Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Flexing the Form & Fun Factor of the 2013 Ford Flex SEL AWD

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Back in 2010, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Ford Flex. I always had my eye on this unique looking SUV/Crossover. It truly is sort of a blend between both of these styles. The distinct body reminded me of the old Woodie style and as I mention in my video review below, I really think that the Flex would be right at home carrying a longboard to the beach somewhere.

HTD-2012-Ford-Flex-196

Fast forward to 2012 and my family and I got to drive the 2013 Ford Flex SEL AWD up to Lake Tahoe. We took several mini roadtrips around the lake and truly got to enjoy the fun and flexibility that makes up the Flex.

I didn’t immediately notice to many large changes to the design. It still has the elongated boxy look and, unfortunately, it still has limited rear cargo space for luggage. But there were some other more subtle changes that are worth mentioning. For starters, the middle row now comes equipped with inflatable seat belts. This is something that my kids actually pointed out to me. Another nice addition are the sunroofs. Our particular Flex had four of them, one main one that opened over the front seat, two middle ones with individual shades and one large one in the rear with a shade as well. It really conveyed the feeling of being in a convertible.

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Before jumping into some more specifics, be sure to look at the video review below (also available directly on YouTube).

The Ford Flex was introduced in 2007 with sales beginning in 2008 so Ford has had a few years now to refine the design, the engine and the drive experience. As I mentioned, new safety features have been added. The front grill has been redesigned a bit as well. Here is the 2010 version:

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And the 2013 update:

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Also, the Sony Entertainment system has received some refinement as well, for the better. It’s incredibly easy to manage your audio in the Sony-equipped model. The 2010 model had lots of buttons and dials:

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While the 2013 has all actions focused around the the center dial.

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Do note, the Sony change is not something new to this year, it’s just the difference that I noticed between 2013 and 2010 models. However, a big change is the inclusion of the Ford SYNC/MyFord Touch which, in my opinion, is great to have. Ford, in my mind, continues to push the envelop when it comes to technology in the automobile. I do wish, however, that the particular model that I test drove had GPS. It did not – the GPS region of the MyFord Touch merely had a compass, which I think is a huge waste of technology space. The MyFord Touch is divided into 4 color-coded quadrants: Phone (yellow), Information (green), Entertainment (red) and Climate (blue).

HTD-2012-Ford-Flex-226 HTD-2012-Ford-Flex-224

Comfort-wise, the Flex continues to impress me. The model that we drove was a 6 seater, with each occupant having their own isolated seat. For a family of 5, it’s perfect to bring along a friend, but not suddenly becoming the transportation vehicle for the whole neighborhood the way something larger might become. Also, having a spare rear seat to fold down allows for there to be more storage space (as I mentioned) since the Flex, because of its design, is lacking. A vehicle that size and with that seating capacity should simply have more space.

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Luckily, all of the seats in the rear two rows fold down so that if you really wanted to haul a lot of cargo, you could.

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The engine is solid, producing 285 horsepower as a 3.5 liter V6. It’s powerful and it accelerates well. Despite its large size, it doesn’t handle like a boat. It doesn’t sway as you turn, it actually feels pretty solid. You can put the 6-speed automatic in fully automatic mode or put it in “manual” to be able to manually “shift” your gears. The gas mileage is about what is expected for a vehicle of this size: 19 average City/Highway – 17 city and 23 highway. We got about 19.

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I appreciate how it seems like all of the Ford vehicles are moving toward the cap-less fuel area. It’s just one less thing that you have to think about.

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My family loved the multiple sunroofs and moon roofs as I mentioned. The front sunroof covered the front seat roofline and it fully opens. The middle seat row has 2 “individual” moonroofs that have shades and the rear row has a full width moonroof with shades as well.

HTD-2012-Ford-Flex-220

A nice little touch is the ability to adjust the distance of the pedals. While you can move the seat forward and back, up and down, as well as adjust the angle of the steering wheel, shorter or taller drivers will appreciate the fact that you can also increase and decrease the distance of the pedals.

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Apart from the pictures in this quick review, you can also see my full Flickr set here. Below is a video montage of the same pictures (available directly on YouTube as well):

For me, the 2013 Ford Flex is a distinct looking vehicle that simply exudes “fun” from all angles. Standing still, it looks like it is waiting to head to the beach or the mountains or a tailgating party. It stands out as being a vehicle that is ready to entertain. Apart from the limited cargo space and the lack of a GPS in this particular model, I love the Flex. I would look to getting one fully loaded to appreciate your investment. The base price of the 2013 Flex SEL AWD is $35,175. The model that I tested, which had optional packages, topped the suggested MSRP out to $41,935. Throwing in the GPS will add a few more thousand to the price. For a family of 4, the Flex would be ideal. For my family of 5, it’s great for weekend road trips but if you want to go for a longer time, think about a roof rack or roof storage.

HTD-2012-Ford-Flex-195

HTD says: My love of the Ford Flex design hasn’t wavered. It’s still great to look at and even more fun to drive.

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