Ford Flex Review

I'm really looking forward to comments on this one, because I want to see if you have the same reactions to the Ford Flex that I did. One moment I see a lowered Range Rover, the next a stretched and chopped Scion xB, and yet another, I got flashes of 1960s and 1970s Ford wagons.

If you haven't seen one on the street yet (and apart from the one I tested for a week, I haven't), your first surprise is likely to be how big the Flex is. Photos and video don't adequately capture that.

Once you get inside (easy because the Flex is so low...it's like stepping into a sedan), it seems even bigger. It's a long way back to the third row of seats...and there's a significant amount of cargo space beyond that.

Entertainment? Oh, yeah. Our tester had the optional SYNC system (AM/FM/CD/digital hard-drive jukebox/Sirius Satellite Radio/DVD) with Ford's navigation system including live weather radar, sports scores and movie listings (Goodbye, Mr. Moviefone!).

Keep checking the option boxes and not only do the front seats have a moonroof, but the rear seats each get their own.

The seats are comfortable, though the headrests tilt a bit too far forward, the instrument panel layout (carried over from the Taurus) is logical and attractive. The engine has adequate power. But given that gas prices were at their peak the week of my test, I wasn't asking for more engine (which brings lower mileage).

Prices start in the upper 20s, but pack one with all the neat stuff, and you're at $45,000 before you know it. Will people pay that for a Ford station wagon? Or, will it be like the 60s, where we saw more mid-line Country Sedans than fully loaded Country Squires leaving the lot? Time will tell.