Track Tested: 2010 Ford Flex SEL with EcoBoost


2010 Ford Flex SEL with EcoBoost

Edmunds.com tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

We really like our long-term 2008 Ford Flex, but it has never had much going on in the acceleration department. For 2010, the long-awaited Ford EcoBoost V6 is an option for the Flex. And it's no understatement to say it makes a world of difference.

With this twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 under its hood, the Flex shaves 2 full seconds off its quarter-mile time and has a 9-mph quicker trap speed. That's nothing short of amazing for a big, heavy, six-passenger crossover.

Full track test results for the 2010 Ford Flex SEL with EcoBoost after the jump, followed by track numbers for our long-term Flex, so you can compare the two.

2010 Ford Flex SEL with EcoBoost

Vehicle: 2010 Ford Flex SEL AWD w/ EcoBoost V6
Date: 9/15/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $40,335

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic
Engine Type: Twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 60-degree V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,496/213
Redline (rpm): 6,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 355 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 350 ft.-lb. @1,500 to 5,250 rpm
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc with 2-piston sliding caliper
Brake Type (rear): Solid disc with single-piston sliding caliper
Steering System: Electric-assist power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P255/45R20 101V
Tire Size (rear): P255/45R20 101V
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle RS-A
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 20-by-8.5-inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,819

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.4 (2.6 traction control on)
0 - 45 (sec): 4.1 (4.2 traction control on)
0 - 60 (sec): 6.4 (6.6 traction control on)
0 - 75 (sec): 9.4 (9.6 traction control on)
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 14.6 @ 95.0 (14.7 @ 95.1 traction control on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.1 (6.2 traction control on)
30 - 0 (ft): 31
60 - 0 (ft): 128
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 60.6 (traction control off; stability control not defeatable)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.76 (traction control off; stability control not defeatable)
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 40.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 73.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 62.5 (engine rpm: 1,900)

Acceleration Comments: Interestingly, the Flex's brakes don't have the power to hold back all of the engine's yank. Forget about a really good brake torque launch. Also, the paddle shifters don't bring any speed or accuracy to shifts; best run was in "D."

Braking Comments: Pedal went from soft to squishy in only a few runs. Overall, not a good sign for a long mountain-road descent in a Flex.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Aggressive stability control means skidpad is a matter of wooding the throttle and steering -- nothing more. Slalom: Non-defeatable stability control forces smooth transitions or punishes severely. Maintain a consistent throttle position and go easily on the wheel, and it intervenes only rarely.

Now let's compare those numbers to Edmunds.com long-term, front-wheel-drive 2008 Ford Flex Limited with its 262-hp, normally-aspirated, 3.5-liter V6. Our long-termer weighs 4,681 pounds and wears P235/55R19 101H Hankook Optimo H725 all-season tires. This test was conducted on August 20, 2008, with 1,381 miles on the odometer. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton was the driver.

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.3
0 - 45 (sec): 5.6
0 - 60 (sec): 8.9
0 - 75 (sec): 13.0
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.5 @ 85.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.5
30 - 0 (ft): 33
60 - 0 (ft): 129
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 57.1
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.74
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 43.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.8

Acceleration Comments: Not much technique involved here: mash 'n go. Engine has little personality to judge good/bad. Upshifts occur at 6,000 rpm, which we'll assume is redline (none is painted on the tach).

Braking Comments: Long-travel pedal doesn't inspire confidence, but the stopping distances do. Solid stops are all in the 130-foot range. Fade only crept in after 4 quarter-mile runs.

Handling Comments: Skidpad: Non-defeatable stability control sets the skidpad limit. Steering effort and build-up are appropriate and intuitive. With traction control turned off, however, I managed to spin the inside front tire a few times. Slalom: Again, ESP is the limiting factor, so a "less is more" technique worked best.

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