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Driving the 2009 Ford Flex

It was kind of like a blind date. I’d seen the pictures, and heard some chatter, but the Ford Flex was a bit mysterious. It started with the
advance publicity photos. The snapshots showed off this new vehicle– without showing too much. Needless to say, when my media test version of the Flex arrived this week, we spent some quality time together.

My first impression– wow this is big. It’s about 17 feet long; yes I measured.

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It’s always exciting to see a new vehicle for the first time. It’s equally exciting to drive a vehicle that turns heads. I could see people asking themselves “what is that?” Frankly, I’m not sure I have the answer. I can tell you that it reminds me of an era of vehicles that vanished when Ford scuttled its 80’s-minded minivan segment.

“Nobody wants to drive around in a family-van or mini-van anymore.” Barnabe Lerma is the General Sales Manager at Raceway Ford in Riverside.
“It’s sturdy… heavy.” Lerma agreed that the Flex is a new category, not quite SUV and not mini-van.

The 2009 Ford Flex looks very rectangular. It sits low, and stands out. Yes, I know it will be compared to a station wagon. And yes, It does
have some station wagon DNA, without the baggage that might make people think they’re in a time warp. The Flex is modern in every way.

I review about 40 cars a year. Often they are freshly-revised versions of models already on the showroom floors. With the Flex, Ford has given
consumers a vehicle that challenges some automotive stereotypes. This is good. Most obviously, among the sea of family haulers, there’s not one
that looks like this.

The Flex has options and design features that are fun and useful. There’s what Ford calls the Vista Roof; multiple skylights that give every
passenger a chance to enjoy the view above. Sirius now offers a feature called Travel Link. It provides up-to-date traffic, weather, & fuel
prices for your area. I was also able to find movie times for the theater at the Riverside Plaza, and sports scores– all from the in-dash screen.

The radio blasts from a Sony 700 watt, 5.1 surround-sound system. When was the last time we saw Sony in a Ford?

There’s also a capless fuel filler, no more polluting fumes.

My “date” with the Flex ends on Monday. I’m sure we’ll keep in touch. As blind dates go, this was fun. I’m intrigued.

FLEX FACTS
- 3.5L V6
- 262 HP
- 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm
- 6-speed automatic transmission
- Offered in AWD (16/22 MPG) and FWD (17/24 MPG)

Four-wheel ABS & Roll Stability Control are standard on Flex SE, SEL, & Limited. Base price is $28,295. Fully loaded versions will run near
$45,190.

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