New Car Review: 2013 Ford Flex

Front three-quarters view of blue 2013 Ford Flex. in suburban driveway
The 2013 Ford Flex.
I parked the new, mildly facelifted 2013 Ford Flex next to a 2012 in a shopping center parking lot a few days ago. By coincidence, the woman who owned the '12 and I came out of the store at the same time. She saw me opening the '13 and asked:

"Where did you go to get your Flex customized like that? I LOVE it!"

That, my friends, is the sign of a successful freshening. Most of the time, you still can't tell last year's model from this years. With a shape as distinctive as the Flex's, that risk is increased. But the new grille and "I didn't know you could make them like that" headlamps transform the Flex.

2013 Ford Flex rear three-quarters view.
The 2012 Ford Flex rear three-quarters view.

Regular TireKicker readers know we've been a fan of the Flex from day one...in fact, one of the first TireKicker reviews, four years ago this month, was of the then-radical new Ford.

Well, the '13 has all the good points....easy to get in and out of, room for lots of people and stuff, fantastic visibility, good driveability...plus the refreshed styling, three new colors (including the Deep Impact Blue that adorned our tester) and a bump in mileage for the standard 3.5 liter V6 with the 6-speed automatic...now EPA rated at 17 city/23 highway.

Interior of the 2013 Ford Flex.
The 2013 Ford Flex interior.
We sampled the Limited AWD model, which carries a base price of $41,180...but this is another one of those cases where "base" is loaded. Fog lamps, keyless entry, power folding heated mirrors, power liftgate, privacy glass for the second and third rows, leather trimmed seats, 10-way power driver's seat, a 50/50 fold-flat third row, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, adjustable pedals (always popular with Mrs. TireKicker, who stands 10 inches shorter than I), a 390 watt 12-speaker Sony audio system with Sirius, MyFord Touch, Sync, navigation, blind spot info, reverse sensing and rearview camera and a batallion of safety features.

The test vehicle added equipment group 301A, which includes adaptive cruise control (which maintains a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you...they brake, your car brakes) and a power-folding 3rd row seat ($2,500)...rear inflatable seat belts (which we never had to test...$195), and the silver two-tone roof ($395). Total price, including $825 destination and delivery...$45,095.

In driving and comfort, it never put a foot wrong. We experienced exactly two minor but repetitive gremlins...an audio system that would turn itself back on five seconds after it had been turned off....and a power liftgate that would open itself after almost closing. A second push on the key fob button and it did it right. Very likely just our car and a small adjustment would be the only thing needed.

We've said it in previous reviews...we'll say it again here...if your Suburban, Yukon XL or Excursion is coming off lease or due for a trade...this is the more modern, more capable and more intelligent alternative.

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