By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2009 Ford Flex. It competes with the Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Veracruz.
(upbeat rock music) I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with cars.com here with the 2009 Ford Flex. This is a large crossover with three rows of seats. I can think of about 10 other models that came up before this one.
So why did they do it? How did they make it different? Well, for one thing, look at it. Now the front end kind of recalls Land Rover and its squareness, but from the side, pretty much an overgrown mini Cooper Clubman complete with a white roof, in this case. One of the more controversial aspects is the creases in the doors. I'm not sure how I feel about it myself, but if they weren't there, I think this might look like a big shipping container. Now, if I had to characterize the Flex versus all the other models that have been out for awhile, I'd probably say they emphasize interior space by which I mean, you know, occupants space, driver, passenger space, as opposed to cargo, though cargo is available. Very large wide seats. Overall, I'm comfortable in this thing, but I do find that even with adjustable power adjustable pedals, which this SEL has as an option, when they're set, where I want them in the seat is where I want it. The steering wheel is too far. There is no telescoping adjustment to the steering wheel here. I think that that is a big problem in any 2009 model. The second row seats also well above average in terms of leg room and a little bit of headroom too. Adjustable backrest, you know, all that comfort stuff. Now you can't slide the seat itself forward and backward, which is unfortunate. We kind of liked that feature, but at least you've got a lot to start with. Now, also optional panoramic vista roof is on this one, one big piece of glass on the roof, but you get two separate moon roof type skylights above. They don't open. And then there's another larger single one in the third row seat here. So the third row is reasonably roomy. It's not super roomy. My legs are, my knees are kind of high because the floor is a little bit high and the headroom is just, it's a little bit tight. But otherwise it is definitely workable for adults for a short to medium length ride. Now there's actually a practical aspect to having this square back. The Mazda CX-9 is actually kind of swoopier, it's a little bit more angled here as a result, even though there's more leg room in the flex seats, you get about three cubic feet more cargo capacity back here because it's squared off. There's a pretty deep well down here, which is useful. And then of course, all the seats flatten. One nice benefit here, the front passenger seat folds flat too. So even though the maximum cargo volume is a little bit below average for the class with the front seat folded down, you get almost 10 feet from the dashboard to the closed lift gate. Now, overall, the interior quality is good. Some of this wood trim is nice, but there are still a couple of plastics. And there that many of our editors reacted negatively to. There's also a button in here for the optional interior lighting package. You push this sequentially, it changes the color of the illumination and the cup holders, and also in the foot wells, which is really interesting when you consider that the display up here has blue letters in the middle and kind of like off green ones on the side, which you cannot change. You know, are there more important things in the car than these not matching? Yes. There, there definitely are. Will it drive me crazy every time I look at it? Yes. It will. <v Announcer>For additional information on this car or any other go to cars.com and our blog kicking tires.