A 3,445-Mile Road Trip in the 2013 Ford Flex

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by in Auto News

It was an ambitious program for a summer vacation: Go from Chicago to the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Bismarck, ND, to Rapid City, SD, to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial to see, and then the Denver before returning to Chicago. It included Alpine sledding, white water rafting and a trip to the summit of Pikes Peak. All in a refreshed 2013 Ford Flex.

Now we have every version of the Flex before driven. Our first trip took us to the original version from Chicago to upstate New York. Two years ago, we drove an EcoBoost-equipped Flex from LA to Chicago. This time we had a new Flex with stronger than the original base engine.

Here are pieces such as the journey went.

By the numbers

Miles from start to finish: 3,445
Here are the two longest legs:

  • Chicago to Denver: 1,891 miles, 89.5 gallons of gasoline, and almost exactly 36 hours driving time. 21.1 mpg (on-board computer).
  • Denver to Chicago: 989 miles. 46 gallons of gas. Almost 16 hours of driving. 21.5 mpg (on-board computer).

Like the Flex Drove

For my family, the flex of the largest touring crossover remains available today. My wife and I have three young people who are very much adult size, but never on the trip was to argue about space and comfort. In fact, the children were about who could be the third row for the home have argued, usually, they hate sitting in the way back.

It is an incredibly smooth ride, whether on interstate or endless dirt roads in Montana (more on that later). Normally on most road trips we take, which are almost all much shorter than 3,000 miles, I is complaints about seat cushion or someone in a position to be adjusted their seat to hear a comfortable position. That was not the case with the Flex.

While the Flex has been updated, many of the changes were cosmetic. The new front end looks like something straight from the movie "Tron. Legacy" The rear end looks basically the same, with the blue Ford oval always rapped in size and location.

I should point out, that was not the EcoBoost Flex, a version that I drove from Los Angeles to Chicago two summers ago. That being said, was the 285-horsepower V-6 I drove this road trip is more than sufficient and has enough power when I needed them in mountain areas. Sure, it hummed over many crossings of its size, but I did, know that it is weird, like the exhaust note of a three-row crossover?

Our biggest Pet Peeve

While the Flex dynamics and super annoying were a usability aspect of the crossover us almost as much as MyFord Touch: the single-turn signal stalk. Ford has an approach to this piece of equipment that is found in BMWs and other makes adopted: slightly hit the stalk and get three of the indicator flashes on both sides. Hit it harder, and it remains flashing until the driver forced him off (think the difference between a quick lane change and waiting a turn of a left-turn lane to make).

Did it bug us? Because roads are never as smooth as engineers test areas, and more than once I hit the stalk hard enough to blink continuous signal when I meant to only initiate a lane change. More than a few times I had the signal flashes in the direction I'd just come out in a vain attempt to turn it off. Attention all car manufacturers: We do not need this level of nuance indicator. Hit it once to select it, and hit it again to turn it off. You are pondering this.

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