Oregon Day 9, Home at Last - 2009 Ford Flex Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex: Oregon Day 9, Home at Last

January 03, 2009

555 Oregon Day 9 grime.jpg

Our 2009 Ford Flex is spending tonight in my driveway wearing 9 days worth of road grime. As for us, we're only a little bit cleaner, but we're happy to be sleeping in our own beds.

Earlier on I'd passed along my dad's praise for the narrow door sills and how they ease ingress and egress. An alert reader pointed out that this would keep one's pants leg from getting dirty, too. At first I thought this comment had to do with the geometry of the design and how it made it less likely that one's pants leg would drag across the narrower sill when getting in. But there's more to it than that.

555 Oregon Day 9 clean sill.jpg

No matter what sort of choas is going on outside, the sill never gets the least bit dirty. Just look at that shine! This is because of the way the bottom of the door wraps around and cups the door sill. And there are seals down there, too.

555 Oregon Day 9 Door wrap.jpg

I just put a load of jeans in the wash, and none of them had schmutz on the pant legs. For this reason, the Flex gets my vote as the #1 job interview car for anyone living and working in ice and snow country.

No doubt this byzantine arrangement is also a big reason why we experienced a rather low amount of road noise on a variety of surfaces.

Yesterday we'd achieved 26.7 mpg coming down out of the mountains, but the overall drop in altitude and the slow pace and delicate throttle inputs forced upon us by the weather made me wonder if this figure was a fluke. After all, the front-wheel drive Flex is EPA certified at 24 mpg on the highway.

On today's last leg, I steadfastly used the cruise control, alternating the set-point between 65 and 70 mph as the speed limit varied likewise. The route from Fresno starts out flat, but then it climbs sharply to over 4,000 feet and dithers up and down a bit before dropping back near sea level in the LA basin. And of course there were a couple of potty stops. All in all, this wasn't the driving profile I'd have chosen to determine maximum fuel economy. But at least it was realistic.

The result? 26.5 mpg. As usual, the on-board computer exaggerated like a novice fisherman and claimed a 27.8 mpg performance.

After I get a good night's sleep, I'll summarize my accumulated Ford Flex impressions on Monday. Or Tuesday. I need a break.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 15, 320 miles

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