What’s New: Ford’s Flex is all new for 2009, positioned alongside the brand’s Taurus X crossover and serving as an alternative to a range of vehicles, from the Toyota Highlander to the Honda Odyssey. With seating for up to seven passengers, a decent V-6 engine, available all-wheel drive, unique styling, and a 4,500-lb. tow capacity, the Flex should get plenty of consideration for suburban family duty.
What We Think: There’s a lot to like about the all-new Ford Flex, from its comfortable interior to its stand-alone styling and reasonable price. But there’s also plenty of room for improvement – like more third-row room, a more powerful and fuel-efficient V-6, and a tighter turning radius.
Ford Flex – 2009 Review: No matter what you are, who you are, or where you are, competition is something that’s guaranteed to be part of daily life. Think back to your high school days, where there were cool and uncool kids, to the working world where the charismatic become employed and the merely average are left to refine their resumes and read self-improvement books, to the dating world, one akin to a real-life rendition of musical chairs that is literally an exercise in survival of the fittest. Life, it seems, is one big competition.
For those who are not the strongest, smartest or sexiest, there are ways to beat the system. Of course, a fat wallet never hurts, but aside from that there’s the concept of originality – be your own person, dare to be different, and you just might earn equal parts attention and respect. Well, at least the attention part. We’re guessing it’s the mindset from which the 2009 Ford Flex was born, a rig that looks like the oversized uncle of the Scion xB and MINI Cooper Clubman. Having failed in the minivan market (Windstar, Freestar), and underperforming in the three-row crossover field (Freestyle, Taurus X), Ford has bucked convention with the introduction of its newest family hauler, one that’s not quite a minivan, not quite a crossover, not quite a station wagon, and not quite an SUV. Yet, it will battle them all – the Toyota Highlanders, Honda Odysseys, et al. – to be selected for placement in the suburban family garage.
For the most part, we’d argue that the Flex deserves to be there, especially if its owner refuses to see the unwavering practicality of a minivan. But with a turning radius courtesy of Greyhound, fuel economy averaging in the teens, and third-row space that benefits little from the Flex’s unique design, there’s proof that being different doesn’t necessarily translate to being better.