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Ford Flex With 355-Hp EcoBoost V-6 Delivers V-8 Power

By Arv Voss, May 8th, 2010

The Ford Flex has styling cues actually taken from early 1940s Art Deco vacuum cleaners, such as the Electrolux, with its ribbed, aluminum sides. The result, believe it or not, is very appealing.

Flex has a long, low stance with a low roofline that appears to float above the cabin's extended glass area, thanks to the blacked out A-, B-, C- and D-pillars. The length of the vehicle is exaggerated by the horizontal side grooves that are repeated in the rear panel and reflect continuity of the bold three-bar chrome grille.

Flex variants include the well-equipped SE model; followed by a more upscale SEL model; and topped by the flagship Limited model. When first introduced for the 2009 model year, Flex drew its motive force from Ford's 3.5-liter Duratec 262-horsepower V-6 engine.

Now for 2010 there's a new engine choice: a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with Direct Injection that delivers 355 horsepower at a lower rpm (5,700), while generating 350 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. The EcoBoost engine provides the power of a V-8 engine, but with the economy and efficiency of a V-6. EcoBoost technology combines turbocharging and direct gasoline injection to improve fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.

My test 2010 Ford Flex was in SEL trim, powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with intelligent All-Wheel Drive. It sported a Dark Ink Blue metallic exterior lower finish with a White roof, complemented by a Medium Light Stone leather interior. The price was set at $36,115 while options bumped the final sticker, before tax and license, to $41,555. Extra costs incurred were for: 20-inch bright painted aluminum wheels; Convenience Package; Sony 12-speaker Sound System; second-row 40/40-split Autofold seats; Class III Trailer Tow Package; White two-tone roof and destination and delivery charges.

The 2010 Flex EcoBoost SEL AWD not only provides an innovative and refreshing styling execution, it also provides an enjoyable driving experience. With its power output the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 delivers a V-8 power equivalent in terms of performance, with responsive acceleration, positive braking and smooth gear changes.

The intelligent all-wheel drive system constantly monitors and predicts traction, delivering torque to all four wheels, even before wheels begin to slip. The active, on-demand electronic center coupler is capable of allocating precise torque levels from front to rear (up to 100 percent to either axle) and when paired with standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. The intelligent system is able to transfer torque from front-to-rear, as well as from side-to-side.

Flex is capable of seating six or seven passengers, depending upon the third-row configuration selected (50/50 split-bench and single bench are available). Seating versatility is key in providing flexibility for passengers and cargo solutions, with infinite stowage combinations that offer flat surfaces in partial or full doses. Access to the "Business-Class" seating is comfortable due to the low step-in height.

Flex comes with SYNC, the award winning in-car communications and entertainment platform developed by Ford and Microsoft that enables users to control most MP3 players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones utilizing voice commands. Sony's 7.1 Surround sound system is optional and rated at 390 watts of power.

A Multipanel Vista Roof is available on Flex SEL and Limited models, providing four roof glass panels for natural light in all three seating rows. Panels include an operable front-row sunroof/moonroof and a large rear glass panel featuring individual frames in the Flex's headliner for second and third occupants.

Bottom-line, the Ford Flex with the EcoBoost V-6 presents itself as a refreshing change of pace for the Blue Oval team. It is not only innovative, it's attractive as well.

Specifications

Base price $36,115 (as tested: $41,555)
Displacement 3.5-liter
Engine type 24-valve turbo EcoBoost V-6 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.6 gal.
Horsepower (net) 355 at 5700 rpm
Overall length 201.8 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 350 at 3500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 6/7-passenger AWD SUV
Wheelbase 117.9 in.
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