Oregon Day 2, Eureka! - 2009 Ford Flex Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex: Oregon Day 2, Eureka!

December 27, 2008

555 Oregon Day 2 mural.jpg

Phase One of our holiday odyssey in the 2009 Ford Flex has come to an end. We've arrived at my parents' place near Brookings, Oregon after some 830 miles in the saddle.

But not until after we made our now-customary lunch stop at the Lost Coast Brewing Company in Eureka, California. The above painted wall mural frames one end of the parking lot across the street.

So far, our intrepid crew has nothing but good things to say about the Flex:

The ride was smooth and comfortable, yet body motions were never buoyant or floaty. This is quite a trick on many northern California highways, distorted as they are by frequent land slippage and roadbed settling. Kudos to the suspension tuning crew at Ford.

We sit lower in a Flex than a minivan or big SUV and the lower roofline produces a lower center of gravity. Inside, we feel less roll movement in corners. I'm not sure if this is because the body actually rolls less, if it rolls the same but more gradually, or if our lower seated position (closer to the roll axis) results in less seat displacement for a given amount of roll. It's probably a case of 'All of the Above.'

Bottom line, no one got car sick this time -- even with their heads buried in a book, playing with their Nintendos or watching the DVD screen.

And everyone loved the Flex's entertainment system. The kids found it easy to manipulate the system to keep themselves busy with movies in the back, while Tracy and I kept the iPod going up front. I only wish the Sync interface provided better control over audiobooks. They don't show up under genre. You have to select the author, Neil Gaiman in this case, as if he were a band, or something. And trying to listen to a continuous 7-hour track with no chapter markers is a pain. A book should be an album, and chapters should be tracks. But they aren't.

Even so, the touch screen controls for it all, made possible by the navigation screen, kept it all running smoothly.

And then there are the seats. Stormy weather and cold fuel and food stops made the front and rear seat heaters a big hit. Some of you scoffed at the wrinkly look of the seats themselves in my pre-trip post, but the fact that the leather isn't stretched as tight as a drum made them quite pliable. They squish down just enough in the right spots while providing strategically-placed support over long distances. Sure, they aren't wildly bolstered and sculpted like Recaros, but the Flex isn't a GT-R and it isn't made to haul butt. But it does seem to haul butts rather well.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vedhicle Testing @ 13, 875 miles

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