I continue to be puzzled as to why this car doesn't sell better. I suspect the answer has more to do with internal Ford politicking (an age-old problem at that company) than with the car's merits.
The family-friendly package - with genuinely usable third row seats - is just about perfect. At the same time, this isn't some bloated, high-riding off-roader that's a pain to climb into and out of and that can't be maneuvered in the supermarket parking lot without help from a phalanx of cameras and beeping proximity sensors.
The styling isn't bad, either, although you shouldn't have to buy the most expensive model to get your car painted all one color (rather than having gray along the bottom). The interior could be more refined - one hopes that the Flex will be better in this regard. I find the seating position weirdly high; I understand Ford is trying to provide that "commanding" driving position people used to bang on about, but it would be nice to at least have the option of lowering the power seat.
Except for those who need to tow a heavy trailer, nearly every Ford Explorer owner - and quite a few Expedition drivers as well - would be well served by switching to a Taurus X (although it would be nice if, in so doing, they could enjoy a more substantial bump up in gas mileage). This vehicle should have been the Explorer replacement, but at the time Ford was clinging to the notion that Explorer buyers needed a body-on-frame vehicle. Now the company is finally working on a unit-body replacement for the Explorer, and the Flex will soon supplant the Taurus X.
-Joe Lorio, Senior Editor