soft touch materials, even if it’s plastic.
Other than that, I liked the interior; it has a very clean look to it. The center console features a big 8” touchscreen display with touch sensitive buttons below it. I didn’t like these touch sensitive buttons, they didn’t feel natural but I didn’t have to use the buttons much because everything can be controlled with the touchscreen or voice command. The voice command is pretty awesome; a lot of the journalists say it’s too complicated but for tech savvy Unfinished Men, it shouldn’t take more than a day or two to master it. The voice command controls the navigation system, cabin temperature, phone, and the entertainment system; you’ll never have to take your eyes off the road once you get to understand how the system works. The funny thing is, I was talking to the “dumb” navigation system in my car after spending a week with the Flex, and sadly, it never responded.
Our top of the line Flex Platinum came with All-Wheel drive and was powered by the EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine producing 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. This is a lot of power to move this big vehicle easily; it’s perfect for passing on the highway and makes a very good road trip vehicle with all your buddies. When you put it in the “Sport” mode, the throttle response changes a lot and it feels a lot more powerful, I’ve put many cars into “S” mode before but never felt as much of a power difference as I did with the Flex. Our car also came with the Class III trailer tow package, so if you want to take that boat to the lake, the Flex should be able to handle it easily.
The Flex handles pretty good; it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a big vehicle. It’s easy to maneuver around in tight city streets and feels solid on bumpy, pot hole filled streets. The AWD system was pretty impressive as well and it came handy on our wet roads, here in the Pacific North West.
Improvements/Things I Didn’t Like
There isn’t too much I didn’t like about the 2013 Ford Flex, there are a few minor things that could be approved upon.
- No heated steering wheel – a car in this price range should come with a heated steering wheel, especially considering that it already comes with heated and cooled seats. It’s not too big of a deal but a cold steering wheel doesn’t feel too good in winter.
- No front parking sensors – the Flex comes with lots of sensors but they’re in the back, with a rear camera. Those sensors come in really handy when parking but I think there also needs to be front sensors to know when you’re getting too close to a parked car or a wall.
- Turn signal lever – some people don’t even notice the turn signal lever on cars but for me the lever on the Flex was the most annoying part, I couldn’t get used to it after driving this thing for 8 days and hundreds of kilometers. In most cars, when you want to turn your signal on, you push the lever up or down but in the Flex you have to just click it up or down to go right or left. It always stays in the same position and you really have to push it up hard and in doing so, I hit the high beams on numerous occasions, pissing off oncoming traffic. I think a regular/normal turn signal lever would make life easier and probably costs less.
Overall the 2013 Ford Flex Platinum is a nice vehicle with styling that will make you stand out wherever you go. It’s a great vehicle for carrying lots of passengers in comfort or for carrying lots of cargo. It comes with lots of power and pretty good fuel economy and all the technology one could want in a vehicle. If I were in the market for a large people mover, my options are limited to SUVs and minivans; big SUVs don’t drive as nicely and mini vans…well, let’s just say we wouldn’t want to be caught dead driving one of those. So the Flex would be on top of my list of vehicles to consider, click here to check out the 2013 Ford Flex Platinum and play around with the different trims that are offered.