Spy photographers have nabbed the 2013 Ford Flex, providing visual evidence of the changes coming as part of the big box’s mid-cycle refresh.
Up front, the Flex’s previous corporate countenance is swapped for one more like that of the latest Ford Explorer. In place of the previous Schick-razor-like slats, the new model features a single, large chrome bar in the middle and thinner, more delicate pieces above and below. The headlamps don’t appear to be drastically changed, with projector beams again making an appearance, although the units themselves have been reshaped to accommodate the ends of the grille’s main bar, which splits the amber running lights.
They’re not visible here, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see Ford’s light-pipe LEDs, as seen on everything from the Taurus to the Edge, make an appearance, perhaps near the new fog lamps housed in the equally new bumper. Out back, the lower part of the liftgate is in for some tweaks, too, judging by the presence of camouflage. This prototype also rides on new wheels.
The interior photo provides proof that the Flex will adopt the MyFord Touch system, to which we say, “Boo.” Every one of our experiences with the system to date has involved frustration, cursing, system crashes, and general loathing. It’s not just us; the internet is alight with owners’ stories of similar woes. Apart from that, there are few changes beyond a new steering wheel—necessary to house the five-way MyFord switches—a new shifter, and updated gauges. Everything else is as it was.
The 2013 Flex should get a 230-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost mill, as well as the updated 3.5-liter V-6 that will make 290 hp and 255 lb-ft in the 2013 Taurus. In the transmission department, the Blue Oval’s recently announced eight-speed automatic will probably make an appearance. You can also expect many of the ’13 Taurus’s other mechanical changes to appear here, including a brake-based “limited-slip” functionality, electrically assisted steering, and a more robust brake system that aims to improve both feel and stopping power.
Despite it finishing fourth out of seven in a comparison test, we generally like this funky people-mover; if the refresh goes beyond looks to address some of the NVH and dim-witted handling issues of the current model, we’ll consider it successful. Look for more details on the 2013 Ford Flex to emerge in the coming months, and for the crossover to make its first public appearance at an American auto show this fall or early next year.
Thanks to: Car and Driver