Haulin' - 2009 Ford Flex Limited Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Long Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Limited: Haulin'

October 13, 2009

Flex load DSC00911(2).jpg

What do you do when a load of stuff needs hauling north and the Ram's already out? Dial 1-800PAK-THE-FLEX.

We have already praised our 2009 Ford Flex's usefulness in various kinds of over-the-road duty, and we've spun its odometer (yes, it's digital, but come on) past 36,000 miles in less than 15 months. What the Flex does great is accommodate a wide range of loads - people, luggage, cargo, Golden Retrievers, anything short of bulky furniture - and pound up the freeway in a relaxed, smooth and efficient manner. For this weekend, we averaged 21.3 mpg over 1312 miles, almost all of it at a steady 75 mph indicated and the load in back a light press fit between carpet and headliner. We had all the aft seats folded flat, but depending on the needs of the moment, of course, the Flex can be configured to suit. And the trip was a delight: comfy, entertaining (thank you, Sirius) and not at all the ordeal the miles/day might suggest.

Our gripes are pretty small, and some have been documented here before. Like Dan Edmunds, my arms are too short for my legs when seated at the Flex's helm, though I could find a compromise position that mostly let me forget about it. I don't love the steering feel, which strikes me as a bit more truck-like than necessary, and the slick, capless fuel filler sometimes dribbled a little overflow even when I didn't top off.

But the one thing that irked me every time I used it, which was a lot, was the cruise control. The system performs fine, but it is managed by four identical, adjacent buttons on the steering wheel, which cannot be distinguished by feel. After nightfall, especially, far too much attention must be diverted to finding the one you want. This tidy button array was obviously designed by someone who hasn't used a cruise control in the dark.

That's about it. If I had another load to take all that way tomorrow, I'd be happy to launch in the Flex.

Kevin Smith, Editorial Director @ 36,093 miles

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