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Enhanced Safety and Driver-Aid Technology
The new Flex is equipped with the automotive world's first production rear
inflatable belts to offer improved comfort and protection for rear seat
passengers. Last month, this safety innovation was named a Breakthrough Product
Award winner by Popular Mechanics, part of the magazine's seventh annual
The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest
injuries for rear seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can
be more vulnerable to such injuries.
Advances in airbag inflation and safety belt construction methods have enabled
Ford and its suppliers to develop inflatable seat belts that are designed to
deploy over a vehicle occupant's torso and shoulder in 40 milliseconds in the
event of a crash.
The new second-row belts operate like traditional safety belts in everyday use
and inflate when sensors indicate a collision event. Each belt's tubular airbag
inflates with cold compressed gas, which flows through a specially designed
buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat.
The new Flex 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. These technologies help drivers avoid
potential accidents using radar to detect the relative position of other
vehicles and warn the driver with a combination of visual and audio alerts.
The ACC technology uses advanced radar to scan for vehicles in front of Flex at
20 times per second. The sensor can detect vehicles up to 150 yards away and
detect speed changes as small as 1 mph. When the system is activated, it
functions like normal cruise control with the exception of being able to slow
down the car when vehicles in front are detected to be slowing down. When
traffic has cleared, the vehicle resumes the set speed. Four distance settings
accommodate a range of driving styles and road conditions. The driver can set
distance, speed and the time gap between vehicles.
Fuel Economy Bolstered by Engines, Technologies
Under the hood, Flex's new base engine delivers even more efficiency and
performance with the addition of twin independent variable camshaft timing
(Ti-VCT) to the 3.5-liter V6.
The upgraded 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine provides 285 horsepower - an approximate
20 horsepower increase from the previous engine - and 255 lb-ft of torque. The
new Flex also is projected to deliver 1 mpg more fuel economy, with projected
fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
This efficient V6 allows precise, variable control of valve overlap, or the
window of time in which both the intake and exhaust valves in an engine are open
at the same time. By adjusting overlap continuously, the engine can operate at
optimum settings for peak fuel economy or peak power output as conditions
The popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 remains on the new Flex, bringing the fuel
economy of V6 engines with all-wheel-drive capability and V8-like performance of
355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
A key contributor to EcoBoost fuel efficiency is direct injection of gasoline.
This system precisely delivers a fine mist of fuel directly into each cylinder
for optimal performance, economy and emissions.
EcoBoost engines are fundamental to the Ford strategy of providing
technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that
deliver exceptional fuel economy and uncompromised performance for millions of
drivers around the world. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford's North American
lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology. Ford holds more than 125
patents on its EcoBoost engine technology.
Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission.
The SelectShift advanced gearbox offers the driver a choice between fully
automatic operation and manual control. With SelectShift with EcoBoost, paddle
shifters are integrated into the steering wheel spokes. Intuitive to operate, a
squeeze back on either paddle will deliver an upshift, while a gentle push
forward on either paddle will induce a matched-rev downshift. SelectShift won't
second-guess the driver with an override shift; manual control is truly manually
controlled. The thumb shift is new for 2013 with the standard engine models.
Both engines also are made more efficient with EPAS (electric power-assisted
steering). 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 connected to the vehicle's battery,
instead of engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering systems.
In addition, the new Flex's battery management system operates the vehicle's
power supply system in a more economical manner to save fuel. The system:
* Allows the alternator and system voltage to be controlled based on battery
condition, vehicle operating state and electrical load status
* Provides feedback to the vehicle regarding battery condition for active load
management and battery diagnostics
* Monitors battery temperature (higher voltage in lower temperatures, lower
voltage in higher temperatures), extending the battery life
Appearance Package and Paint, Wheel Choices
Also new is an Appearance Package on Limited and SEL models that includes an
available two-tone roof and mirrors, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with
painted pockets, leather seats, unique door trim panels and other interior
upgrades for a truly distinctive, premium look and feel.
The new Flex comes in nine exterior colors, including three new colors for the
2013 model year: Ruby Red, Deep Impact Blue and Kodiak Brown. Customers also can
choose from body-color roofs, or two-tone with white, gray or black available on
the Appearance Package.
Six wheel styles are available for Flex as well.
Ford Flex: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications