2013 Ford Flex comes with more power, more tech image

Ford Motor Corp. on Tuesday unveiled the updated 2013 Flex model. It makes sense for Ford to show the updated 2013 Flex ahead of its official debut at the 2011 LA Auto Show, as almost one-fifth of all Flex models are sold in California.

The 2013 Flex gets a redesigned front fascia with slightly rounder edges and the word “FLEX” spread across it, in lieu of Ford’s blue oval. In the rear, Flex now has standard dual exhaust and available rear appliqué.

For 2013 an Appearance Package on Limited and SEL models is available – it includes 20-inch aluminum wheels, two-tone roof and mirrors, leather seats and unique door trim panels.

9 exterior colors are available for the 2013 model year including Ruby Red, Deep Impact Blue and Kodiak Brown.

Engines, transmissions and fuel economy
Ford said the 2013 Flex will get the upgraded 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine with 285 horsepower and projected fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway (20-hp more than the outgoing model and 1 m.p.g. better fuel economy).

In addition, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 making 355-hp and 350 lb-ft of torque remains available to the new Flex.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. With SelectShift with EcoBoost, paddle shifters are integrated into the steering wheel spokes.

Ford also reports that both engines are made more efficient with EPAS (electric power-assisted steering). According to the automaker, EPAS improves fuel economy approximately 4 percent and reduces emissions while improving steering performance primarily because the steering system is powered by an electric motor that gets power from the vehicle’s battery, instead of engine-mounted hydraulic pump.

Safety tech
As expected, the Flex joins the Ford Explorer in offering rear inflatable seatbelts. It also boasts available radar-enabled adaptive cruise control (ACC) and collision warning with brake support and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert.

MyFord Touch with SYNC
The updated 2013 Ford Flex will get the updated MyFord Touch system. The new edition features refined graphics on the more than 1,000 screens in the system, is twice as fast, and comes with a few new goodies like Audible.com audiobooks integration and iPad compatibility.

Introduced for the first time in 2008, the seven-passenger family vehicle has failed to excite buyers.
This year the US-based automaker has sold only 23,000 Flexes in the U.S., down 22 percent compared to the 2010.

The 2013 Ford Flex will be publicly unveiled later this month in L.A. before reaching dealerships in spring 2012.