Equipment Group 303A ($3,895-- includes active park assist, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, power-folding third-row seats, 10-way heated/cooled front seats, power tilt-and-telecoping steering colum, heated steering wheel); Multipanel Vista Roof ($1,595); Rear Inflatable Seatbelts ($195); Class III Trailer Tow Package ($570); White Two-Tone Roof ($395)
Twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6, gasoline
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder with variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
365 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
350 @ 1,500
Six-speed automatic with console shifter and steering-mounted paddles
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
The Flex's 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine doesn't feel as quick as the numbers indicate, a nod to the smooth, seamless power from the turbo V6. Our quickest run was achieved by power braking to 2,500 rpm with traction off and in Sport shift mode. The Flex seems a little sensitive to the amount of power braking: not too much and not too little. Pausing for half a second at 2,500 rpm seemed to be the sweet spot. The shifts are noticeably quicker in Sport mode than in regular drive mode, but they aren't overly punchy or aggressive. You also don't get a strong sense that the engine is turbocharged, as there aren't any of the traditional turbo swoosh noises, nor is there much (if any) turbo lag.
Braking runs from 60 mph were dead straight in the Flex: no wiggle or real need to steer. The brakes also were very consistent, with no discernible fade even after five back-to-back stops and a max fluctuation of 2 feet between any two runs. Our best run was the second stop that rounded up to 120 feet, 5 feet better than the segment average. There is some tire noise under ABS activation, but it isn't loud or unsettling. All told, pretty nice brakes for an SUV.
"Skid pad: Understeer is present upon corner entry, but midcorner the Flex seems to take a set and find its balance. With traction control on, there's slightly more system intervention, working to keep the Flex on the intended path. You can hear and feel the brakes being actuated at the necessary wheels, and the engine will limit torque if needed. Feedback from the steering is pretty minimal, and the weight doesn?t change whether your tires have grip or not.