Our 2013 Flex arrived right at about the same time as the summer vacation season. This pleased our staff, who managed to put a lot of road trip miles on our previous Flex test cars. Unfortunately, this latest test found that not all of the changes that came with the 2013 Flex freshening were for the better.
Ford did make some welcome improvements to the base 3.5-liter V6 engine, adding Ti-VCT variable camshaft timing. Both fuel economy and acceleration got better in our tests, a neat trick. Stopping distances are shorter too, fixing a particular shortcoming of our 2009 version. And the super-potent twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 continues to be an option.
Unfortunately, the addition of MyFord Touch made the previously straightforward controls more complicated. The replacement of most conventional buttons and knobs with flush touch switches adds frustration and complexity, solely for the purpose of looking high-tech. This change significantly affected the Flex's overall score in our test.
Funky polarizing looks and a relatively high price tag (offset somewhat by incentives) have kept sales modest. Beyond the recent changes, the Flex remains a practical and unique package, combining the attributes of a minivan, station wagon, and SUV. For more, take a look at our road test video.