Photo Gallery: Ford Flex

Retro quirk. That's how my sister describes the 2013 Ford Flex. And, when you think about it, that's just about right. The elongated form and faux side paneling give it an air of a different age. But all the tech gadgets inside show the SUV's true colors. My sister says retro, I say just plain cool.

While I typically prefer something more along the lines of a Fiat 500 for city driving, I have to say the Flex came in handy over the Thanksgiving holiday for a road trip to Indianapolis. And, it wasn't so bad in city driving either. The test vehicle was equipped with backup camera and blind-spot monitoring, so tight spaces and maneuvering in traffic were more carlike than trucklike. Plus the fact that it has a lower profile made for easier egress and ingress, which was especially good for my parents.

The test vehicle came equipped with the 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. That might not seem like a lot for a vehicle of this size, but I have to tell you it was pretty darn perfect. I didn't need more power. At all. So, it amazes me that you can go for the more efficient but more powerful Ecoboost engine that delivers 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.

Combine that with the cavernous interior volume, easy-to-maneuver second- and third-row seats and Sync (which, yes, I like), and you have a pretty phenomenal family hauler. One that might just work better for a family than a minivan.

The downside (and it's a doozy): To get it completely decked out with AWD, Ecoboost and all the whistles and bells, you're looking at a price tag of $48K. Ouchy. It should be noted, that a base model starts at $31,710. And this will include rear parking sensors and Sync ... and that's about it.

Flex is a nice alternative to your standard SUV or minivan, but a pricey one.

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  • Step 1 when buying the Ford Flex? Have them remove the Flex from the hood.

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