A sleeker new face, a more potent standard engine and the latest version of the MyFord Touch infotainment system share top billing on an impressive "what's new" list for the revamped 2013 Ford Flex that's making its first public appearance in LA.

The most obvious change involves a significant tweaking the Flex's front fascia that gives this distinctively styled seven-passenger crossover a less angular visage. In addition to knocking off a few of the hardest edges - a rethink Ford tactfully notes "creates more visual harmony between the front and the rest of the vehicle" - it brings a cleaner, single-element grille treatment, a revised headlamp design and dispenses with the Blue Oval center badge in favor of having the Flex name spelled out in chrome letters on the hood itself. While the rear end maintains the status quo look, it does gain standard dual exhaust outlets. Top-line Limited and SEL models also will offer a new Appearance Package that adds leather upholstery, upgraded trim, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels and a two-tone roof and mirrors.

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In a move that will boost performance and economy, the new base 3.5-liter V6 engine in the 2013 Flex features Ford's Ti-VCT (twin-independent variable camshaft timing) system. In addition to raising horsepower from 265 to 285, the changeover also nets a plus-one increase to both its EPA city and highway numbers, which will now clock in at 18 mpg and 25 mpg, respectively, and the front-drive version. For those seeking a bit more muscle, the optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 continues to crank out 355 horses in the AWD Flex.

Although the interior on the 2013 Ford Flex does boast revised seat fabrics, restyled gauges and some new trim bits, the key upgrade in its spacious inner sanctum comes in the form of the new and improved MyFord Touch package. The 2013 Flex will be one of the first vehicles in the automaker's lineup to benefit from a comprehensive series of changes that have given MyFord Touch a more user-friendly interface and enhanced functionality.

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