2009 Ford Flex Limited: Non-Painstaking Parking
June 23, 2010
Our 2009 Long-Term Ford Flex is long. Actually it's 201.8 inches (or 16.8 feet) long. That's great when you want to stuff six people in it and provide them all with a modicum of legroom, but not so good when you need to squeeze into curbside parking (particularly if curbside parking isn't all that common).
That was the situation I encountered recently after circling the Acedemy of Science in San Francisco. The parking structure was full, and street parking was not to be found. At least not until I spotted an open space that seemed only slightly longer than the Flex. I'm not sure if the photo above fully communicates it, but trust me -- the space between the Prius in front of me and the GTI behind was very tight.
I'll happily take some credit for maneuvering the big crossover into such a small spot, but in truth it was the second time I'd managed to squeeze the Ford into tight street parking in two days.
That's because the Ford's rear camera makes such parallel parking feats relatively easy. You can move right next to the vehicle behind you without actually hitting it, so if you cut the wheel correctly when first backing up you can get the Flex lined up almost perfectly with the curb while taking full advantage of whatever open space you've got.
That's not to say it's always easy parking the big people mover, but it's not nearly as difficult as it would be without the rear camera. If you can't spring for Ford's automatic parking assist system, this feature makes a reasonable (and cheaper) substitute.
Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 57,923 miles