Thursday, March 17, 2011

Titanium's flash softens previous criticism

Sacramento, California – Several years back, I did a review on the Ford Flex that was negative enough to inspire some Ford Motor Co. folks to call me and express their profound displeasure.

Apparently, the statute of limitations ran out and I recently was allowed to review a 2011 Ford Flex, but this was a Flex of a different color. Or multiple colors as it turned out.

The tested 2011 Ford Flex Titanium with front-wheel drive was a prime, head-turning example of the Titanium models added to the Flex lineup. It literally begged for attention with a sparkling coat of Red Candy Metallic paint with black Alcantara inserts.

A Camaro driver rolled up to me and wanted to know if the Flex came that way from the factory, or was the exterior look a product of my customizing prowess. Obviously, he was totally unacquainted with my body shop incompetence, but still, it made the point.

This Flex Titanium stands out in the crowd.

I had the opportunity to take some volunteers for a ride in the seven-passenger vehicle, and they loved it. Roomy, comfortable and smooth on the roll, they gushed.

I agreed. Plus the interior is elegantly laid out, with a minimum of large, easy-to-reach controls. Tail-section cargo-carrying capacity is enormous, and my old bones were saved on the tester by a responsive automatic tailgate open/close device.

Even Motor Trend magazine loves the Flex, calling it “the best box you can buy.”

Alas, the Flex – even in Titanium trim – gives me pause.

For starters, it’s pricey. The tester weighed in at a hefty $43,505 after about $3,000 in extras were added on to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Gas mileage is a wallet-draining 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

The standard 3.5-liter V-6 with 262 horsepower struggles to meet the demands of freeway on-ramp merges and hill country climbs. In fairness, I did not have the available 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine that puts out 355 horsepower. That much oomph probably provides more than enough for all driving chores.

Is the Flex a nice match for an active family that makes a lot of road trips carrying a bunch of cargo? Yes.

Is the Flex a good match for a household looking to downsize its primary vehicle and gasoline bills? No.

Is the Flex growing on me? Well, maybe a little bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment