Saturday, August 18, 2012

REVIEW: 2013 Ford Flex-Limited AWD

1919 Ford Model-T "Station Wagon"
The station wagon traces its origins to the use of special hackneys configured to carry passengers and luggage to and from rail depots—hence the name, “station” wagon.   

As early as 1919 the Ford Motor Company was working in partnership with the Stoughton Wagon Company in Wisconsin to outfit Model-T chasis with custom wagon bodies fabricated out of wood.  
By 1929 Ford was the biggest seller of station wagons, sustained by its own hardwood forest and mills to process the wooden components. 

1936 Ford "Woodie" Wagon
Wood-bodied station wagons were more expensive than standard sedans, and during the mid-30’s became something of a status symbol for the well-heeled to wheel around in. The introduction of mini-vans and higher gasoline spelled the end of station wagons’ popularity, although some models are still produced.  

Ford has created an intriguing, modern-day evolution of the A-B-C-D-pillar body design in the nerdishly-sexy Flex 6-passenger crossover vehicle.   

2013 Ford Flex Limited AWD
First introduced in 2009, based on the Fairlane design and sharing the same drive train as the Edge, Ford boasts “there’s nothing Mini or ordinary about the vehicle."
I’d have to agree.

I spent a week behind the wheel of a 2013 Flex AWD, featuring the 3.5-liter Eco-boost V-6, and I must say I was impressed. I liked the styling, I liked the roominess. 

My bride especially commented on how easy it is to get in and out of the Flex with its large door openings.  I like the way the vehicle drove—and must recommend the all-wheel drive configuration.

3.5L Eco-boost V6
The 3.5L V-6 Eco-boost engine is an impressive development, designed to provide as much torque as larger-displacement engines, with fuel efficiency that’s 20% better. The Flex I drove weighed-in at over 4,800 pounds, but the engine and 6-speed transmission, coupled with the all-wheel drive configuration, moved it around very well.

The Limited version of the Flex is packed with all the upgrades, and prices out at over $50k, but you can get into a Flex for under $30k. It’s bigger than a breadbox, but smaller than a van, and you won’t have to play parcel-Tetris in the Flex, with  over 83-cubic feet of space from the back of the front seats to the tailgate. 

My litmus test: can you get two road bikes in the back? 
(I hate carrying my bicycle on the outside of a vehicle; picking bugs and road grime out of a bike’s chain takes all the joy out of a trip.) 

Test passed; you can.

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