Ford Flex

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Not to be confused with Flexible-fuel vehicle .
Ford Flex
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production June 3, 2008–present[1]
Model years 2009–present
Assembly Oakville, Ontario, Canada (Oakville Assembly)
Designer Peter Horbury[2]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size Crossover SUV
Body style 5-door wagon
Layout Front engine, front wheel drive / all wheel drive
Platform D4 platform
Related Ford Explorer (2011-present)
sixth generation Ford Taurus
fifth generation Ford Taurus
Ford Five Hundred
Ford Taurus X
Lincoln MKS
Lincoln MKT
Powertrain
Engine 3.5 L Duratec V-6
3.5 L EcoBoost V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 117.9 in (2,990 mm)
Length 201.8 in (5,130 mm)
Width 2009-2012: 80.1 in (2,030 mm)
2013-: 75.9 in (1,930 mm)
Height 68 in (1,700 mm)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Freestyle
Ford Taurus X
Ford Flex rear

The Ford Flex is a full-size crossover utility vehicle (CUV)[3] manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Its styling is based on the Ford Fairlane concept unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. The production vehicle made its debut at the 2007 New York International Auto Show[4] Sales of the Flex began in summer of 2008 as a 2009 model.[5][6] The Flex is produced on the same assembly line as the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX mid-size CUVs at the Oakville Assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, where the first Flex was driven off the line at the beginning of June 2008.[1] The Flex replaced the Ford Freestar minivan and was the first CUV to feature both minivan and SUV properties, though it isn't a proper minivan. In addition, the Flex also replaced the similar Ford Taurus X, the station wagon variant of the Ford Taurus that was discontinued. The Flex is sold only in the United States, in Canada and in the Middle East. The Ford Flex shares a platform with the 2011–present Ford Explorer and the Lincoln MKT. The Flex, Explorer, and MKT all have a seating capacity for seven people.

Features[edit]

Interior[edit]

Ford Flex drivers compartment


The 2009 Ford Flex includes seven-passenger seating, including adjustable and removable footrests for second-row passengers. The second and third row seats fold flat into the floor. The vehicle includes a class-exclusive optional interior "mini-fridge" refrigerator in the middle console mounted between the second-row seats. A voice-activated communications and entertainment system, called Ford Sync, integrates the functions of cell phones, Sirius Satellite Radio, compact disc, DVD and other media players, navigation systems, and was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. The interior is lit with programmable "mood lighting" available in seven colors, along with a multi-panel Vista Roof, similar to that on the Ford Edge, for skylighting. The Navigation system has a built in hard drive for music and picture storage.[7]

Exterior[edit]

The Flex features a chrome, horizontal, three-bar grille design. The windows and pillars appear blacked out, and the roof is available as white, silver, or the same color as the rest of the body. The 2009MY SEL (optional) and Limited (standard) models offer LED tail lamps and BiXenon headlamps, and a "capless" fueling system without the traditional fuel door and cap, which provides better sealing to reduce evaporative emissions from the fuel tank.[8] For 2010MY, the BiXenon headlamps and LED tail lamps were no longer available on the SEL and remained standard on the Limited. The standard wheels are 17-inch (430 mm) diameter (SE), 18-inch (460 mm) diameter (SEL), 19-inch (480 mm) diameter (Limited) and 20-inch (510 mm) diameter versions available on the Limited or SEL with EcoBoost.

The Flex features a series of horizontal grooves on its side and rear panels, intended to evoke a Woodie look without using simulated wood. Car Design News said the styling references "a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues."[9]

Safety and security[edit]

A backup camera, mounted just above the bumper, allows the driver to see obstructions behind the vehicle, displayed on the 8-inch (200 mm) navigation display screen, whenever reverse gear is engaged. The navigation display was optional on the SEL and Limited models for 2009MY, but was no longer available for 2010MY on the SEL and became standard on the Limited (but still remained an option in Canada).[1] The Flex comes with Ford's AdvanceTrac traction control system with roll stability control which helps the driver maintain control on low traction surfaces and during emergency maneuvers. All-wheel-drive is available as an option.

Powertrain[edit]

The Ford Flex is powered by two different V6 engines.

The Flex's 3.5 L (213 cu in) Duratec V6 engine produces 262 hp (195 kW) and 248 lb·ft (336 N·m), and is paired with the 6-speed 6F automatic transmission.

A direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost version is available for the 2010 model.[10] The EcoBoost produces 355 hp (265 kW) and 350 lb·ft (470 N·m) of torque. According to Ford, the turbochargers in the engine are designed to last 150,000 miles (240,000 km) or 10 years.[11] AWD is required with the EcoBoost engine option. Towing capacity is 4,500 lb (2,000 kg). The all-wheel drive system is capable of transferring up to 100% of torque to the front or rear axle as needed.

Chassis[edit]

The Flex includes an independent rear suspension system. It is built on the Ford D4 platform, a reengineered and enlarged version of the Ford D3 platform which underpins the 2005-2007 Five Hundred/Freestyle, 2008-2009 Taurus/Taurus X, 2009 Lincoln MKS and 2010 Ford Taurus. This chassis was in turn based on the Volvo P2 platform. The Ford Flex shares the same chassis as the 2011/12 Ford Explorer.

Active Park Assist[edit]

Offered on the Flex is Ford's Active Park Assist system, which finds and measures a suitable parking space, then operates the steering wheel to accomplish the parallel parking task. This feature uses software control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system in response to inputs provided by ultrasonic sensors. A competing camera-based system from Lexus takes three times as long.[12] As of the 2012 model, the park assist is only available with models that come equipped with the Ecoboost engine.

2013 refresh[edit]

2013 Ford Flex

The 2013 Flex made its world debut at the 2011 LA Auto Show. For its fifth year on the market, Ford changed the front and rear of the Flex while leaving the roofline intact.[13] A single-bar grille replaced the three-bar grille, spreading into the headlight clusters. Instead of the blue-oval Ford logo, "F-L-E-X" was added to the front edge of the hood (this was also present in the pre-facelift Titanium trim). In the rear, the tailgate was redesigned; the Ford logo was moved from the center to bottom right with trim level to bottom left instead of top left. Inside, the Flex received the SYNC/MyFord Touch electronic dashboard and driver interface seen in the Focus, Edge, and Explorer.[13] A 3-spoke steering wheel was added along with manual-shifting capability for its 6-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood, the naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 increases in output to 285 hp.[13] A minor but welcome change was the addition of a fold down center arm rest with cup holders that was integrated into the middle seat in the second row on Flexes that were in the bench seat configuration. This was also the first time that Ford would offer the Flex with rear heated seats.

2014 Model Year Changes[edit]

Given the major updates in 2013, the changes for 2014 are minor. The 4-way headrests are standard on the SE model, and a Monochromatic roof is optional on the "Titanium" trim package.[14]

Marketing[edit]

As part of the 'electrifying the night' campaign, Ford partnered with Esquire magazine in the magazine's first issue with a cover using E Ink technology.[15]

Sales in the United States[edit]

Year Sales
2008 14,457[16]
2009 38,717[17]
2010 34,227[18]
2011 27,428[19]
2012 28,224[20]
2013 25,953[21]

Reception[edit]

As of October 2010, the Flex is listed as the number 3 affordable mid-sized SUVs in US News behind the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse.[22] The Flex Ecoboost is also the first ranked large affordable SUV according to Consumer Reports.[23][not in citation given] It is also ranked the most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's most reliable vehicle as ranked by Consumer Reports.[24] Ford Flex AWD was ranked highest of large SUVs by the percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again.[25]

However, the Flex has not been as successful as original ambitions expected, with sales of less than half the target of 100,000[26] vehicles that Ford had expected to sell each year. Ford Flex sold 38,717[27] cars in 2009 compared to three larger competitors sales of 43,150 for the Buick Enclave, 91,074 for the Chevrolet Traverse and 83,118 for the Toyota Highlander in the same year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "New Ford Flex rolls off line at Oakville Assembly". Media.Ford.com. June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  2. ^ Kelly, Kevin M (June 2008). "Richard Gresens: from trains, planes and … vacuum cleaners: the designer of the Ford Flex finds influence in some unexpected places". Automotive Design & Production. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  3. ^ http://www.ford.com/crossovers/flex/specifications/capacities/
  4. ^ "The Ford Flex, a.k.a. Fairlane, to debut in New York". 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  5. ^ "2007 New York Auto Show Preview: Production Version of Ford Fairlane To Be Christened "Flex"". 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  6. ^ Greenwood dealership sells first Ford Flex in the nation.
  7. ^ "2009 Ford Flex Review". Automoblog.net. 
  8. ^ "2009 Ford Flex Overview". FordFlex.net. 
  9. ^ "Driven: Ford Flex". Car Design News Joe Simpson, Dec 26 2008. Reminiscent of the infamous "woodie wagons" of the ‘50s, the Flex's aesthetic is notable for referencing a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues. Woodie wagons, such as the type-defining 1953 Buick Roadmaster estate, featured wooden exterior panels towards the rear of the car. The Flex reinterprets this through four distinctive horizontal grooves set into the lower half of both front and rear door panels, and a brushed-aluminum tailgate finish. 
  10. ^ Neff, Natalie (August 24, 2009). "Flexitarian". AutoWeek (Detroit, Michigan: Crain Communications Inc.) 59 (17): 24. ISSN 0192-9674. 
  11. ^ Thami Masemola (2009-01-11). "Ford Flex first car to receive new 3.5-liter Twin Turbo EcoBoost engine". WorldCarFans. 
  12. ^ "Auto Tech » Auto Tech: Ford’s new Active Park Assist system". CanadianDriver. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  13. ^ a b c Kiley, David (March 23, 2012). "First Drive: 2013 Ford Flex Freshly Tweaked for a Second Life". Autoblog.com. AOL Inc. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  14. ^ "2014 Ford Flex Changes". March 13, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Ford Flex Partners With Esquire and E Ink to Present First-Ever Digital Magazine Cover". Theautochannel.com. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  16. ^ "F-SERIES DRIVES FORD TO HIGHER MARKET SHARE FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH" (Press release). Ford. 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  17. ^ "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995" (Press release). Ford Motor Company. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  18. ^ http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec10sales.pdf
  19. ^ http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec11sales.pdf
  20. ^ http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec12sales.pdf
  21. ^ "Ford Motor Company Delivers Best Sales Year Since 2006". Media.ford.com. 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  22. ^ us news. "Best Affordable Midize SUVs". US News. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  23. ^ Tom Mutchler. "Just In: 2010 Ford Flex Limited with Ecoboost". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  24. ^ Consumer Reports. "Reliability trends, how makes compare". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 2010-10-27. (registration required)
  25. ^ Consumer Reports. "2010 Ford Flex Customer Satisfaction". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 2010-10-26. (registration required)
  26. ^ Rachwal, Paul. "Ford Establishes 100,000 annual Flex sales goal". Left Lane News. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  27. ^ Ford Motor Company. "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995". Ford Motor Company. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 

External links[edit]