D, L And Nothing Else - 2009 Ford Flex Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex: D, L And Nothing Else

October 31, 2008


Mike actually mentioned this in Part Two of his road trip cross-country odyssey, but it's worth focusing on specifically here. Like on many other Ford products, the Flex's automatic transmission gear selector has just two forward gates: Drive and Low. There's no manual mode.

If you leave it in Drive and are driving on hilly terrain with steep inclines, the transmission hunts between gears in response to your changing throttle inputs. There is a button on the left side of the shifter ('Grade Assist') that drops the transmission out of overdrive. It helps, but it seems to be designed more for getting additional engine braking on declines rather than ideal gearing for inclines. And dropping down to Low seems like overkill.

But wait, there's more...


Meanwhile, you'll notice in the above picture that Ford neglected to include an in-dash gear indicator for the transmission. So anytime you need to see what gear you're in, you'll have to look down to the shifter. I think this is the case for our long-term Edge, too.

Ford got so much right on its new Flex that you'd think these current Ford foibles would have been binned. Guess not.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Ford Flex Research