Los Angeles 2011: 2013 Ford Flex Reinvents The Box
Yes, the 2013 Ford Flex is still a funky, boxy, three-row people mover - but the latest iteration of the cube-shaped crossover does receive a number of updates for the new model year.
First up: the nose. Although the new fascia -- which incorporates concentric rectangles to form both the headlamp garnish and grille insert - looks better in person than in most press photography, it seems to have been met with a mixed reception. We think it compliments the Flex's techo-industrial feel quite nicely.
Less obvious are the revisions applied beneath the skin. Interiors receive new gauge clusters, steering wheels, seat trims, and the latest iteration of MyFord Touch. 2013 Flexes are also available with adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot detection system, and - like its platform-mate, the 2012 Explorer - inflatable seat belts for outboard second-row passengers.
Mechanically, there's little change. The base engine remains a 3.5-liter V-6, but Ti-VCT variable valve timing and a few other mild tweaks allow it to crank out 23 more horsepower than before. The extra power is nice, considering how front-wheel-drive Flex models tip the scales at roughly 4400 pounds, but those seeking the utmost in acceleration will likely still opt for the 355-hp, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6.
It's doubtful that any of these revisions will suddenly boost Flex sales to a level on par with the Explorer, but we think they'll certainly attract buyers who want a comfortable, capable family hauler that's a bit outside the box - even if it happens to look just like one.