In addition, it will feature new technology including the updated, more user-friendly MyFord Touch, a blind spot proximity alert, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and active parking assistance.
Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, said the Flex is one of the fastest growing SUV’s in sales for 2010, experiencing an 48 percent conversion rate of formers buyers of competing brands. He also stated 18 percent of Flex buyers are choosing the new EcoBoost engine.
The available powerplants will include the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 delivering 20 more horsepower and 1-mpg better fuel economy or the fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.
“Flex appeals to people who want to stand out from the crowd and has the highest retention rate of any vehicle in the Ford lineup,” said Mark Fields “With technologies not found in other full-size utilities, even better fuel economy and a more modern, sophisticated look, we’re offering people even more reasons to choose Flex with the new model.”
The 2013 Ford Flex will feature SYNC standard with the new MyFord Touch, sporting an improved display, making the control of climate, navigation, entertainment and other features easier and more responsive.
“We’ve listened to our customers and have improved what they love about MyFord Touch,” said Kenneth Williams, systems integration engineer. “In this upgrade, the screens have a cleaner, clearer display. The words on the screens are larger and easier to read, the pressable areas on the screen look more like buttons, and we have made the functions clearer for faster navigation.
“What separates MyFord Touch is that there are multiple ways for customers to manage and control what they want through voice commands, menus accessed through the steering wheel controls, touch screen, buttons or knobs – whatever they prefer.”
MyFord Touch includes two 4.2-inch screens in the instrument cluster and an eight-inch screen in the center stack. The base SYNC package includes hands-free, voice-activated calling via Bluetooth or USB connected device, 911 Assist free for the life of the vehicle, and an on-demand diagnostic/maintenance information feature.
The new 2013 Ford Flex is equipped with the first production rear inflatable seatbelts, offering rear seat passengers improved comfort and protection. Last month, Ford’s inflatable seatbelts were awarded a Breakthrough Product Award by Popular Mechanics, in the magazine’s seventh annual Breakthrough Awards.
The system helps reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, frequently children and older passengers more at risk for such injuries. Ford and their suppliers have developed inflatable seat belts that deploy over an occupant’s torso and shoulder in just 40 milliseconds during a crash.
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 features help drivers avoid accidents using radar to detect the position of other vehicles and warn the driver with a both visual and audio alerts.
The ACC uses advanced radar to scan for other vehicles 20 times per second. The sensor detects vehicles up to 150 yards away as well as speed changes as small as 0.25 mph. When activated, the system functions like normal cruise control except when slowing in response to slowing traffic. When the road has cleared, the vehicle resumes speed. Four different distance settings allow customization to your style or road conditions by setting distance, speed and the gap between vehicles.
The 2013 Ford Flex’s new engine features the addition of twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to the 3.5-liter V6, providing 285 horsepower – roughly 20 horsepower better than the previous engine – and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. The new Flex has projected fuel economy of 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.
The popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 remains is still available, providing the fuel economy of a V6 engine with all-wheel-drive and V8-like performance of 355 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.
EcoBoost engines are part and parcel of Ford’s strategy to providing technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains delivering improved fuel economy without compromising performance to the world. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American lineup will have with EcoBoost technology available. Ford holds over 125 patents on its EcoBoost engine technology.
Both engines come with a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. When SelectShiftis paired with EcoBoost, paddle shifters are integrated into the steering wheel spokes. SelectShift won’t second-guess the driver – manual control is truly manual. The thumb shift is new for 2013 with the standard engine models.
The 2013 Ford Flex uses EPAS (electric power-assisted steering) to improve fuel efficiency by 4 percent, also reducing emissions while improving steering because the system is powered by an electric motor instead of engine-mounted hydraulic pump systems.
In addition, the new battery management system operates the vehicle’s power supply system in a more efficient manner allows voltage to be controlled by battery condition, operating status and electrical load. It also provides feedback to the regarding battery condition for active load management and battery diagnostics. Finally the system monitors battery temperature, extending battery life.
A few exterior touches tell the story of the 2013 Ford Flex – notably the familiar blue oval brand badge has been replaced with the FLEX emblem in the front grill. But for a closer look, you have to wait for the Los Angeles Auto Show when it kicks off next week.