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Ford Flex
[[File:2009 Ford Flex (1)|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production June 3, 2008–present[1]
Model year(s) 2009–present
Assembly Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Predecessor Ford Freestar
Class Full-size crossover
Body style(s) 5-door station wagon
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
Platform Ford D4 platform
Engine(s) 3.5 L Duratec V6
3.5 L EcoBoost V6
Transmission(s) 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase 117.9 in (299 cm)
Length 201.8 in (513 cm)
Width 80.1 in (203 cm)
Height 68 in (170 cm)
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Taurus
Ford Taurus X
Mercury Sable
Lincoln MKS
Lincoln MKT
Designer Peter Horbury[2]
2009 Ford Flex (One Quarter Perspective)

Ford Flex rear

The Ford Flex is a full-size crossover manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Its styling is based on the Ford Fairlane concept unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. The production vehicle made its debut at the 2007 New York International Auto Show.[3] Sales of the Flex began in summer of 2008 as a 2009 model.[4][5] The Flex is produced on the same assembly line as the Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers at the Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, where the first Flex was driven off the line at the beginning of June 2008.[1] It replaced the Ford Freestar minivan and therefore is the first crossover to feature both minivan and SUV properties delivered by Ford. The Flex is sold only in the United States, Canada and in the Middle East.

FeaturesEdit

InteriorEdit

The 2009 Ford Flex includes seven-passenger seating, including adjustable and removable footrests for second-row passengers. The second and third row seats fold flat into the floor. The vehicle includes a class-exclusive optional interior "mini-fridge" refrigerator in the middle console mounted between the second-row seats. A voice-activated communications and entertainment system, called Ford Sync, integrates the functions of cell phones, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, compact disc, DVD and other media players, navigation systems, and was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. The interior is lit with programmable "mood lighting" available in seven colors, along with a multi-panel Vista Roof, similar to that on the Ford Edge, for skylighting. The Navigation system has a built in hard drive for music and picture storage.[6]

ExteriorEdit

The Flex continues Ford's signature chrome horizontal three-bar grille design, as seen on the Edge, Taurus X, Fusion, and 2008 Taurus. The windows and pillars appear blacked out, and the roof is available as white, silver, or the same color as the rest of the body. The 2009MY SEL (optional) and Limited (standard) models offer LED tail lamps and BiXenon headlamps, and a "capless" fueling system without the traditional fuel door and cap, which provides better sealing to reduce evaporative emissions from the fuel tank.[7] For 2010MY, the BiXenon headlamps and LED tail lamps were no longer available on the SEL and remained standard on the Limited. The standard wheels are 17-inch (430 mm) diameter (SE), 18-inch (460 mm) diameter (SEL), 19-inch (480 mm) diameter (Limited) and 20-inch (510 mm) diameter versions available on the Limited or SEL with EcoBoost.

The Flex features a series of horizontal grooves on its side and rear panels, intended to evoke a Woodie look without using simulated wood. Car Design News said the styling references "a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues."[8]

Safety and securityEdit

A back-up camera, mounted just above the bumper, allows the driver to see obstructions behind the vehicle, displayed on the 8-inch (200 mm) navigation display screen, whenever reverse gear is engaged. The navigation display was optional on the SEL and Limited models for 2009MY, but was no longer available for 2010MY on the SEL and became standard on the Limited.[1] The Flex comes with Ford's AdvanceTrac traction control system with roll stability control which helps the driver maintain control on low traction surfaces and during emergency maneuvers. All-wheel-drive is available as an option.

PowertrainEdit

The Ford Flex is powered by two different V-6 engines.

The Flex's 3.5 L (213 cu in) V6 engine produces 262 hp (195 kW) and 248 lb·ft (336 N·m), and is paired with the 6-speed 6F automatic transmission.

A direct-injected twin-turbocharged EcoBoost version is available for the 2010 model.[9] The EcoBoost produces 355 hp (265 kW) and 350 lb·ft (470 N·m) of torque. According to Ford, the turbochargers in the engine are designed to last 150,000 miles or 10 years.[10] AWD is required with the EcoBoost engine option. Towing capacity is 4,500 lb (2,000 kg). The all-wheel drive system is capable of transferring up to 100% of torque to the front or rear axle as needed.

ChassisEdit

The Flex includes an independent rear suspension system. It is built on the Ford D4 platform, a reengineered and enlarged version of the Ford D3 platform which underpins the 2005-2007 Five Hundred/Freestyle, 2008-2009 Taurus/Taurus X, 2009 Lincoln MKS and 2010 Ford Taurus. This chassis was in turn based on the Volvo P2 platform.

Active Park AssistEdit

Offered on the Flex is Ford's Active Park Assist system, which finds and measures a suitable parking space, then operates the steering wheel to accomplish the parallel parking task. This feature uses software control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS) system in response to inputs provided by ultrasonic sensors. A competing camera-based system from Lexus takes three times as long.[11]

MarketingEdit

As part of the 'electrifying the night' campaign, Ford partnered with Esquire Magazine|Esquire magazine in the magazine's first issue with a cover using E Ink technology.[12]

Sales in the United States Edit

Year Sales
2008 14,457[13]
2009 38,717[14]
2010[15] 34,227

ReceptionEdit

As of October 2010, the Flex is listed as the number 3 affordable mid-sized SUVs in US News behind the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse.[16] The Flex Ecoboost is also the first ranked large affordable SUV according to Consumer Reports.[17][not in citation given] It is also ranked the most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's most reliable vehicle as ranked by Consumer Reports.[18] Ford Flex AWD was ranked highest of large SUVs by the percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again.[19]

However, the Flex has not been as successful as original ambitions expected, with sales of less than half the target of 100,000[20] vehicles that Ford had expected to sell each year. Ford Flex sold 38,717[21] cars in 2009 compared to three larger competitors sales of 43,150 for the Buick Enclave, 91,074 for the Chevrolet Traverse and 83,118 for the Toyota Highlander in the same year.

ReferencesEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ford Flex. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "New Ford Flex rolls off line at Oakville Assembly". Media.Ford.com (June 3, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-10-10.
  2. Kelly, Kevin M (June 2008), "Richard Gresens: from trains, planes and … vacuum cleaners: the designer of the Ford Flex finds influence in some unexpected places", Automotive Design & Production, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KJI/is_6_120/ai_n26679012/. Retrieved on <time class="dtstart" datetime="2009-10-10">2009-10-10</time>. 
  3. "The Ford Flex, a.k.a. Fairlane, to debut in New York" (2007-03-24). Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  4. "2007 New York Auto Show Preview: Production Version of Ford Fairlane To Be Christened "Flex"" (2007-03-26). Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  5. Greenwood dealership sells first Ford Flex in the nation.
  6. "2009 Ford Flex Review". Automoblog.net.
  7. "2009 Ford Flex Overview". FordFlex.net.
  8. "Driven: Ford Flex". Car Design News Joe Simpson, Dec 26 2008. “Reminiscent of the infamous "woodie wagons" of the ‘50s, the Flex's aesthetic is notable for referencing a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues. Woodie wagons, such as the type-defining 1953 Buick Roadmaster estate, featured wooden exterior panels towards the rear of the car. The Flex reinterprets this through four distinctive horizontal grooves set into the lower half of both front and rear door panels, and a brushed-aluminum tailgate finish.”
  9. Neff, Natalie (August 24, 2009), "Flexitarian", AutoWeek (Detroit, Michigan: Crain Communications Inc.) 59(17): 24. ISSN 0192-9674. 
  10. Thami Masemola (2009-01-11). "Ford Flex first car to receive new 3.5-liter Twin Turbo EcoBoost engine". WorldCarFans.
  11. "Auto Tech » Auto Tech: Ford’s new Active Park Assist system". CanadianDriver (2009-07-29). Retrieved on 2009-08-22.
  12. Ford Flex Partners With Esquire and E Ink to Present First-Ever Digital Magazine Cover
  13. Ford (2009-01-05). "F-SERIES DRIVES FORD TO HIGHER MARKET SHARE FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH", http://media.ford.com/images/10031/dec08sales.pdf. Retrieved on <time class="dtstart" datetime="2010-10-26">2010-10-26</time>. 
  14. Ford Motor Company. "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995", http://media.ford.com/images/10031/December09sales.pdf. Retrieved on <time class="dtstart" datetime="2010-10-25">2010-10-25</time>. 
  15. http://web.archive.org/web/20110124044733/http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec10sales.pdf
  16. us news. "Best Affordable Midize SUVs". US News. Retrieved on 2010-10-25.
  17. Tom Mutchler. "Just In: 2010 Ford Flex Limited with Ecoboost". Consumer Reports. Retrieved on 2010-10-26.
  18. Consumer Reports. "Reliability trends, how makes compare". Consumer Reports. Retrieved on 2010-10-27. (registration required)
  19. Consumer Reports. "2010 Ford Flex Customer Satisfaction". Consumer Reports. Retrieved on 2010-10-26. (registration required)
  20. Rachwal, Paul. "Ford Establishes 100,000 annual Flex sales goal". Left Lane News. Retrieved on 2010-10-25.
  21. Ford Motor Company. "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995". Ford Motor Company. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved on 2010-10-25.

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