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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ford Flex
2013 Ford Flex -- 07-11-2012.JPG
2013 Ford Flex SEL
Overview
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
ProductionJune 3, 2008–2019[1]
Model years2009–2019
AssemblyCanada: Oakville, Ontario (Oakville Assembly)
DesignerPeter Horbury[2]
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size crossover SUV
Body style4-door SUV
LayoutFF layout / AWD layout
PlatformFord D4 platform
RelatedFord Explorer (2011-2019)
Ford Taurus (sixth generation)
Ford Taurus (fifth generation)
Lincoln MKS
Lincoln MKT
Powertrain
Engine3.5 L Duratec V6
3.5 L EcoBoost V6
Transmission6-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase117.9 in (2,995 mm)
Length201.8 in (5,126 mm)
Width75.9 in (1,928 mm)
Height68 in (1,727 mm)
Chronology
PredecessorFord Taurus X/Ford Freestyle
Ford Freestar

The Ford Flex is a full-size crossover SUV[3] that was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company; a single generation was produced from the 2009 to 2019 model years. Introduced as the successor to the Ford Taurus X, the model line also functionally replaced the Ford Freestar minivan. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the Flex was sized between the Explorer and standard-wheelbase Expedition in the Ford model line.

Introduced in 2005 as a concept vehicle, the Flex shifted body configurations from an MPV to a 5-door wagon for production to better meet consumer demand. The model line is based on the Ford D4 chassis architecture, a flexible-wheelbase variant of the Ford D3 platform. The D4 chassis was also shared by the 2011-2019 Explorer and the Lincoln MKT; while sharing no body panels, the MKT served as a direct counterpart of the Flex.

From June 2008 until its withdrawal[4], the Ford Flex was manufactured by Ford Canada at Oakville Assembly (Oakville, Ontario); the Flex and the Lincoln MKT were produced alongside the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX (today, Lincoln Nautilus). The Flex was marketed in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East.

Background

2005 Ford Fairlane concept at 2005 Chicago Auto Show
2005 Ford Fairlane concept at 2005 Chicago Auto Show

At the 2005 Chicago Auto Show, Ford unveiled the Ford Fairlane concept vehicle. Derived from the mid-size Ford CD3 platform (to be used by the 2006 Ford Fusion sedan), the vehicle was a 3-row MPV with multiple distinctive styling elements. The rear passenger doors of the Fairlane were rear-hinged; this configuration was chosen to provide better interior views when on display. When the doors were closed, the configuration appeared similar to a production minivan.

The concept vehicle was approved for 2009 production as the Ford Flex. Along with the name change, several extensive changes were made from the Fairlane concept, while the styling was largely left intact. The vehicle was increased in size, shifting from the CD3 chassis to the full-size D4 platform. While replacing the Freestar minivan, the design abandoned sliding doors for front-hinged doors, in line with a station wagon.

Styled by former Volvo designer Peter Horbury, the Flex was distinguished by its straight-lined exterior, adding horizontal grooves in the doors and tailgate (evoking a Woodie). To visually lower the exterior, the Flex was designed with a "floating roof"; all the roof pillars were painted black with a white-painted roof (the latter, similar to the Mini). Car Design News said the styling referenced "a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues."[5]


Design overview

The Ford Flex was based on the Ford D4 chassis architecture, a version of the D3 platform re-engineered for use for multiple wheelbases. The model line was offered with front-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive as an option. The Flex was designed with an independent rear suspension system and a traction control system called AdvanceTrac.

Powertrain

The Ford Flex is powered by two different 3.5L V6 engines, both paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine was a naturally-aspirated Duratec V6; initially producing 262 hp, the engine was increased in output to 287 hp for 2013.

As an option for all-wheel drive vehicles[6], a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 produced 355 hp, increased to 365 hp for 2013.

Towing capacity is 4,500 lb (2,041 kg). The all-wheel drive system is capable of transferring up to 100% of torque to the front or rear axle as needed.

Model history

2009–2012

At its 2009 introduction, the Flex was launched with three trim levels. As with other Ford cars, there was an SE base model, mid-level SEL, and top-trim Limited. Flexes were available in six or seven-passenger seating configurations, (7-passenger models have a bench seat for the second row). As part of the roof design, Ford offered three colors for the roof paint: black, white/cream, and body-color.

In 2010, a second available engine was added, as a 355 hp twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 became available for all-wheel drive models. On US models, reverse cameras were restricted to Limited-trim models.[4]

For 2012, an automatic parking system was added as option for upper-trim models.

2013–2019

For the 2013 model year, the Ford Flex was given a mid-cycle model revision, introduced at the 2011 LA Auto Show. While the roofline and doors were retained, the front and rear saw major changes.[7] A single-bar grille replaced the three-bar grille, but other changes to the front end attracted even more attention. Along with the SVT Raptor, the Flex was a model that did not wear the Ford blue oval emblem; the hood wore "F-L-E-X" above the grille. On the tailgate, the Ford emblem was decreased in size and moved to the bottom right corner. Inside, the dashboard was updated, with a new 3-spoke steering wheel.[7]

The 2019 model year Flex only had minor changes, and was the final year for the vehicle.[8]


Trim levels

Since its introduction in 2009, the Ford Flex has only been available in three trim levels:

The base SE trim level, only available with front-wheel-drive (FWD), offers the following features as standard equipment: a 3.5L "DuraTec" V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, seventeen-inch alloy wheels and tires, an A/M-F/M stereo with a single-disc CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio input jack (later, Ford SYNC also became standard equipment on this trim level), a six-speaker audio system, cloth seating surfaces, aluminum interior trim panels, keyless entry, power windows, power door locks, black side mirrors and door handles, and manually controlled two-row air conditioning.

The mid-level SEL trim level, available with either FWD OR all-wheel-drive (AWD), adds the following features to the base SE trim level: eighteen-inch alloy wheels and tires, Ford SYNC, an A/M-F/M stereo with satellite radio, a six-disc, in-dash CD/MP3 changer and an auxiliary audio input jack (later, MyFord Touch or SYNC 3 became standard equipment on this trim level), a seven-speaker premium audio system with external amplifier and rear-mounted subwoofer, a power front driver's seat, a security system, color-keyed door handles, and automatically controlled two-row air conditioning.

The top-of-the-line Limited trim level, available with either FWD OR AWD, adds the following features to the mid-level SEL trim level: nineteen-inch chrome-plated alloy wheels and tires, a GPS navigational system (later with MyFord Touch or SYNC 3), leather-trimmed seating surfaces, dual power front seats, heated and ventilated dual front seats, a driver's memory system, push-button ignition and remote start with keyless access (on later models ONLY), a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, a Sony premium surround-sound audio system with center-channel speaker, rear-mounted subwoofer, and external surround-sound amplifier, and chrome-plated side mirrors (in 2013 it was changed to body color mirror caps) and door handles.

On the 2011 and 2012 models there was an additional Titanium trim level which was the Limited with blacked out headlights, tail lights, rear applique, 3 bar grille without the Ford logo, blacked out beltline trim, foglamp bezels, and mirror caps. It had different interior trim, upholstery and was only available in Black, White, Red and Silver. [9] Also, a Ford Flex Funkmaster Flex Edition was available between 2009 and 2010. Produced in limited numbers with an individually numbered dash plaque, this special edition Ford Flex was based on the top-of-the-line Titanium trim level, and offered basically identical features, though was only available in a special two-tone Red and Black Clear Coat exterior paint scheme, special twenty-inch chrome-plated alloy wheels and tires, gloss black side mirrors and door handles, gloss black fascia inserts, a red-and-black two-tone leather and suede-trimmed interior, "FMF" exterior emblems and interior embroidery, and red interior trim panels.

Finally, a Sport Appearance Package is available on the top-of-the-line Limited and SEL trim levels, and adds the following equipment to it: gloss black side mirrors and door handles, gloss black fascia inserts, twenty-inch alloy wheels with gloss black-painted accents and tires, a two-tone black-and-gray leather-trimmed interior, and aluminum interior trim panels.

Marketing

As part of the "electrifying the night" campaign, Ford partnered with Esquire magazine in the magazine's first issue with a cover using E Ink.[10]

Sales in the United States

Year Sales
2008 14,457[11]
2009 38,717[12]
2010 34,227[13]
2011 27,428[14]
2012 28,224[15]
2013 25,953[16]
2014 23,822[17]
2015 19,570[18]
2016 22,668[19]
2017 22,389[20]
2018 20,308[21]
2019 24,484[22]

Reception

As of October 2010, the Flex is listed as the number 3 affordable mid or full-sized SUVs in US News behind the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse.[23] The Flex Ecoboost is also the first ranked large affordable SUV according to Consumer Reports.[24][failed verification] It is also ranked the most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's most reliable vehicle as ranked by Consumer Reports.[25] Ford Flex AWD was ranked highest of large SUVs by the percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again.[26]

However, the Flex has not been as successful as original ambitions expected, with sales of less than half the target of 100,000[27] vehicles that Ford had expected to sell each year. Ford Flex sold 38,717[28] cars in 2009 compared to three larger competitors sales of 43,150 for the Buick Enclave, 91,074 for the Chevrolet Traverse and 83,118 for the Toyota Highlander in the same year.

References

  1. ^ "Retrospective: Ford Flex Stood Out As Bold, Fun And Fashionable In A Crowded Minivan/SUV Segment" (Press release). Ford Media Center. October 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Kelly, Kevin M (June 2008). "Richard Gresens: from trains, planes and … vacuum cleaners: the designer of the Ford Flex finds influence in some unexpected places". Automotive Design & Production. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "New Ford Flex rolls off line at Oakville Assembly". Media.Ford.com. June 3, 2009. Archived from the original on August 23, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  5. ^ "Driven: Ford Flex". Car Design News Joe Simpson, December 26, 2008. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Reminiscent of the infamous "woodie wagons" of the ‘50s, the Flex's aesthetic is notable for referencing a previous era without resorting to obvious retro styling cues. Woodie wagons, such as the type-defining 1953 Buick Roadmaster estate, featured wooden exterior panels towards the rear of the car. The Flex reinterprets this through four distinctive horizontal grooves set into the lower half of both front and rear door panels, and a brushed-aluminum tailgate finish.
  6. ^ Neff, Natalie (August 24, 2009). "Flexitarian". AutoWeek. Detroit, Michigan: Crain Communications Inc. 59 (17): 24. ISSN 0192-9674.
  7. ^ a b Kiley, David (March 23, 2012). "First Drive:  2013 Ford Flex  Freshly Tweaked for a Second Life". Autoblog.com. AOL Inc. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  8. ^ “Here is What’s New For 2019 Ford Flex” from Ford Authority (March 16, 2019)
  9. ^ Ford Flex Sales Brochure, 2011, 2012
  10. ^ "Ford Flex Partners With Esquire and E Ink to Present First-Ever Digital Magazine Cover". Theautochannel.com. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  11. ^ "F-SERIES DRIVES FORD TO HIGHER MARKET SHARE FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH" (PDF) (Press release). Ford. January 5, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 6, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995" (PDF) (Press release). Ford Motor Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 24, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Ford Motor Company Delivers Best Sales Year Since 2006" (PDF). Media.ford.com. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  17. ^ "North America Sales 2014" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  18. ^ "North America Sales 2015" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  19. ^ "North America Sales 2016" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "North America Sales 2017" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "North America Sales 2018" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "North America Sales 2019" (PDF). media.ford.com. 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  23. ^ us news. "Best Affordable Midize SUVs". US News. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  24. ^ Tom Mutchler. "Just In: 2010 Ford Flex Limited with Ecoboost". Consumer Reports. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  25. ^ Consumer Reports. "Reliability trends, how makes compare". Consumer Reports. Retrieved October 27, 2010.(registration required)
  26. ^ Consumer Reports. "2010 Ford Flex Customer Satisfaction". Consumer Reports. Retrieved October 26, 2010.(registration required)
  27. ^ Rachwal, Paul. "Ford Establishes 100,000 annual Flex sales goal". Left Lane News. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  28. ^ Ford Motor Company. "FORD CAPS 2009 WITH 33 PERCENT SALES INCREASE, FIRST FULL-YEAR MARKET SHARE GAIN SINCE 1995" (PDF). Ford Motor Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 September 2020, at 21:02
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