During the kids’ spring break week, Ford Motor Company lent me a Ford Flex to try out and review. I used a own a Ford Tempo years ago(like in the last century before the Internet was around) so I was curious to see what Ford was up to.
The Ford Flex I reviewed came with some very cool features that I could appreciate as a mom:
- Safety: The airbag sensors knew when my nine-year-old son was in the front seat and automatically turned off. There was also a rearview mirror for backing-out-challenged me. Plus, I could adjust the shoulder belts' height to fit me – great for shorter people who get strangled by too high seat belts.
- Fueling: The EasyFuel™ Capless Fuel-Filler System eliminates the gas tank screw cap, which means no more gas odor on your hands or gloves. Also, EasyFuel helps reduce evaporative emissions that create smog and contribute to global warming.
- Solid: The Ford Flex feels as solid as it looks. No wonder that it has earned five-star frontal- and side-impact crashworthiness ratings, the highest possible scores, in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests.
- Cool: A built-in refrigerator to keep your drinks, baby bottles and/or medication chilled. My kids loved to put their stuffed animals in it to the point that I was annoyed that they kept messing with the fridge.
- Tech: A voice-activated sync system that gives you hands free access to your cell phone and your MP3 device. There are also controls in the steering wheel to change the radio and deal with the phone.
- Sound: The wonderful sound system is from Sony and the ride is much quieter than in my car. (I have a a Subaru Legacy wagon, which usually sounds like a window is slightly open. I hate this.)
- Comfort: Captain’s chairs in the second and third rows (though you can get a second-row bench if you want). The second and third row seats are slightly higher than the one in front, so the kids get a great view of the road, too. Also, every seat (except the driver’s seat) folds flat, and even the footrests are stowable.
- More comfort: Amazing leg room that my tall husband could appreciate. Seat warmers, which I adore.
- Gorgeous: A beautiful paint job and much more unique looking from all the other big family vehicles out there. We also had a sun roof over the front seats, and skylights over the second row.
- Convenient: I loved the open/close push button on the key to operate the rear hatch. Many power plug ins for phones, iPods, and video game players. Lots of cup holders, too. The built-in GPS was terrific, too. (No GPS units falling off the front window into the passenger seat.)
- Easy to drive: Good acceleration. Plus for such a “land behemoth” it’s amazingly easy to park - much easier than my husband’s Toyota Tundra truck, which is about the same size.
Bottom line: Would I buy it?
Even if money wasn’t a problem (it retails from around $28,550-$36,810 depending on the features you get), would I consider buying a Ford Flex?
Nope. No way, no how.
Why? Well, it’s mostly about ME and not about the Ford Flex:
- Too big: With a six and a nine-year-old I do not need to worry about leg room. Ask me again when they’re teenagers.
- Too big: I cannot “feel” the road and ended up driving 10-15 miles faster than the posted speed limit. Reminds me of my dad’s 1984 733i BMW, which I hated to drive. Both felt too big and quiet for me to drive safely.
- Too big: Couldn’t fit it in the garage. We can barely get my husband’s truck in there with all the other stuff we have (motorcycles, work benches, sports equipment, deep freezer, beer fridge, recycling bins, etc.)
- Doesn’t fit our lifestyle: My four person family doesn’t need another big vehicle. We have the truck to tow the camper when we go to the mountains or my husband goes off road hunting. The Ford Flex would be a great vehicle for families that do need the towing capacity, or have kids involved in sports like motorcross or BMX and need to hitch a trailer on the back of mom’s car.
- Not totally comfortable: While I was really seduced by the seat warmers and the lumbar support, I had a huge problem with the head rest. It kept hitting me in the back of the head in such a way that I got a terrible headache every time I drove the Ford Flex. I swear my neck still hurts from it. And I’m not the only one since the New York Times reviewer had a similar issue and wrote:
“…I found the head restraints annoying. It is important that these restraints be close to the back of the skull to restrict movement in a rear-impact crash. However, when the Flex’s seatback was upright, the restraint was constantly brushing the back of my head. This friction is something that those of us who are bald can ill afford.”
So this wasn’t just short, little ol’ me with the funny head, but a design flaw. I swear my neck still hurts from the darn thing.
The Ford Flex reminds me of a beautiful pair of high heels. They’re gorgeous, and you lust after them. But you know after 20 minutes, you’ll be hurting - bad. Plus, you have no where to wear them to since they don’t go with your lifestyle.
(Just so you know, I was not paid to review the Ford Flex. And I was given the vehicle for less than four days. My only compensation was a Ford-branded Flip camera, so I could video tape my review if I so wished. I did take video, but didn’t like what I shot.)