So, I get this email about "an exciting opportunity for This Full House" and I'm like, wow, I wonder what it could be?
I mean, a subject line like that leaves a lot up to the imagination, right?
With very little hesitation -- only because, I've worked with this particular company before -- I clicked to learn more.
Ford Motor Company wanted to see if I'd be interested in test driving their 2009 Ford Flex and I was like, really? What's the catch? Would I have to wear a funky chicken suit? Drive around in a car painted in a rainbow of Ford colors, or something?
Nope, in fact, they insisted it was simply a chance for us to get an "up close and personal experience with a new car," and I was all, yep, they read my blog...alright.
So, I ditched our 2004 Kia Sedona, gave it to my husband to use since his car is 13 years old (a Ford Windstar, just so you know) and opted in with the promise of a multi-panel roof and more leg room.
Oh, and a Flip camera to document said road test...which I'm more than willing to share...at the end of this post...because I already have a Flip...oh, and it's how I roll.
I've NEVER done a road test (like this) so hang in there, with me, okay?
The Ford Flex is in the house, in one of my favorite colors, the cute representative said it was called, "Cinnamon" which matched my shoes, perfectly.
QUICK OVERVIEW I RECEIVED FROM FORD MOTOR COMPANY ON FLEX
- All-new full-size crossover with seven-passenger seating.
- MSRP $28,995-37,255
- 3.5-liter V-6 engine, 6-speed transmission delivering more than 260hp and available intelligent all-wheel-drive.
- Fuel Economy (EPA Estimated) FWD: 17 city/24 highway / AWD: 16 city/22 highway
- Your choice of 10 exterior colors with roof choice of body color, white suede or silver.
- AdvanceTrac ® with RSC ® (Roll Stability Control)
- Ford’s Personal Safety System includes dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, thorax side air bags for front seat occupants.
- Ford’s exclusive Safety Canopy ® side curtain air bag. Designed for all three rows, this feature utilizes roll-fold technology to efficiently deploy the air bag when an occupant’s head is resting against the side glass.
Okay, so the very friendly Ford representative delivered our Flex and the very first thing that popped into my head was, wow, it really IS shaped different from the minivans I'm used to driving, right?
Frankly, I was a little afraid it would ride (and sound) like a dump truck.
FORD FLEX INTERIOR
In the Driver's Seat: however, was awesome at first sight. The seats are very comfortable, except for the head rests (better view below) but, my husband, Garth (not his real name) insisted that they must be attached the wrong way.
Oddly, the driver and front passenger head rests are supposed to look like that (swiped pic from Ford's site) and I felt as if I were leaning forward, or found myself holding my head at an awkward angle, all the time. Although, the lumbar adjustment totally made up for it (my sciatica thanks you, Ford!) along with the myriad of programmable seat adjustments that the car actually remembers, for you!
7-Passenger Seating: minus the wicked cool fridge/freezer mounted between the 2nd row captain's chairs (seriously, it lights up) there's plenty of room for larger families, with 4 or more kids (like mine) and they loved, Loved, LOved, LOVed, LOVEd, LOVED the seating arrangements -- teenagers in the front and two youngest in the back -- which, they ALL insisted made for a very comfortable ride, in relation to the the confined space of our poor squishy little minivan.
It took only took us a couple of minutes to figure out that the Flex’s second-row seats fold and tumble to provide access to the third-row -- my husband enjoys reading owner manuals, I don't -- and that seats fold flat into the floor for added cargo space.
However, we weren't able to test this feature (here's a picture I swiped from Ford's site) well, since we are a family of 6, we need all the seating we could get.
The trunk space, however, was surprisingly spacious (no pun intended) and something desperately lacking in our minivan. We were able to fit our groceries in, with no problem, ALL 2 SHOPPING CARTS FULL!
FORD FLEX GADGETS & GIZMOS
Rear Back-up Camera: is mounted in the bottom of Flex’s lift gate, automatically engages whenever the car is in reverse and uses the navigation screen as a display. On a busy street, sidewalk or driveway littered with scooters and other outdoor play things (we meet all of these conditions, btw) a back-up camera can be a very useful thing, indeed. Then, there are parking lots. Most accidents happen in parking lots, right? Although, my middle girl (she's 13) would watch the screen and then found herself feeling very nauseous.
Navigation Screen: is an 8-inch touch-screen display (yes, it is smudge-resistant, read on) also accesses the climate control and SIRIUS Satellite Radio, which is out of this world (cool, very NASA) but, can also be very, very distracting - especially, to geeky person (like me) who loves to push buttons (see smudge-resistant note above) perhaps it's why you cannot program the GPS while the car is in drive. Makes sense. Although, on past family road trips, I'm the one usually navigating around traffic jams.
SIRIUS Travel Link: is MY FAVORITE feature, provides users with information including real-time traffic, coast-to-coast weather conditions, where to find the nearest ATM and fuel price information for over 120,000 gas stations.
Refrigerator: is wicked cool (as mentioned above) and can cool up to seven 12-ounce cans, four half-liter bottles or two 20-ounce bottles (personally, we think it's a perfect place to keep your ice pops) which some families (like mine) would view as a luxury, yet very, very cool on long, hot, or dusty road trips.
We had the Flex for 1 week and I put over 80 miles on it, driving my kids to (and from) school, activities, errands and such, in just the first 3 days. Welcome to my world, right moms? Frankly, I was surprised that it handled very well, around town. Parallel parking was no problem (I grew up just outside of NYC) and it did NOT drive like a dump truck. A lot like my father's old Ford Explorer, actually. Only less sluggish and more compact, or car-like, if that makes sense? We also took it to visit my parents (twice) who live 50 minutes away, taking back-country roads to avoid the endless traffic of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. It took the uphill, downhill and wicked turns very well and my son (he's 10) didn't get car sick, for once.
FINAL VERDICT: With it's unusual design, the Ford Flex is a head-turner. Half of our friends liked the shape and cool lines of the Flex [waves to Michael] including me, while the other half [waves to Kim] well, let's just say that some people found it hard to get passed the innovative "box-like" design, including my husband. Still. Bad form aside and focusing more on function, this car totally fits our family's lifestyle. On the other hand, the MSRP would be a tight squeeze for our family's budget. But, if you're searching for a 7-passenger car (minimum) with spacious interior, a 5-star crash rating and an exterior that goes beyond the standard minivan, than I suggest you definitely check out the Ford Flex, for yourself.
6/3/09 EDITED TO ADD: Further proof that companies really do read our blogs:
I am a Ford employee - the safety PR guy - so I'm sure I'm biased saying my family loves our Flex. Hopefully next time you can test our new SYNC voice-activated cell phone and music player connectivity technology. In addition to helping you control many of these devices' functions by voice, you can program the navigation system (while driving) just by talking. This feature's been very handy for us when you're changing course on the fly and can't completely program an address at a stop light and don't want to stop.
Great review, look forward to more.
Wes Sherwood, Ford Safety Communications Manager
OF FURTHER NOTE: I was able to sync my cell phone (which is bluetooth capable) in one easy step, using the touch-screen navigation system (I don't enjoy reading owner manuals, remember?) and was able to retrieve calls from my husband (where are you and what's for dinner?) and found this just may be an invaluable service for carpool moms, like me.
FIND IT HERE: 2009 Ford Flex (http://www.fordvehicles.com/crossovers/flex/?v=html&discL=-1)
That's it. I hope we were at least a little bit helpful in introducing you to the Ford Flex. Oh, and I still have the Flip Mino Digital Camera (pictured above) that the Ford Motor Company sent me (thank you, guys!) unopened and burning a hole in my carpet.
[Retail Value: $179.00]
OPEN TO U.S. RESIDENTS, ONLY!
GET IT HERE: Did you find our road test, or these types of personal reviews helpful, or no? It was our first, so I really would love to know. Leave a comment with a valid email address, on this post by 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 5th and you're automatically entered to win. One (1) winner will be picked (via random.org) and announced via email and posted on My Prizey Giveaways Page!
EXTRA CHANCES TO WIN - NEW RULES: 2nd entry: Blog about this giveaway - leave a separate comment and a link to your blog post. 3rd entry: Subscribe to our feed - leave a separate comment, to lock in entry. 4th entry: Subscribe to our updates via email - leave a separate comment, to lock in entry. 5th entry: Post this giveaway on Twitter - leave a separate comment and a link to your Tweet. FOR A TOTAL OF 5 (FIVE) COMMENTS = 5 (FIVE) POSSIBLE CHANCES TO WIN! Good luck and don't forget to check out our giveaways page for more awesome stuff we're just itching to, you know, giveaway!
EXTRA CHANCES TO WIN - NEW RULES:
2nd entry: Blog about this giveaway - leave a separate comment and a link to your blog post.
3rd entry: Subscribe to our feed - leave a separate comment, to lock in entry.
4th entry: Subscribe to our updates via email - leave a separate comment, to lock in entry.
5th entry: Post this giveaway on Twitter - leave a separate comment and a link to your Tweet.
FOR A TOTAL OF 5 (FIVE) COMMENTS = 5 (FIVE) POSSIBLE CHANCES TO WIN!
Good luck and don't forget to check out our giveaways page for more awesome stuff we're just itching to, you know, giveaway!
[Besides, being able to test drive the Ford Flex for 1 week, no other considerations or payment was received for this review -- I had to give the car back, with a full tank of gas, damnit -- and is the courtesy of Ogilvy PR and the Ford Motor Company]
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