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2009 Ford Flex Review

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By Mark Elliot Gordon
The Auto Channel
Rocky Mountain Bureau

The Ford Flex is almost cool. I don’t know if I can say it. Uhh UhhhhThe Ford Flex is cool. There, I said it.

I must admit I was intrigued about getting to drive a Flex for a week. I didn’t have high hopes, I was just intrigued. The car was delivered to my house, and I immediately thought it looked like a Mini-Cooper on steroids (sort of cool). It also looked a little like a surfing woody. The designers did their post-modern homework. The Flex is the perfect simulacrum of a vintage car. It isn’t vintage, it just reminds you of something vintage-esque. That is pretty cool. It appeals to my over educated deconstructive theoretical side. Unfortunetly for Ford I’m not sure how many people share those traits with me.

The car is cool; I’ve said it again. But it is not perfect. It is a little sluggish, and very big. Big can be both good and bad, just like children. For the week that I had possesion of the Flex, big was good, as long as I wasn’t backing out of a parking space. We had friends visiting our Vail Colorado home. There were three of them and three of us. We fit in one vehicle and no one was sitting on anyone else’s lap. In fact we were all quite comfortable. This car is practical. Now how often is practical cool? Almost never is my standard practical answer.

According to Ford the sluggishness is going away next year with the advent of the EcoBoost engine. “More with Less” is Ford’s promise about the new engine. Turbo Power for the People. That also appeals to me. Is it possible that Ford has my number? This is a bit frightening.

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Ok, back to the basics. The Flex is All Wheel Drive. A neccessity for a large vehicle here in the mountains of Colorado. The Flex has three rows of seats. A neccessity for a large family or even a small family when there are guests on the scene. The interior looks like it was designed across one of the oceans. I’ve always wondered why American cars’ interiors all looked the same. Doesn’t matter what brand or model, they all have a similar feel, except for the Flex. Felt Germanesque to me....there goes that reference thing again.

The Flex that I had was well equipped. The navigation system worked like a navigation system should. Touch screen and intuition. The stereo sounded great, for a factory-installed system. The seats were comfortable as was the interior layout. “Well designed”, my interior voice called out to me many times during the week. “Get the Flex review done,” that same voice cried out to me in the subsequent weeks.

As this is a crossover vehicle I wisely decided not to take it “off road.” But I did tool around on a gravel Forest Service road. The Flex performed. It made the gravel feel like asphalt. The Flex never felt like it was drifting on the washboard corners. If not for the sluggishness, I’d be in new car nirvana. I can’t wait for next year’s model and the EcoBoost

On balance this is a car to consider. My recommendation is that if you have any post-modern lit theory people in your should go out and buy them a Flex ASAP. If you are car shopping for yourself, and you don’t know Barthes from Derida, I’d still suggest you test-drive the Flex. It is a great family car.... and its pretty cool.