2009 Ford Flex Limited AWD

I really, really like the Flex, mostly because I am absolutely taken with the design: the shape, the proportions, and yes, the squareness. This is the American people mover boiled down to its pure, classic element. It is the utter antithesis of every jacked-up, pseudo-macho SUV and every bloated, trying-to-be-swoopy crossover.

It also helps that the interior is almost as fresh as the exterior. There's loads of space under the low roofline, and the electronic interfaces are as user-friendly as can be. The driving experience isn't scintillating, but it's hardly unpleasant, and the cabin is almost eerily quiet.

The only real negatives are a driving position that's awkward for the long-legged (I'd happily trade away the power-adjustable pedals for a telescoping steering column) and a price that's pretty steep (well into the $40Ks loaded up). I suspect the latter is to blame for the car's relatively slow start out of the gate.

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

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