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2011 Ford Flex Titanium

Love this Flex Titanium and its white and black color scheme, especially the black F L E X letters on the leading edge of the hood and the blacked-out, three-bar horizontal grille. I don't even mind the twenty-inch polished-aluminum wheels, and I'm not usually a fan of such wheels. The whole look: white bottom, black cap greenhouse, works well for me. I think it looks quite cool.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

I had the Flex in the teeth of a recent blizzard, and it was a superstar. It has been so cold that the freeway was still treacherously slippery two days after the bulk of the snow dump. Four-wheel-drive (which, by the way, doesn't work any better on ice, all of you SUV idiots in the ditch) was great on the east/west side roads that had drifting snow. And can we wave a little happy flag once again for the Ecoboost V-6? Super.

By the way, a very hip early-20s girlfriend of mine ran out into the frigid night when she saw the Flex in front of the house. She came back in to rave about the interior, and especially about the cupholder that was glowing blue in the dark.
- Jean Jennings

The Ford Flex has never quite taken off with buyers. Sales for each of GM's full-size crossovers, the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave, have beaten out the Flex so far this year, and Ford's own smaller crossovers, the Escape and Edge, regularly blow it away. Perhaps buyers don't want a funky neo-woody-wagon after all. Ford seems to be conceding this point by introducing the three-row, traditionally styled Explorer on the Flex's platform.

None of that, of course, discredits the coolness of the Flex. Quite the contrary. Let your neighbors pine over anonymous-looking Honda Pilots. The Flex manages all the usual child-corralling, boat-towing feats but still looks contrarian enough to drive while wearing hipster glasses. The additional power of the twin-turbo V-6 sure doesn't hurt.
- David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

The Ecoboosted Ford Flex is a veritable rocket ship. Seriously, it feels way faster than any vehicle this large with fewer than eight cylinders should feel. The engine is well worth the extra $3000. The big Ford drives very well, too, which justifies the fact that the Flex is a two-time Automobile Magazine All-Star (in 2009 and 2010). The cabin's impressive comfort and packaging just add to the Flex's overall goodness.

The Titanium trim tweaks, however, aren't my thing at all. Sorry, Joe. I think they make the Flex look too ostentatious, particularly in the flashy grille and blackout panel on the liftgate. Still, I suppose it's not a bad thing that Ford offers the Titanium appearance package, because the Flex's fancified under-the-skin twin -- the similarly impressive Lincoln MKT -- is barely recognizable as a Flex derivative. If you love the Flex's boxy look, the Titanium edition can help set apart your people mover.
- Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Base price (with destination): $40,340
Price as tested: $50,145

Standard Equipment:
3.5-liter V-6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Reverse sensing and rearview backup camera
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Advancetrac with stability control
Tire pressure monitoring system
Leather-trimmed seats
Heated front seats
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Navigation system
Sync voice-activated system
Sirius satellite radio
Power adjustable pedals
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Power liftgate
Keyless entry with MyKey
HID headlamps
Fog lights

Options on this vehicle:
3.5-liter Ecoboost V-6 -- $2995
All-wheel drive -- $1850
Panoramic vista roof -- $1495
Refrigerated second row console -- $795
Second row 40/40 seats autofold -- $750
Active park assist -- $550
White platinum metallic -- $495
Second row floor console -- $100

Key options not on vehicle:

Fuel economy: 16/21/18 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Size: 3.5L turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 355 hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1500-5250 rpm
Drive: Four-wheel
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheels/tires: 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels; 255/45R20 Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season tires

Competitors: Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse, Dodge Durango, Honda Pilot