Mt. Whitney Road Trip - Day Three - Hot Brakes - 2009 Ford Flex Limited Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Long Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Limited: Mt. Whitney Road Trip - Day Three - Hot Brakes

September 12, 2010

Flex Shifter in Drive.jpg

With all the cool technology in the 2009 Ford Flex Limited you think they would have provided more gear choices than just 'D' and 'L.' Coming down from the Mount Whitney Portal to Lone Pine you descend 4,700 feet on a winding mountain road over only 14 miles. There are sheer cliffs just off the road and in many places no guard rail. When I put the Flex in low it feels like it's in second gear which provides too much engine braking. So the alternative is just to leave it in D and pump the brakes to hold the speed down to a reasonable level. When I got back down to town and parked at our hotel I could smell the hot brakes.

My other gripe with this shifter is that it's hard to tell when it's in gear since the lever doesn't line up with the letter D. Several times I thought it was in gear and put my foot on the gas only to hear the engine rev in neutral. This is the kind of thing that probably wouldn't be a problem once you got used to it. But I definitely would miss having more gear choices for steep descents. Since the Flex has a six-speed transmission, I'd like the chance to use more gears. For mountain driving it's a great feature.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 68,116 miles

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