2009 Ford Flex Limited

#Ford, #Flex

I don't always have to be the one driving. Really, I don't. Especially if riding is the only way to get an early feel of a car that we think could be poised to become one of those once-in-a-decade vehicles of rare perfection. So when Ford offered Automobile Magazine a ride around the city during the New York auto show in a preproduction 2009 Flex Limited, we cheerfully piled in.

"We" were five - me, my husband Tim, executive editor Joe DeMatio, photographer Daniel Byrne, and Byrne's assistant. "They" were three women - Ford marketing manager Kate Pearce, communications manager Usha Raghavachari, and driver Marcella, a six-foot stunner with weapons-grade fingernails.

Problem one: This prototype Flex Limited had but six of seven possible seats. We kicked Usha to the curb - stupidly, since she was the smallest - then cruelly crammed three people into the two-passenger third row. The heated-leather second row's two passengers - separated by an optional refrigerated console - had legroom to burn. The very groovy multipanel Vista Roof offered a personal skylight for all, including the three suckers crammed in the wayback. Problem two: The interior is luxuriously upscale, causing us to wonder if the utter hipness of the Flex caught its designers by surprise. We see the perfect proportions of the Flex, its grooved sides, the flat top, coming together in a way that will take urban customizers by storm. The interior should be so funky.

Problem three: We were so busy screwing around, we stopped "riding." It was five p.m.; traffic was a nightmare. I tossed the husband first, then threw out DeMatio a few slow blocks later. We could at least concentrate on photos. Problem four: Byrne speaks in tongues when he gets flustered, spewing out paragraphs of direction to Marcella. "Sir!" she barked, daggered forefinger raised in warning. "Just tell me where you need to be!"

Wow. "NYPD?" I asked. She looked sideways at me. "Retired. Sex crimes." How did I know that? We found Central Park closed to traffic. Until Marcella spoke to the policemen on duty, that is. Byrne got his shot. There's an island in Times Square that we wanted for the next photo, but the Naked Cowboy ("It's a metaphor!") was in residence with his usual tourist mob. Our ex-cop pulled to the curb just as the Cowboy spied us. We had to pay him (and touch his flesh, no lie) to leave. This is what happens to me all the time.

So. The Flex goes on sale shortly (base price range: $28,995 to $35,405), ready for the Hamptons. But mark our words. There'll be a breakout crowd that will see the Flex as a canvas for endless customization.

This is the beginning of something big.

Vern Southard
Looks like a winner.
Manny Gutierrez
Looks really nice, it could compete with the VW Jetta GLI and Mazdaspeed 3
Robert Ryan
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Jonathan Hogu
Just hope it doesn't some with another CVT....
Wilberto WRenn
What the SR should have been anyway
Prasath Kumar
Like >
Marlon Cambay
ok yan... lam nmn ntn kung gano katiibay pg sinabi mOng nissan kht un sentra n pangtaxi di hamak n matibay kesa sa vios atbp taxi unit....
Samuel O Lee
meh. Nissan is not producing very many attractive vehicles these days.
Aaron Fremuth
Looks like they're catching up to Kia in the styling department. Sounds like a decent driveline but I doubt Brembos would make it into production. And why stop at 19" wheels when you could have 23s?!?!
Dammy Onafowokan
Lipstick on a pig. The Sentra is a far too. bloated design to look cool. Now the new Mazda 3 given the Mazdaspeed treatment will be epic
Jason Mosery
Haha Robert I posted and then saw your "meh". It would be better if the Sentra itself was better.
Jason Mosery
Robert May
Meh. The IDX concept would be a much better car if Nissan would build it. Enough with the ever growing "compact" FWD car. Lightweight, RWD, compact dimensions, including a roof that's not as high as a subaru wagon's, a 2.0 inline 4, and a 6 speed manual, and you have a winning formula.
Salvador Fonzarelli Ramirez
Christian Damian RodriguezGeorge QuiƱones
Tony Gauntner
The market is crying for the return of reasonably priced compact performance cars...look at the success Fords having with the Fiesta & Dodge the Dart
Tom Champion
They are still having trouble - close the dealer nearby on a very busy retail street.
Raymond Doherty
Wow didn't see that coming from Nissan, their lineup has gotten so boring. Make it please!!! Looks great!
Craig Stishenko
I love it. Like I love any of the other childish rice boxes offered. It has stripes, dark wheels and elementary school curb appeal allowing the GTI and GolfR to maintain their maturity and resale values. Way to go Nissan
Andrew Aslanidis
that's actually sexy... damn child. But when the new MazdaSpeed3 comes out Game Over
Rashid Ali
Great improvement over the stock model.
Clarence Rogers
They do look a little low, Chris. I agree.
Christopher Marshall Ernst
If they would raise the door handles up by 2-3 inches it would look SO much better.
David Hand
Great improvement over the stock model. Nissan's designers have been on vacation for the past few years. This is starting to show small improvement.
Jim Bur
Not for me but this makes the new Corolla look like an even more boring appliance.
R Scott Torgan
I think the last good one was the sentra SE-R from the early 90's.....
Kyree S. Williams
I like it...a lot. I especially like the lower front-fascia and the way the read accents were subtly blended into the bumper, side skirts and wing mirrors.

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