Suburban Dad: 2010 Ford Flex vs. 2008 Ford Flex

Fully loaded
The biggest difference between the Flex I drove cross-country in 2008 and the one in 2010 is the optional EcoBoost engine. While I didn’t find the Flex to be a laggard in ’08, the added power from the EcoBoost engine was a welcome addition on this lengthy haul. While in 2008 the trip was largely flat, with little in the way of topography, this time around we scaled the Rockies, both up and down, and the Flex handled those daunting tasks admirably.

Hitting steep uphill slopes, the EcoBoost kicked when needed, although there is one thing drivers should be aware of: When trying to pass, if you step hard on the accelerator, there will definitely be some torque steer as the Flex explodes in response. It’s not overwhelming, but you definitely have to be ready for it.

The greatest success for the Flex is its extremely smooth ride, over any surface. Despite having big wheels, with limited amounts of rubber, the ride is not stiff, and you don’t pay for potholes or poor pavement. The seats are extremely supportive, and because of the spacious cockpit, I was able to raise the seat higher than I can in most cars without hitting my head on the ceiling. This let me get a better view out the front of the car.

This Flex also came with Ford’s Sync system, which seemed to have some subtle improvements. Gone were the days when I’d have to say “USB,” and then, “Play artist XYZ.” Now, whenever my son’s iPod Touch was plugged in (my 160-gigabyte iPod remains too large for the Sync system to handle), Sync knew already we wanted to access the USB port and skipped that part, which had annoyed us two years ago.

As far as the rest of the car, we filled it with stuff from my dad’s house in Los Angeles. The Flex devoured it easily, although a minivan or crossover with fold-into-the-floor seating would have made packing easier. Because of how much stuff we had, the rear camera was essential for backing up, which was very easy, especially given the wide-angle lens. The parking-assist sensors saved me a couple of times, too, especially in gas stations. I visited those a lot because even though the Flex’s turbo engine has the same mileage ratings as the base V-6, it’s still a big car with a big appetite. More on that next time.
By Suburban Dad | July 13, 2010 | Comments (4)



It's interesting that there's torque steer in an AWD car ...

We drove to Chicago and back (live in NH) in the '11 Sienna, which has the same MSRP. I thought the ride was so-so on the run-flats. There was plenty of power driving through the hills of upstate NY (to Chicago) and PA (coming back), getting an average of 21 mpg @ 75 mph (it was closer to 23 mpg on flat Midwest roads).

Using 18-in run-flats on a minivan is stupid -- we hit a nice juicy pothold in your fair city but could NOT find anyone (from the list that our GPS gave us) that carried the tire. We had to put on a regular tire to get home. And one lug nut seemed to have cross-threaed on and ripped the screw thing completely off.

So ... I'd like to hear a more detailed impression of this thing, almost 100 hp more but same epa mpg ratings and 66 cu ft less max cargo room.

btw the Sienna's GPS is the worst I have ever used.

I've noticed recently that new cars with large wheels often have tires that aren't widely available. Sometimes the tire companies come up with the tire size specifically for the vehicle itself.

The Flex saw nearly identical mileage to your Sienna (that post goes up later today).

You're basically trading power for interior room. While the flex may haul a fair amount of stuff, it is nowhere near as large as the Sienna. You also can't walk between rows and not having the sliding doors is another big difference. If you want the better driving machine, obviously the Flex is what you want.

Matt Flex

As the owner of a non-EB '09 Flex I must say this car is in its element when cruising on the highway. I have never been a lover of large cars but w/ a wife, 4 kids and a dog I need it :-). Every time we take the family outing in our Flex I grin ear to ear. It is incredibly comfortable (especially the seats) and really nice to drive. It beats our old minivan hands down. Having driven a Sienna on a recent vacation in the southwest there is NO comparison. I hate to be giddy like this but...I love our flex!!


I want to repeat DLs comment: Torque steer in AWD car? I understand that it's a front wheel drive car that engages the rear wheels when needed, but it sounds like that only includes front wheel slippage, not torque steer. I had an 08 Explorer with AWD, and it was pretty flawless, but of course that system drives the rear wheels most of the time. Any comments in future posts on the Flex's AWD system are eagerly awaited.

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