Ford Flex Preview (Not Based on A Press Launch)
In anticipation of my upcoming more lengthy review (after the buff books get their 30 pieces of silver), I offer you my initial [looking and feeling, not driving] impressions of Ford's latest and greatest crossover (anyone remember the Edge, or Taurus X, or Freestyle?) from an up close and personal encounter. It has a design your mom could pick out of a lineup, and it looks great in person. It also looks great, as in "my goodness, that's a big damn car." For whatever reason, it conveys tall wagon rather than low SUV, but that might be in part due to the optional white roof on my test car. The bigness extends to the interior, which is the Flex' highlight. Yes, there's a 260 horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic. But the business class cabin is the biz. Best. Ford. Interior. Ever. Materials are seriously "oh my god, is this a Blue Oval car?" The middle row (especially when equipped with a brace of captains chairs) is spacious enough to allow even the gigantically tall and morbidly obese splay their legs in vulgar comfort. The Flex is utterly silent while in motion (which you'll recall from my test ride at the NY Auto Show), though standard 18" wheels sounds large for a would-be comfort cruiser. A home run for Ford? Maybe inside the park (consistent year-on-year sales). Otherwise, seating for four adults/three young 'uns and 24 mpg highway make this a strong triple. Full review to follow. Eventually.
Marketing matters my friends. All of these comparisons of the Taurus X with the Flex are like comparing apples to oranges. The Taurus X has been a disaster because it it was never marketed. A Gold boullion could have been in every one of these cars and nobody would have known it because Ford failed to market the vehicle. Shame on Ford because the Taurus X is a pretty good vehicle. On the other hand----the Flex will have A TON of marketing support behind it----Farley's rep is on the line with this launch. Said another way---if the Flex fails---it won't be because of lack of marketing $'s. Last---for all of you that talk about gas mileage---have you really done the math as to what difference it makes on an annual basis ? NOTE: if Ford increased the Flex's MPG by 2 (no small feat from an engineering perspective)---it would only amount to about $220.00 in annual savings (assuming 12K driven per year). Do you think anyone spending $30K + on a vehicle is really concerned about $220.00 ?
Wish they'd at least offer sliding rear doors as an option. I'd pay $500 to maybe $1000 for that convenience. they can hide the slider tracks in the windows these days, and no one needs to be the wiser...doesn't matter, though, as much as I love the car, my wife hates boxy vehicles.
@ umterp85: "Do you think anyone spending $30K + on a vehicle is really concerned about $220.00 ?" Yes. As was mentioned in another thread, people will spend $1500 more than they should on [s]useless options[/s] nav systems and still bitch about gas going up several cents. The thing is, many people can't do math. The others want to save the earth by driving a slightly more efficient vehicle that is 2000lbs and 300 sq-ft bigger than they need.
Guyincognito: You are correct...sadly...people do not do the math. I do have issue with you presuming what people SHOULD drive ("others want to save the earth by driving a slightly more efficient vehicle that is 2000lbs and 300 sq-ft bigger than they need"). Maybe its the Libertarian in me---but I don't like to be told what to do. That said, When I was a kid----people would just pile into a 4 door sedan without any concern for how many seatbelts were available. Not saying that was right----but it was just common practice. Today---you just can't pile 6 into an accord or malibu. Nor can you pile a bunch of people in the back of a wagon (used to get 4 kids back there !). Net---anyone who carries more than 3 kids around on a consistent basis needs a third row vehicle like the Flex....there are alot of these people....even though at times you will only see Mom driving one solo.