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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
“Acceleration is a feel-good event, especially considering you're driving something that's sized like a Costco on wheels”
All-wheel drive “optional”
Car and Driver
Can “tow up to 4,500 pounds”
The 2010 Ford Flex offers a choice of two powertrains, a base-level naturally aspirated 3.5L V-6 and the range topping twin-turbo 3.5L V-6. The base engine is available with either FWD or AWD, while the range-topping turbo engine is only available with AWD.
Automobile Magazine notes that the 2010 Ford Flex’s standard engine is “the same 3.5-liter V-6 found throughout the Ford, Mazda, Mercury, and Lincoln brands.” In the Flex, Ford will push the base V-6 to 262 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. In other applications, TheCarConnection.com notes, this engine produces ample power, with a touch of noticeable engine noise at the very top of its rev range. Edmunds states with “an estimated curb weight of 4,650 pounds, Ford says the Flex will accelerate to 60 mph in about 9 seconds” using the standard engine, which may put it a second slower than the large crossovers from General Motors (Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Chevrolet Traverse). Meanwhile, the 2010 Ford Flex is also available with a 355-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 that offers startling performance. According to Motor Trend, “the new engine is surprisingly smooth and does a fantastic job of getting the crossover up to speed.” Autoblog observes that “the twin turbos in the Ford made the difference at altitude, making a quantifiable difference in pulling up hills and on flats.” TheCarConnection.com notes that turbo engines have an efficiency advantage over naturally aspirated engines when in high-altitude situations.
The 2010 Ford Flex comes with a single gearbox, a six-speed automatic transmission that was co-developed with General Motors. For 2010, the six-speed was strengthened to take on the extra twisting power from the new EcoBoost engine. There’s also an “intelligent all-wheel-drive system, capable of routing 100 percent of the engine's torque to either axle,” Edmunds adds. All-wheel drive is still “optional,” Car and Driver points out, except in the case of the EcoBoost engine.
Ford says the base-engine front-drive version of the 2010 Ford Flex is rated at 17/24 mpg, while the all-wheel-drive Flex gets 16/22 mpg. Edmunds says it is rated to “tow up to 4,500 pounds.” The EcoBoost model returns 16 mpg city/22 highway with standard AWD—the same fuel economy as the naturally aspirated variant, but with a large power advantage.
The 2010 Ford Flex performs well enough with the base engine, but it's all the more impressive with the twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6.