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The 2011 Ford Flex has angled its way into a rare phenomenon. Sales are increasing as it enters its third model year and as more SUV and wagon shoppers realize the square-jawed crossover is one of the best-riding, quickest vehicles available.
If the Flex’s collection of rectangles took you a while to warm to, you’re forgiven. It honestly doesn’t look like anything else on the showroom floor, save for a passing resemblance to a Range Rover. The cues are concept-car pure outside, with a rich-looking cabin standard on even the base $29,000 Flex. Borrowing from the MINI playbook, Ford lets you choose the roof color, mirror finishes, bigger wheels, and even a houndstooth-plaid interior. It’s as American as an old Ford Fairline, but Chanel-smart.
It’s just as pleasant to drive, a step up from the GM crossovers (Enclave, Acadia, Traverse) and even the winning Acura MDX. The Flex has a superior ride; a turbocharged V-6 engine whistles out more than 350 horsepower; and optional all-wheel drive has your back when winter’s at its worst. It’s possibly more comfortable than your living-room furniture, too, with soft but supportive front- and second-row buckets and a third-row seat that even adults will find
The Flex is among the safest vehicles you can buy—and once it’s loaded with the new Titanium package, it’s every bit as luxurious as a Lincoln MKT, which shares all its running gear. It outpaces even the Range Rover with e-gear like real-time traffic and movie times, an in-car refrigerator, and second-row footrests for your most important passengers. It may sticker at an oxygen-free $55,000, but the Flex Platinum is missing only exotica like night vision and in-car satellite TV in its quest to out-feature every family car on the road.
- EcoBoost turbo oomph
- Foxy, boxy, clone-free body
- Supremely cozy bucket seats
- More features than a 12-plex theater
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- Taller adults might get squished in third-row seat
- Front headrests tilt too far forward in search of five-star safety
- Top model’s in Range Rover Sport price territory