• Jun 5, 2008
On one end, General Motors is announcing its intention to wind down SUV and truck production, while at the other, Ford is just gearing up production of a vehicle that's plenty large in its own right. Ford Flexes are now beginning to roll off the line in Oakville, Ontario, and the plant even has plans to bring on new hires in order to meet production demands. Considering the current rise of gas prices, one might think Ford's boxy people carrier will quickly meet its demise. However, despite its full size stature, room for seven humans and a few cold drinks, the Flex doesn't attack your gas budget like Cookie Monster on a binge. Its 3.5L V6 engine gets a respectable 24 mph on the highway, assisted by a high-tech six-speed automatic transmission. Down the road, when the Flex is available with a turbocharged direct injection Ecoboost option, its fuel economy should raise a bit more.


[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 58 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      At least this Flex (dumb name, by the way, but better than Taurus X) makes a lot more sense than the BMW X6. What possible need does that thing meet?

      Actually, one thing that Minivans offer over these crossover SUVs is easier access to the rear seats. Sliding doors really make a ton of sense when you have small kids to put in booster seats or need to access the third row a lot. Otherwise, I think it's just a fashion thing and SUVs are suddenly politically incorrect. 23 MPG for a 7-passenger vehicle, if it really gets that much in real-world driving, isn't too horrible. Heck, I only average about 28 mpg in my Miata and nobody gets bent out of shape about the environmental impact of that car.

      I just hope that the second car in the family that's used for commuting and drives when the whole brood aren't together is a lot more efficient.

      And this is where something like an 80 mile EV makes sense. College students aside, a whole lot of families in this country have at least two cars and there is no reason that at least one of them couldn't be a short-haul electric commuter. Short trips to work and around town to run errands is where most of us spend our time in the car and you don't need an SUV to accomplish that. Personally, I think a used Honda Insight (if I could find one of the rare manual transmission cars) would be a great third car which would probably get used every day. We already have the Mazda5 minivan for taking my son to school and going on family trips.
      • 6 Years Ago
      sorry, but 24 mpg out of something that should be high tech and relatively efficient is pathetic. My '94 Buick Roadmaster with an LT1 pushing about 300 hp, 14s in the 1/4 mile, and weighing 4600 lbs gets EXACTLY the same gas mileage as this thing, with only a 4 spd automatic and 3.23 gears. How does this thing weight significantly less, go slower, make less power, and have better technology, yet not improve on the gas mileage at all?

      What we need are smaller, more effecient wagons with turbo 4 cylinders or small v6s, to get up around 30 mpg or more on the highway.

      Shame too--as a wagon guy, I rather like the styling of the Flex--but wtf is the point of buying it over, say, a Mazda 6 Wagon? Or an old B-Body wagon like mine?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I drive past the Oakville assembly plant a few times a week, and these have been rolling off the line for quite some time now. They have lots jammed full of them... no doubt stockpiling them to send them out to dealers.

      I've also seen quite a few out on the roads in Oakville. It's a really good-looking vehicle. Somehow the grooved sheet metal works on the doors, unlike the awful hood strakes Chrysler used on the Crossfire and Sebring. I can't say i like the faux-stainless tailgate, though. It just seems superfluous.

      But it's appealing and has some unique character that sets it apart from the more jellybean-like people haulers out there. And at 17/25, the fuel economy is not bad at all for a vehicle of its size. I hope it's a success for Ford.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hey Merritt - should be 24 mpg, not 24 mph. Definitely looking forward to this thing, though. Looks almost like the return of the wagon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Saw this car at the autoshow in ny and i have to say im impressed with it..i think it will have the same popularity as the flex with its quirky style. and it def IS alot bigger then one would imagine...i was surprised it was so big. none the less... nice car
      • 6 Years Ago
      People still need mini-vans or mini-van substitutes, it’s the tow 8,000lb SUV’s they didn’t need in the first place. If you have a horse, boat or something else that requires a big truck/SUV then by all means but your average soccer mom does not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. The mini-van is not popular in the states right now, but there are still families that need or think they need the capacity. This vehicle does as well as the Quest or Sienna and better than the Caravan in terms of MPG.

        Good luck Ford.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clearly because all the geniuses of the world are making snarky comments on the internet instead.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Since when is 24 MPG highway become respectable?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah your right, because all the crossover vehicles and minivans get 30+ mpg.... idiot
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think 24 Hwy MPG is all that bad for this vehicle, considering its size. Heck, the Ecotec Aura is rated at 30 and it's lighter and smaller. I saw the Flex at the chicago Auto Show and was quite pleased with its looks, inside and out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "If we can put a damn rover on the planet Mars that runs on solar power....why the f*ck can't we build a vehicle that does not use petro?"

      Great point -- the Mars Rover is in the ball park of $28k-30k and can be mass produced. Turn your brain on, man!
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Frank: You are clueless. I guess I have to spell it out for you: The Mars Rover is easily a more-than-a-million dollar project. Also, the Rover only needs to move like 10 mph and weighs a few hundred pounds maybe, so it's energy consumption requirements are SIGNIFICANTLY more modest than your average car. Seriously, think before you speak/type. It really helps.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yay!! Another gas guzzler!! Woooo!!! Just what we need.

      You know what should be rolling off the assembly plant, an all electric vehicle that gets a range of about 80+ miles a day on a single overnight charge and sells for $25K.

      If we can put a damn rover on the planet Mars that runs on solar power....why the f*ck can't we build a vehicle that does not use petro?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok so a vaible alternative to a gas guzzling SUV comes out and you complain. So what would you like a family with more than 2 kids do, ride tadem bikes. Oh I know maybe they should float to their destination on dreams and lollipops.
          • 6 Years Ago
          "Nadnarb:
          Ok so a vaible alternative to a gas guzzling SUV comes out and you complain. So what would you like a family with more than 2 kids do, ride tadem bikes. Oh I know maybe they should float to their destination on dreams and lollipops."

          People have had a viable option to the SUV for years. It is called the Minivan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Syslik...your the exception. Not everybody drives 251 miles a day. That's not the average daily commute for most Americans.

        Nudnarb, "vaible alternative to a gas guzzling SUV comes out and you complain"....you call this a "viable" alternative? If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...well, you know...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Also, the weight. We could have the V_8 and the good mileage if they'd get the lard out of these vehicles. they are too heavy. also I like my ford F-150 truck. I just need a more economical engine. Not al the time are most truck owners hauling things. But we all like the trucks. so think! Lets see... more economical engine...more sales.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because the damn rover moves about as fast as you can walk! Sure people have created solar vehicles already, but they're all either slow or extremely impractical (i.e. UMich. solar vehicle).
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm Sorry.... 80+ miles on an overnight charge. Thats a pile of rubbish. it means that my journey from New York to College (which is 251 miles away) will take more than 3 days... when i do it now in 3 hours. What we really need is the promotion of small, but spasious and practical diesel cars like in Europe which get 80mpg, much more friendly to the enviroment and are very cheap. Not electric cars or Prius which is an even bigger pile of crap!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "So what would you like a family with more than 2 kids do"

        I have three kids, do Scouts and Adventure Guides, go on camping and bike trips, play softball, basketball, volleyball and soccer and I drive a Corolla. If you're the Brady Bunch then yea, a Flex might not be a bad choice, but if you only have three kids you really don't NEED an SUV like this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        From FrankTheCrank: "If we can put a damn rover on the planet Mars that runs on solar power....why the f*ck can't we build a vehicle that does not use petro?"

        Last I checked, NASA spends billions of dollars on each mission. They have the resources to design and produce such a vehicle.

        I won't even go into the fact that the lesser gravity and air resistance on the moon(since that's the only place we used a human transport rover) means that an electric vehicle buit for the Moon likely coudn't move under its own power on earth. The Mars rovers aren't a good comparison because those are about the size of a large R/C car. Nowhere near large enough to be used as human transportation.

        Also, just because they built one or two of those rovers doesn't mean they can mass-produce them at an affordable cost. There is a reason the Tesla costs $100K and not $25K. But, other than the cost, the Tesla seems to fit your specifications and is available now. See you at the showroom.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok so what would you call an alternative to an suv. I think this is more of a minivan/crossover than SUV. So once again what would you like a large family to drive as an alternative to an SUV.

        Now remember that not everyone lives in an efficiency and has a cat. Some people do need a large people mover that doesnt tow a large amount but wouldnt be caught dead in a minivan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It doesn't matter if i'm the exception or not... A diesel car is still much better your redicilous idea of an 80+ mile electric car, because what if the person who owns it, for once will get some friends and will want to go 85 miles in a day, or go on a roadtrip or aomething? that means that he will have to buy another car. and having two cars, even if one of them is an electric one, is not economical and enviromentally friendly. What about when your batteries die? do you know how expensive and hard it will be to dispose them?

        Here is a fun fact for you. Toyota Prius, the supposedely greenest car, is a pile of rubbish. Why? because a mercedes s500 is more enviromentally friendly than a prius, as more than 50% of materials used are recyled materials, and the way it burns petrol is much more eco friendly.

        Keeping on the subject of the news, what this car needs, is to have a diesel engine instead of a petrolone, and everything will be fine.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Freestyle/Taurus X fails to sell for 2 reasons: It has no style and it has no marketing support. When was the last time you saw an ad for one of those? 2005?

      The Flex is getting all the hype, will be promoted heavily, and has tons of style. Will everyone like it? No, but thats the point. People who like the style and the functionality will go buy it, those that don't won't.

      It gets better mileage by far than a similarly sized Explorer, costs the same or less, and can tow enough for most people. And it can't be lumped in with all the current CUVs that look like watered down SUVs.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The main reason it failed is that it got awful gas mileage, Ford advertised it and called it a "Crossover SUV" because if it were classified as a car (which it was) it would have destroyed their CAFE numbers.
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