Ford Flex Most Ideal 2012 Large Crossover SUV


AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understood what their target customers want and have made the vehicle to meet their demands.

The 2012 Ford Flex comes closest to the ideal of any Large Crossover SUV scoring a close win over the Chevrolet Traverse.  Eighty-percent or more of Flex owners find these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, exterior styling, passenger roominess, seat comfort, ride and handling, tires and wheels, ease of getting in and out and safety features.

EcoBoost Gives Flex a Substantial Performance Advantage, but Only 15% of Flex Owners Bought It: About 25% of Flex V6 owners want more power and acceleration, but only 6% who opted for the 355HP EcoBoost 3.5L V6 want more.  Clearly, EcoBoost provides surprising power without a fuel economy disadvantage.  About 11% of all Flex owners would give up power and acceleration for better fuel economy. So, when it comes to Flex, performance and fuel economy, twice as many owners would take more power and acceleration than would trade off power for fuel economy.

More/Better Technology Wanted: The 2012 Flex is available with SYNC and SYNC with navigation, but not Ford’s new MyFord Touch system.  About a quarter of Flex owners want more/better technology than their vehicle has now.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/ideal-suvs-pickups-rated-by-owners-in-2012-iva-awards-112117/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.

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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Most Satisfying Large Crossover SUV


Best in Class 2012 Large Crossover SUV:  Chevrolet Traverse

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse give the Large SUV a photo-finish win over the Ford Flex while giving the Traverse top ratings in eighteen of forty-eight categories in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The Traverse gets top marks for Cargo Space, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Interior Storage, Braking, Fuel Economy, Easy to Use Controls, Cupholders, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Environmental Friendliness, Infotainment Technology, Dealership Experience, Recyclability, Advanced Powertrain Technology, Collision Avoidance Technology, Range and Warranty.  With a possible high score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points, 4.5 or higher can be considered very good.  Traverse owners rated the Large SUV above 4.5 rating points in:  Overall Satisfaction, Seating Capacity, Exterior Color, Reliable/Dependable,  and Feeling Safe While Driving.  Traverse owners, while the highest rated Large SUV for Fuel Economy, are least satisfied with their Traverse’s gas mileage.  Traverse owners rate five characteristics below 4.0 satisfaction rating points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Environmental Friendliness, Recyclability and Price.

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2009 Ford Flex: Head Turning Crossover


We’ve seen the Ford Flex on numerous occasions over the past two years – auto shows, press events, etc and have been pretty impressed with the style and the package of Ford’s upcoming Crossover SUV. The Flex is a seven-passenger Crossover based on the Ford Taurus/Taurus X/Sable platform which itself is based on the Volvo S80. So, what makes the Flex different from the Taurus X that has the same DNA?


Flex Has Personality Taurus X Lacks
First, the Flex has style. It looks like a huge Mini Clubman and I don’t intend that as an insult. Rumor has it that the initial theme for the styling of the Flex was developed by the Land Rover studios in England and then Ford opted to use the concept as its Ford Fairlane concept vehicle that received positive reviews at its first viewing at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The interior is very well done and has excellent ingress/egress. The relatively stiff A-Pillar and gives a large front door with a generous opening. The rear doors are large making for very easy ingress/egress. Ford says the rear seat has five inches more knee room than an Expedition. The 3rd row seat folds flat into the floor, but it is not as slick as that on the Expedition and Navigator which has power assist. The seats are comfortable giving good support.
Flex is one of the first vehicles to benefit from Ford’s new DNA for door closing sounds, engine sound, material feel, etc. These minor touches give the Flex a very upscale feel even though it is tough to get its price over $40,000. Base price is under $30,000 and there is a logical walk upwards from the base (still well-equipped) vehicle to the range topping Limited.

Public Will Warm Up to Flex
Walking around the Flex display at Fabulous Fords Forever this past weekend at Knott’s Berry Farm, I kibitzed as folks crawled over the Flex. They seemed genuinely surprised at the interior roominess of the vehicle and the size of the rear seat. They appeared to like the styling even though it is a bit polarizing (love-hate). One woman wondered if this was the “next minivan”. Another thought it was bigger than her Suburban. In any event, Flex elicited mostly positive reactions and should sell very well when it is launched inlate summer.

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