2009 Ford Flex: 14-year-old Boy Approved
March 17, 2009
I've spent a good deal of time in the Ford Flex, just not our particular long termer. Last summer, I journeyed up to Big Bear Lake, California, in a Cinnamon-colored short termer and was left thoroughly impressed by its road trip manners. One month later I was in Toronto on vacation and picked up a Light Ice Blue SEL from the same factory in Oakville, Ontario, its Ford family-hauling predecessors were built since 1994. Both the Windstar and Freestar (and Mercury Monterey!) minivans were mediocre-to-horrible for most of their existence, and the fact that these diseased members of an endangered species have been replaced at the Oakville plant and in the Ford lineup by a hopefully game-changing vehicle like the Flex certainly seemed symbolic.
While the Flex doesn't have the same max utility of a minivan, that summer Toronto trip certainly showed it had the type of appeal the Windstar could only dream about.
Photos and more after the jump.
2009 Ford Flex at Ford Canada Headquarters and the adjacent factory that builds the Flex, Edge, Lincoln MKX and MKT.
"Hey James, that's a cool car," said my 13-year-old cousin Cooper after a long look over the Flex. A three-row, six-passenger family mobile shouldn't in theory draw this sort of reaction from a generation devoted to its text messaging, skater boy fashion sense and that quasi-punk band I'd rather not know the name of. But here was such a vehicle appealing to such a kid. At the Toronto airport, a similarly aged boy passed in front of me at a crosswalk and gave me a thumbs up, clearly mouthing "nice car, man." The 22-year-old brother of a friend also thought the Flex was "pretty sweet."
At the same time, my mother loved the Flex. "I wish I would've had one of these when you were a kid." (Although anything would've been better than an '83 Cutlass Cierra). The space, the high-quality interior, the electronic goodies and the styling all had their appeal. A whole host of other adults thought the Flex would make a great family vehicle (mind you, several others thought it was butt-ugly).
The fact that a family hauler can appeal to moms and 14-year-old boys alike is a triumph. How many times does that really happen ... in any realm? If mom and dad can have their three-rows of seats and room for hockey equipment, while skater son can look cool pulling up to the school parking lot, everyone wins. I've been seeing more Flexes on the road recently and once the economy improves, I foresee the Flex being a runaway best-seller. Well done Ford.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 20,104 miles
The Flex at Ford Canada HQ (left), and at Canada's smallest jail in Coboconk, Ontario