2009 Ford Flex: 13 Hours in the Saddle
January 04, 2010
Our winter Oregon trip in the 2009 Ford Flex is over. We're all home safe and sound.
You may be wondering what happened to the updates from the Bend leg of our trip. Well, they weren't necessary because, for a variety of reasons, that part of our trip was cancelled.
The night before we were to leave it snowed 6 inches in the mountain passes between the beach and Bend, with more forecast for the day we would need to leave. Tracy and the kids were in no mood to spend 10 hours in the car--slowed by snow an the likely need to fit chains--for what would amount to a one-day visit on the other end, no to mention the longer drive home--slowed by still more snow on rural two-lane roads--that would result. I was game for the drive, but since it was her sister we were to visit I wasn't going to force the trip on them for the sake of an interesting blog post or two. This is our vacation, after all.
Instead we stayed a couple of extra days at Dad's hilltop hideaway and then drove home. Everyone was anxious to get home at that point, so we decided to tackle the entire 816-mile return trip in one day.
Even though it nearly spans the length of California, our route was fairly straightforward: highway 101 south to interstate 580 east to interstate 5 south to highway 91 east to home. In other words, most of it is freeway. The first third took fully half the time, owing to stretches of two-lane in the mountains and persistent rain. But after that, we made good time--very good time.
Including a couple of fuel and potty stops, a drive-through lunch eaten on the road and a brief sit down dinner at Panda Express, it took us 12 hours and 51 minutes to get home. Not bad at all.
And the seats and the well-damped ride of the 2009 Ford Flex Limited made it possible, as all four of us arrived basically intact with no ill effects. This is really saying something because my wife has a hard time getting comfortable in most cars, but she had such no problems in the Flex. In fact she told me later that she would not have agreed to the straight-through scenario if we had been in any other car in our blog fleet.
Me? I can ride in almost anything, but if it passes the Tracy Test it's safe to say the Ford Flex Limited has excellent long-distance comfort. Certainly a more pleasant ride experience than this ...
And if you still think the Flex looks like a hearse, think again. THIS is a hearse.
Finally, a summary of our trip fuel economy.
The mpg figures in the high 'teens represent local trips near my parents' house; everything else is highway mileage. Our trip's best tanks, both in the 22's, could have been 2 or 3 mpg better had we kept our speed down on the long, boring parts of Interstate 5 though central California. But we were on a mission and, besides, anyone who has driven that strip of lonely asphalt knows you'll get run over if you don't go with the supercharged flow. Even so, our trip-long average of 20.4 mpg exceeds the two-wheel drive Flex's 19 mpg EPA combined fuel economy rating.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 44,099 miles