2010 Ford Flex SEL AWDPosted on September 9th, 2009
Seven-passenger crossover gets Ford’s new EcoBoost engine
By Nina Russin
The name says it all: the Ford Flex offers the versatility to haul a bunch of people and their gear in a surprisingly stylish package. Features such as Ford Sync, keypad entry, an available panoramic sunroof and refrigerated center console give the Flex a competitive edge against other vehicles in its segment. Last year’s model won our ALV Best Value award for 2009.
This year Ford adds a host of new technologies, including the six-cylinder EcoBoost engine, also featured on the Ford Taurus SHO. The engine uses twin turbochargers to boost engine power under load. Because turbochargers increase the amount of air entering the engine, they also enhance fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The idea is to duplicate the power of a V8 engine with much better gas mileage.
The EcoBoost engine produces 355 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque: 25 percent more power than the base Duratec V6. A six-speed automatic transmission comes with paddle controls on the steering wheel for manual gear selection.
An electric power assist steering system comes with the engine upgrade. A pull-drift compensation feature measures the driver’s steering input, and automatically compensates for slight directional shifts due to crowned roads or crosswinds.
Three available grades
Buyers can choose from the base SE grade that falls within our best value category, or two upscale models: SEL and Limited. The Limited model is the most luxurious, with standard leather upholstery, a voice-activated navigation system with reverse camera, 19-inch wheels and an upgraded audio system.
The test car is the SEL all-wheel drive model, upgraded with a convenience package and 20-inch aluminum wheels. MSRP is $39,940, putting this Flex within our luxury class. Standard convenience features include a ten-way power heated driver’s seat and six-way heated power front passenger seat, dual-zone climate controls, Sirius satellite radio and fold-flat second and third-row seats.
All models come with Ford’s keypad entry system, which allows passengers to enter the car using a numeric code. Numerals are hidden in the B pillar until the user runs his hand over the area to illuminate them.
Unlike keyless entry systems that require the use of a pod, the keypad allows multiple passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. It’s great for a group of athletes sharing the car, since it gives everyone access to their gear, while keeping the car locked.
Ford’s capless fuel filler system eliminates a piece of hardware, and maintains a better seal around the filler neck. Current emissions standards require the car’s on-board computer to illuminate a check engine light if the driver replaces the fuel cap incorrectly. The capless system does away with these false alarms that inevitably confuse the driver.
All-wheel drive enhances wet weather traction
Available all-wheel drive enhances the car’s performance on wet roads. The all-wheel drive system uses electro-mechanical clutches to transfer torque to the rear wheels. I would recommend it for buyers in climates that see a lot of rain or snow.
The Flex is a heavy car with a long wheelbase and wide track: the front-wheel drive version weighs 4471 pounds. While front-wheel drive cars maintain some traction in snow due to weight over the drive axle, they also tend to understeer or push in the corners. It’s possible to correct for understeer, but doing so requires some experience and finesse on the part of the driver. Given its size and weight, the Flex would be a hard vehicle to drive out of understeer if it comes unglued from the road.
When a late-summer rainstorm soaked the freeway I was driving on, I was able to experience the all-wheel drive system for myself. The system helped me to maintain directional control in areas where standing water covered part of all of my lane.
The car’s wide greenhouse gives the driver better-than average visibility. Large side and rear windows minimize blind spots. A standard rear wiper keeps the back glass clear during a storm.
Having driven last year’s model, I could feel the difference between the new EcoBoost engine and the base V6 block. Although Ford doesn’t publish zero-to-sixty times, there is a significant improvement during hard acceleration. Despite its weight, the Flex excels in the twenty-to-fifty mile-per-hour range, critical for merging onto a highway.
Four-wheel disc brakes with standard antilock braking stop the car in a firm, linear fashion. A four-wheel independent suspension provides a compliant ride, while maintaining some road feel for the driver.
Surfboards and bicycles fit inside
The Flex’s versatile interior can accommodate extremely large cargo, thanks to a fold-flat front passenger seat. Both second and third-row seats fold flat as well, using levers to the sides of the second-row seat bottoms and straps behind the seats in back. When the two back rows are folded flat, they create an even, uninterrupted cargo floor. I can easily fit both my road and mountain bikes inside.
A switch on the right C pillar tumbles the second-row seat forward, easing access to the third row. I was able to fit in the back seats with adequate leg and headroom. Taller adults will be more comfortable in the first or second rows.
Adjustable pedals and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel accommodate smaller drivers. Two-position driver’s seat memory on the test car allows multiple drivers to share the car.
The steering wheel includes volume controls, telephone interface and cruise control buttons to minimize driver distraction. The Ford Sync system allows the driver to use voice commands to control the car’s convenience features.
Dual reading lamps over all three rows of seating illuminate the interior at night. All passengers have access to cupholders: in the center console, behind the center console bin, and outboard of the third-row seats. All four doors have map and bottle holders.
Theater-style seating gives passengers in back a clear view of the road. A second-row bench seat holds up to three passengers, although the car’s floor tunnel limits legroom in the middle position.
There are three, twelve-volt power outlets: in the center console bin, behind the bin and in the cargo area. A 110-volt outlet behind the center console allows second-row passengers to plug in a computer or electronic games.
All cars come with front, side and side curtain airbags, keyless entry, a reverse sensing system, traction and roll stability control. Ford builds the Flex at its Oakville assembly plant.
Likes: A versatile, seven passenger crossover vehicle with exceptional cargo capability and towing up to 4500 pounds. The new EcoBoost engine enhances power without sacrificing fuel economy.
Dislikes: A 40.7 foot turning radius makes it difficult to do a U-turn.
Model: Flex SEL AWD
Base price: $36,115
As tested: $39,940
Horsepower: 355 Hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 350 lbs.-ft @ 1500-5250 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 16/22 mpg city/highway
Comments: Ford recommends the use of premium fuel with the EcoBoost engine.
3 responses to “2010 Ford Flex SEL AWD”
Fantastic site, where did you come up with the knowledge in this blog? Im happy I found it though, ill be checking back soon to see what other articles you have.
i have lots of mountain bike accidents so i am done biking right now-.,
mountain bikes with carbon fibers are very tough and they are very light too `
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