The 2013 Ford Flex is the latest edition of the Blue Oval's full-size retro-themed crossover. Whereas some automakers elected to go big and burly with their big crossovers, Ford went long - and square - and created one of the most unique designs on the market. The Ford Flex benefits from a soft refresh for 2013 that brings with it some changes to exterior styling as well as a number of improvements in terms of available equipment.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Ford Flex.
01. The 2013 Ford Flex Is A Tall Wagon
The 2013 Ford Flex doesn't really resemble any other vehicle in its class thanks to its long, flat roof, slab sides and squared off corners. The Ford Flex was initially conceived as a tribute to the surf wagons of the 1960s, and for 2013 the vehicle has been given a number of design updates that bring it closer to modern aesthetics while still respecting its classic roots. The vehicle's fascia now features a single bar grille with the letters FLEX affixed to the leading edge of the hood, new headlights and a front bumper that curves upwards to meet the fenders in a manner that softens the crossover's overall appearance. Not exactly sleek, but certainly less T-square-inspired than the model that preceded it, the 2013 Ford Flex strikes a balance that aims to draw in more conservative-minded shoppers.
02. The 2013 Ford Flex Is A Capable Crossover
While it might resemble a wagon from the outside - and from behind the wheel, thanks to its car-like ride and sedan-based chassis - the 2013 Ford Flex is exceptionally gifted when it comes to taking care of crossover business. The Ford Flex can swallow up to seven passengers when its second and third row of seating are ordered in bench configuration, and while opting for middle-row captain's chairs drops that number to six, comfort and passenger room increase to make up for the missing slot. Folding those accommodations forward opens up 83 cubic feet of total cargo space, and when properly equipped the vehicle can tow a healthy 4,500 lbs of trailer weight.
03. The 2013 Ford Flex Comes With V-6 Power
Standard across the 2013 Ford Flex lineup is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that can be counted on to provide 285 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque - 23 extra ponies and 7 more lb-ft when compared against the 2012 model. A six-speed automatic transmission is included free of charge with the base motor, and all-wheel drive can be added as an option.
The Ford Flex EcoBoost provides crossover shoppers with a significant power upgrade that gives the automobile a much sportier feel from behind the wheel thanks to the introduction of a twin-turbocharged edition of the same six-cylinder motor. Rated at 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of twist, this unit is also managed by a six-speed autobox and puts it power to the pavement via standard all-wheel drive. The Flex EcoBoost is capable of reaching 60-mph from a standing start in a quick six seconds.
04. The 2013 Ford Flex Offers EcoBoost Fuel Efficiency
The 2013 Ford Flex is a fairly frugal SUV at the fuel pump, especially when considering the extra horsepower that is made available through the EcoBoost V-6. The entry-level Ford Flex returns fuel mileage of 18-mpg around town and 25-mpg on the highway when found in front-wheel drive trim, and 17-mpg in city driving and 23-mpg during highway cruising when all-wheel drive is specified. Choosing to equip the Flex with the EcoBoost drivetrain allows the crossover to nearly match the consumption of the all-wheel drive, naturally-aspirated edition of the vehicle. Despite bringing 70 additional horses to the party, along with nearly 100 lb-ft more torque, it posts a fuel economy rating of 16-mpg in stop and go driving and 21-mnpg on the highway.
05. The 2013 Ford Flex Can Be Had In Three Trim Levels
The 2013 Ford Flex starts out in SE trim, which comes with an extensive list of no-cost gear including air conditioning, cruise control, parking assistance, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch rims and a CD player. Opting for the Flex SEL brings with it a number of additional luxuries such as heated seats, power adjustments for both forward positions, dual automatic climate control, heated mirrors and 18-inch wheels. The Ford Flex Limited is the best turned-out of the trio, adding another inch to the automobile's rim size, slathering the interior with leather upholstery across the front two rows, installing a navigation system and an upgraded stereo system along with a rearview camera and providing keyless entry and a power assist feature for the tailgate.
06. The 2013 Ford Flex Lists Extensive Optional Equipment
Like many of its competitors, the 2013 Ford Flex can be customized with a wide variety of different options. Multiple sunroof panels are available through the Vista Roof feature and it is also possible to install a refrigerated center console in between the two middle-row captain's chairs, suitable for keeping snacks and beverages chilled on a road trip. Power-folding third row seats add extra convenience to the crossover, while heated second row seats and a ventilated seat feature for the driver and front passenger improve on comfort. On the outside, the Flex can be dressed up with enormous 20-inch alloy rims as well as roof rails, and the vehicle can even park on its own if the self-parallel parking option is ordered.
07. The 2013 Ford Flex Features Advanced Connectivity
The 2013 Ford Flex comes with the Ford SYNC vehicle interface as standard equipment. This system allows for the easy integration of the automobile's infotainment system with mobile devices such as smartphones and music players by way of Bluetooth or USB. SYNC also allows for hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to control various vehicle features via the use of voice commands.
New for 2013 is the introduction of an enhanced version of the MyFord Touch system, which replaces traditional gauges such as the speedometer with a series of LCD panels that can display several different configurable groupings of vehicle information. These touchscreens - two directly in front of the driver and one on the center stack - are available on the Flex SEL and the Flex Limited.
08. The 2013 Ford Flex Gains Significant Safety Upgrades
The 2013 Ford Flex offers all of the safety gear one would expect in a modern crossover, including forward airbags, side curtain airbags that protect passengers along the entire length of the cabin, and side impact airbags mounted to the vehicle's front seats. The Flex can also be had with several intriguing safety technologies such as a blind spot warning system that can also detect traffic coming from either side of the automobile while it is reversing out of a parking spot, and a collision warning system that is tied into the Flex's adaptive cruise control system. Second row passengers additionally benefit from the availability of industry-first inflatable seatbelts.
09. The 2013 Ford Flex Is Fun To Drive
When ordered in EcoBoost trim the 2013 Ford Flex is gifted with more than just an exceptionally powerful engine for its class. The Flex Ecoboost also gains a modified suspension system that has been tuned to lessen body roll through the corners thanks to a lower ride height combined with stiffer springs. This makes the large crossover more entertaining to pilot than might be expected when the road turns twisty. EcoBoost also adds electric power steering that offers the unique ability to correct for road crowning by automatically detecting a pull on the front wheels and activating a 'drift compensation' feature - great for avoiding fatigue on longer drives.
10. The 2013 Ford Flex Is An Intriguing Alternative Family Hauler
The 2013 Ford Flex is not a personality-devoid minivan single-mindedly task-focused on getting the kids to school, soccer practice or the orthodontist. Nor is the Flex a gargantuan sport-utility vehicle designed to cross streams, blast through mud and tow a horse trailer. Instead, Ford has created a crossover vehicle that looks unique, offers a ride that is a cut above standard people hauler fare and is available in a lightning-quick EcoBoost model that barely sucks down more fuel than the standard-issue all-wheel drive model. The Ford Flex is a crossover for drivers who never thought they would get behind the wheel of this class of vehicle, which is quite the complement in a crowded segment.