New or Used: The Mobile Living Room Edition
My wife and I are expecting our 4th child soon. We currently own (outright) a 2012 Odyssey in Touring Limited trim and we lease a 2010 Ford Flex Limited. Both cars are pretty great for carrying around our growing family. But the Flex is coming off lease in March next year and I’m wondering if I should keep it.
AvgGuy45 on Sep 18, 2012
We just finished comparing many of these vehicles. Criteria were similar, but I really couldn't care less about navigation, leather, etc. (uh...hello...why pay for all those gadgets that are tied to your care when you have a Smart Phone!) I wanted a vehicle with a comfortable ride, seats seven (or 8), decent ground clearance, quiet inside and versatile. I also didn't want to get much above $30K (which is surprisingly hard to do). I travel often, usually for about 4-5 days at a time. So, over the past year I've rented every one of these vehicles (obviously I didn't go for the luxury brands). I often thought that someday I'd show up at a rental counter and they'd have a "wanted-look out for this frequent vehicle changer" poster up with my picture because I'd often return a vehicle after a few days claiming the check engine light was on-just so I could switch to a different make/model and include a differnt one in my "extended test drive" experience! I also read like, a million reviews for each of them. I drove my wife crazy for over a year. The Dodge was my leading candidate due to price, family friendly features, Pentastar engine and the fact that I only occasionally needed the 7 passenger seating (I have 4 kids). Alas, I found the Dodge a bit too tight in the second row and way too tight in the third. The ride in the back seat was kind of jittery, like my truck which my wife and kids really didn't like. Honda Pilot was too trucky, same goes for Dodge Durango (which I loved the styling of). I even tried Mitsubishi Outlander which was very noisy inside and not as large as I'd thought. Many vehicles I ruled out due to the stiff ride or road noise. Kia Sportage was too stiff. Toyota Highlander was very nice, and came in 3rd, but was not as nice a ride as the two front runners. Ironically, I just got rid of a Toyota Sienna. After 70K miles it was having all kinds of reliability problems with faulty radio, A/C, brakes and the final straw at 65K miles, was the transmission. So much for Toyota reliability. That van was having all the same sort of problems as my prior three Chrysler/Plymouth vans...just about 10K miles earler. The Flex was the very last vehicle I drove/rented. I was really not keen on the outside styling. And then I drove it. This is the perfect family vehicle. I am baffled that Ford doesn't sell more. They are highly rated by the Consumer's Group (assuming you buy into their reliability ratings -of course, I put my faith in True Delta! (nicely done Michael Karesh!). It is Fabulous and since I live in the South, I bought the 2WD version keeping me under the $30K target. Like I said, I've driven them all, for days at a time and I've found faults with all of them. BTW...The Chevy Traverse was my second place finisher. I thought it had the best ride and the best engine, but it just seemed so much larger than the Flex. Also, my younger kids had more trouble climbing in. For the gent that said the Dodge had a decent 2nd row seat. I really can't see how that is possible. You really have to sit in the 2nd row of the Flex to appreciate how spacious it is. Anyone else out there have the same type of experience?
Bkmurph on Sep 19, 2012
I'd keep the current Flex or get another Flex. But if your eye is wandering toward something different, you might consider the GMC Acadia or one of its platform twins. My uncle (one of two parents in a blended family with six kids) seems to like his Acadia Denali quite a bit, despite the tacky ground effects. It's big enough for the whole family, fast enough for his lead foot, and classy enough for his moneyed environs. But hurry and get a 2012 model before the ugly 2013s displace them from dealer lots.
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