2009 Ford Flex: Worst Shifter in the Entire History of the World
April 26, 2010
Above is a picture of the shifter in my wife's 2009 Mazda CX-9. It is a great shifter. Best in the affordable full-size crossover class. Notice how Mazda has given the driver control of the transmission with a manual gate, and it has even gone so far as to get the manual shift direction correct; push for a downshift and pull for an upshift.
Above is a picture of the shifter in long-term 2009 Ford Flex. It is a lame shifter. Worst in the affordable full-size crossover class. Notice how Ford has given the driver absolutely zero control over the transmission. There is no manual gate and no ability to downshift or actually choose what gear you want. And don't point to that L position. It's worthless unless you want the Flex's V6 banging on the rev limiter. Not sure why it is there at all.
What's really amazing about this shifter comparison is that the Mazda CX-9 was designed when Ford owned Mazda. Heck, they probably use the same 6-speed automatic transmission. (Anyone out there know if that's true?) So the same company is responsible for the best and the worst shifters in this class. Go figure.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief