2013 Ford Flex Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Ford Flex is not your typical 7-passenger family vehicle, at least not if looks count for anything. Its long and boxy silhouette is reminiscent of the big station wagons of the 1960s and 1970s, plus it's lower to the ground than an SUV. And, while competitors like the Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Tahoe may tout their max towing or off-road ability, the Flex focusses on transporting people on paved surfaces. It's striking and stylish as well as functional and useful – a fine combination similar to minivans and SUVs in capabilities, but clearly different from both.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a family vehicle that is a modern equivalent of the classic American station wagon, the 2013 Ford Flex could be the one. It offers seating for six or seven, a range of models and prices, available all-wheel drive, and a turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need to tow more than 4,500 pounds or go venturing over rugged dirt tracks, the 2013 Ford Flex is not the best choice. The big V8-powered SUVs such as the Dodge Durango or Ford Expedition are better geared to these tasks, and may also offer more space inside.
For 2013, the Ford Flex gets a significant facelift with restyled front end, instrument panel and seats. There is a little more power in the base engine, manual shifting for the 6-speed automatic, new MyFord Touch, and several new available systems including parallel-parking assist and adaptive cruise control.
Driving the Flex
Despite its wide body and long wheelbase, the 2013 Ford Flex feels pleasingly maneuverable and responsive. Its poise through tight turns is really quite impressive, and its smooth ride and...
quiet interior add to the pleasant driving experience. Sway and body roll are kept in check by a taut suspension, big wheel and tire packages and the Flex's low-to-the-ground stance. The electric power steering has unusually good feel for such systems. Despite is boxy appearance, the Flex seems to slip through the air easily at freeway speeds, creating very little wind noise. The base 287-horsepower engine gives adequate acceleration but the EcoBoost's 365 horsepower is clearly quicker and adds an element of sportiness to the drive. And the 2013 Ford Flex's available all-wheel drive adds another level of assurance on slippery roads.
When fitted with the middle-row captain's chairs instead of the bench, the console between can be equipped with a built-in refrigerator that holds up to seven 12-ounce cans. And, with a low temperature of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, it can double as a mini ice cream cart.
SYNC COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM
Ford's SYNC communications system features a voice-activated command center that can access music from an attached MP3 player, answer and place calls from a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, and even read aloud incoming text messages.
2013 Ford Flex Details
Ford took pains to make the 2013 Flex someplace special. The inviting interior is functional, elegantly appointed and meticulously assembled. The restyle this year gives the instrument panel a clean and functional high-tech look, with the three screens for the new MyFord Touch system. Noteworthy features include the massive 4-panel Vista skylight. The 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats fold flat, but so does the right-front passenger seat, creating acres of cargo room. For hauling people, the front and middle rows provide spacious and comfy accommodations for four full-size adults, five in a pinch. Third-row occupants will find legroom snug.
The 2013 Ford Flex looks both functional and quirky, both edgy and timeless: Ford Country Squire wagon meets Mini Cooper. It's a box, for sure, but an elegantly detailed box, with aero-friendly contours around the edges and lower body. The new-this-year face is quite modernistic, with a strong horizontal character and the unusual decisions to downplay the headlights and put the Flex name in chrome across the nose. The aluminum-clad liftgate and optional contrasting-color roof are also strong visual elements. The Flex's flat, brick-like contours won't thrill everyone, but it's a distinctive and functional way to build a family hauler.
The 2013 Ford Flex comes in three trim levels: SE, SEL and Limited. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, a 6-way power driver's seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Reverse Sensing System, fog lights, front and rear air conditioning, an MP3-compatible CD player, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Moving up to the top-of-the-line Limited trim brings heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat with memory, Sony Premium audio with Ford SYNC communications system, voice-activated navigation, leather interior, a power-folding 3rd-row seat, and 19-inch aluminum wheels. Standard safety equipment on all models includes inflatable 2nd-row safety belts and 3-row side-curtain airbags.
Options for the Ford Flex vary by trim and include a 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 (Limited), all-wheel drive (SEL and Limited), rearview camera, power rear liftgate, heated 2nd-row seats with power Autofold mode, 2nd-row captain's-chair seating with center-console refrigerator, 4-panel Vista roof, a contrasting painted top, remote start, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and Park Assist active parallel parking aid.
Under the Hood
Depending on trim, Ford offers two engines and the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) on the 2013 Flex. The standard engine on all trims is a smooth and efficient 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing. Its 287 horsepower (modestly increased for 2013) is certainly adequate if not class-leading. Fuel economy is quite good with an estimated 17 mpg city and 24 highway. All-wheel-drive models earn slightly lower estimates. Optional on the Limited trim is the EcoBoost V6, which uses gasoline direct injection and twin turbochargers to produce an impressive 365 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission is used throughout, and the EcoBoost engine is offered only with AWD.
287 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
254 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 17/23 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
350 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500–5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
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