2009 Ford Flex Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge
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Review and photos by Chris Chase
2009 Ford Flex
Ottawa, Ontario – While many family vehicle buyers prefer crossovers to minivans, truth is most of them are no more exciting to drive or look at than vans.
Then, along comes the Ford Flex. At first glance, it’s quite an eyeful – as Paul Williams noted in last summer’s First Drive. The admiring glances it attracts from passers-by attest to its visual chutzpah.
The Flex is Ford’s contribution to our Bring It On! winter driving series, and the example they sent us is the all-singing, all-dancing Limited AWD version. (It’s also available in SEL trim.) Our tester adds almost every option available, including a Class III trailer towing package, all-weather floor mats, navigation and DVD entertainment systems, nifty Vista Roof and a second-row console with a refrigerator built into it.
It all adds up to $51,519 (including freight), about $8,000 more than the Limited AWD model’s base price, and around $16,000 more than a Flex SEL front-wheel drive.
Ford says the Flex’s “intelligent” all-wheel drive system constantly monitors and predicts traction, and using an active on-demand electronic centre differential, can allocate 100 per cent of the engine’s torque to the front or rear axles. In addition, the use of Ford’s Advance Trac stability and traction control system allows the all-wheel drive system to shuffle power side to side, as well.
This is the same system used in the Taurus X, a vehicle I had the chance to drive in some very snowy weather last winter. Given how well it performed on all-season tires, I expect big things from the Flex, which Ford was gracious enough to supply with a set of Pirelli Scorpion winter rubbers.