Last post on Dec 16, 2012 at 4:05 AM
You are in the Ford Flex
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Ford Flex, Wagon
#39 of 88 Happy new Flex Owner
Jun 10, 2009 (9:09 pm)
I am largely writing here as payback as this site and others helped me greatly with my car buying experience, so I will pay it forward.
We are a small family but often have extended family along so we wanted the third row seat. I also wanted leather as this would be more durable long term (and comfortable). My son wanted the DVD. We also needed AWD (northern NJ) and a tow package to haul our pop-up camper. These items became the criteria for our search.
We first started to look at the Flex because it fit the bill. I had never heard of it or really never saw one on the road before our first trip to the dealer (a dealer I never intended to buy from for no reason other than they were out of my way). This helped reduce the pressure of the salesman. Fortunately the salesman was new (former GM guy and that was something we would hear a lot of), and he left us alone for the test drive. Overall it was a good experience but the sticker shock and somewhat sluggish feel left us wanting to look around.
We next looked at the Honda. The new Pilot was roomy, somewhat cool looking with off-road tendencies, and had all of our criteria. The price was good and the Pilot felt like it had more power. This would stay on our list.
We next visited Toyota (dealer I bought my last Toyota from) and looked at the Highlander Limited. Must admit the bells and whistles were great but the sticker shock was brutal. The dealer was very pushy, nearly hostile in the negotiations and seemed only to care about making his monthly numbers. At every turn it was only in the dealers advantage and I was in a position to comprimise on what I wanted (features, colors, etc.). I had enough and walked.
I went back to Honda mostly because they handle Internet pricing well and I had a bidding war going on (definately shop via Internet office if possible). We came within minutes of making a deal but in the end they refused to honor a deal we agreed to over the Internet (mainly holding the price for one week while I got my dead presidents in order). "Nope, gotta take it tomorrow or no deal, pricing all changes". This was clearly not what we communicated with over the net and the fact they pressured me to take possession right away (when a couple days and new month would really do nothing to hurt them). I said "you are gonna let me walk over this? really? Seriously, this is only going to get better for me the longer I wait, you can take my deposit and lock this in, and I'll be back next week". "Sorry" was there answer. We walked.
We planned to go back to a Ford dealer on our way to another Chevy dealer. Why not give the Ford another look and they also had Nissan there so we might as well have a gander at the Pathfinder. Well the Pathfinder was simply hideous. Didn't like anything so we spent about..oh 3 minutes looking at it. We then asked to see the Flex again. By now it started to grow on us. We went for a nice ride and it was very roomy in comparison to the Highlander and Pilot, yet arguably more sluggish (well it is mammoth). The salesman was great, no pressure, take it easy kind of attitude. He gave us some numbers to consider but understood we had other dealers to visit and even offered to help us get there (really...wow). In the end we decided with the closing of some GM dealers, the closest one was simply too far and we just didn't get a warm fuzzy feeling so we never did try the Traverse.
We went back to the Ford dealer only after some negotiations over the phone (great way as this is far easier as you can simply hang-up). Man, the numbers were great...no bull no baggage, just slightly over invoice, very slightly. Ok, we need to take a much closer look at Ford.
We agreed to head back for a closer look only after they found the exact model we were looking for (and they found one somewhere else, brought it over, cleaned it up, and we had no firm committment yet). We looked, again stressing we are looking, and they said "ok, take your time". Wow, no pressure. So we took a good long time looking and agreed this was it. A few more minutes of some paperwork prep and we were on with our weekend. We agreed to come back the following week. This gave us plenty of time to get the money together but perhaps more importantly do more research to be very clear we are prepared to make the best decision.
After negotiating the price I then studied the Finance and Insurance side of the business (which is often where the real money is made). Bottom line we agreed not to buy anything extra and the only thing in play would be the rebates and APR. I did all the math and figured if they could beat 5% APR we could easily take the rebates over the 0% and be ahead of the game. And that is exactly what happended. Great APR and $4500 in rebates. We had a good deal. The dealer made a few bucks on the car (not much) and perhaps a couple bucks on the APR and we had a great monthly price. We closed the deal in less than an hour (and I stressed this point before the Finance sit down - in and out in an hour or less or lose the deal). The finance guy knew he was beat and really didn't try too hard to push products.
Ok here is the main take-aways:
Always shop around, Internet is best as you avoid the sales cubicle and might fall victim to the BS session on confusing numbers.
Always shop for the car price - never monthly. You will get a much better deal by shopping the car price and doing your own homework to figure out the monthly. If you must go on a monthly figure, go 50 to 75 bucks less than your ideal payment to give YOU some room, but again go for the car price.
Know your credit and what you can realistically afford. Do this all on your own and if needed secure your own financing. The dealer can run your report and give you a subject finding and an inflated APR (based on your unfortunate credit - blah).
Know what you want in the car, including service agreements or warranties. Shop around as other dealers can also sell these products. I say this because the finance and insurance guy (the closer) will pressure you to tack on some bills to give you coverage, coverage you likely never need.
Shop around, take drives. I would test drive at dealers you never intend to buy and then also try to avoid going inside the office where they can temp your emotions. This gives you neutral territory to shop. Then circle back to a local dealer you can trust (maybe) and try them out.
2009 Ford Flex SEL w/ AWD. Silver with two tone white top, convienience package, lighting package, tow package, Sync, Roof rails, Rear DVD system. $36200 minus $4500 in rebates.$31700. Not bad!
#40 of 88 Re: Happy new Flex Owner [mtnmanmike]
Jun 11, 2009 (5:40 am)
Good process....good advise.
#41 of 88 What were they thinking?
Jun 15, 2009 (12:42 pm)
I have had a flex as a rental for the last few days since my '08 Taurus went in for minor body repairs. I like almost everything about the Flex - handles well, love the transmission, decent performance for a heavy vehicle with a 6-cyl, very comfortable seats, good Sony stereo (though strangely not as good as the Ford Premium stereo in the Taurus), third row is easy to put up and down. On the minus side are the intrusive headrests, which also make the poor rear/side visibility worse, minimal cargo space behind the 3rd row (it's not remotely close in carrying capacity to the 21 cu ft trunk in my Taurus no matter what the stats say, and the same no-telescoping steering wheel as the Taurus. But the absolute deal killer for me would be this - a set of golf clubs does not fit across the cargo area because of the plastic bins on either side. It sounds petty, but you have the choice of having your longest club support the weight of the whole bag while flexed against one of the bins, or if you put the 3rd row down, placing the clubs lengthwise in the bed. Reaching forward and picking up the clubs in this position is guaranteed to give you a back injury. Surely one of the most common items carried in the back of a car should be one of the first items allowed for when planning the dimensions. It's just so dumb.
#42 of 88 We Love the Flex
Sep 06, 2009 (9:58 am)
We finally bought a Flex and the decision was in no small part due to the great long term review provided by Edmunds.com. Ours is a Red, AWD Limited with a white roof (Tow Pkg, Vista, Family DVD, 40/40 2nd row). I admit that we discussed the looks quite a bit, but once we bought it, all the concern went away. Not only that, but it has become a magnet. Friends, lots of friends, come by just to check it out. When they climb inside, they get this big grin and talk about how much they like it.
Favorite Elements - The looks (especially with the white roof), the space, Sync, split-fold seats in every row, the pass through to the third row is a good size, great visibility, the recess behind the 3rd row is just the right size and height for groceries.
Least Favorite - The mileage is great on the highway, but in the teens around town, the often noted gap in the ceiling liner, the 2nd row seats don't lock as easily as they should, the white roof is marginally executed. You see feathering when you look through the sunroof.
Final thoughts - We are absolutely loving the car and its looks (You get a lot of looks). However, if you buy one be sure to check the roof liner in the front. You may find that it is not securely fastened and is hanging more than an inch lower than it should. If you have a sunroof, open it and look at the gap between the liner and the roof.
#43 of 88 10-day rental of Ford Flex SEL
Oct 20, 2009 (2:33 pm)
I had an opportunity to rent a Ford Flex sel for 10 days. Enterprise Rental offered it for $5 a day over the cost of a compact.
My vacation was in Maui. My speeds averaged 40 mph since the highest posted speed limit on the island is 55 mph. The flex had 4000 miles on the odmeter.
Overall I was very impressed with the Flex. The ride was smooth. Very good steering response. Easy to drive. The seat comfort was good. Lots of space, especially with the rear seats down. Liked the backup warning beep.
Minor gripes was the base Sony stereo, which was just average. I loved the blue instrument panel at night for its looks but found them hard to quickly identify which button to push while driving. I wished the headlights were brighter at night. And I averaged 20 mpg (I thought it would be better with the speeds I drove).
Definitely still on my list to purchase. But I will wait to see what the Ford C-Max offers when it comes out next year.
#44 of 88 Re: We Love the Flex [rsojka]
Nov 13, 2009 (2:08 pm)
Does this vehicle have a quiet ride or at interstate speeds is there a lot of road noise?
#45 of 88 Re: We Love the Flex [oldcoyote48]
Nov 18, 2009 (10:55 am)
Very quiet on the highway and virtually no road noise is heard at all. I have an '09 Limited which has laminated front side and windshield glass but the SE and SEL trims, sans the laminated glass, are nearly as quiet from what I've read.
Dec 05, 2009 (4:10 am)
Hey everyone or anyone:
We've had our 2010 Cinnamon Flex for about 90 days now and with me the jury's still out. The wife loved it the moment she saw it and was sold the moment her hini hit the front seat. My brother actually builds them and it's unanimous even with the guys on the line " they grow on you" Our mileage is rock steady 9lt / 100km indicated digitally on the dash as are many useful & useless stats. It really is a dream to drive and feels absolutely enormous inside. I should point out that we haven't had the finances to purchase new in some time, so anything is a dream at first.
I still contend that the second row of seats should move or slide back and forward to adjust foot space. It literally feels like your riding in a limo back there but with the ability to slide it forward a tad even the third rowers would feel important. Everything we looked at with third row seating, which aren't that many in this price range unless you include mini-vans lacked any substantial space way way back in the third row. They all do a good job of hiding or stowing the rear seats but none that we could find were much better seating wise than for the grand kiddies.
In honesty I wanted the Edge, Mama wanted the Flex and the third row was important if only for the grandkids. * Note how she selects a vehicle with the grand kids in mind but makes certain there as far back from her as possible when driving. The headrests are a nuisance at first but you do get used to them. I only just heard on the forums here about a 180 degree adjustment and I'm not quite sold on that just yet. The wifes put 12000 km on in just 3 months which really is high for her but maybe an indication? We also bought a 2008 Dodge Caliber with very low mileage around the same time for our teen-age daughters and for the most part thats what I drive. The wife just cringed both times she had to drive the Caliber and yet she was all " this is the one" when we decided on it. Another indication of her affection for the Flex?
All in all I have no real issues or even complaints with the wifes, ooops, I mean our Flex. It will always look a little odd or different to me, but when Mama's happy, well then I'm happy.
#48 of 88 Unusual vibration
Mar 29, 2010 (2:56 pm)
Well I bought a new Flex Ecoboost (AWD Limited) and I absolutely love it. Delivered with 209 miles on it and now after 1 week I am at about 1900 miles!!! Much of that was a long drive from Minnesota to Wisconsin and back home to Arkansas.
The Flex handles great, drives quiet but after that many miles I have discover one unusual problem that I am having difficulty trouble shooting. I was driving the interstate system at average speeds of 75-80mph. Both Saturday and Sunday through Missouri I noticed what can best be described as a rolling vibration. Kind of like the waves washing up on the shore. Every 4-5 seconds there would be this silent, strong vibration that I could feel both through the steering wheel and the seat. Then it would fade for a few seconds and then return.
I tried the following tests to see if I could control it:
- I sped up to 100mph twice to see if it would intensify greatly with higher speed (tire related). It did not. But it was more noticeable at 80 than at 75.
- I turned off the climate system to see if it was related to the A/C compression. It did not go away.
- I turned off the cruise control. No change.
I thought it might be related to wind hitting the car and just the right frequency or something but I experienced it both in a crosswind (Driving West with a wind from the North) and a tail wind (driving south with a wind from the North.).
There seemed to be some relief from it when turning along a shallow corner in the freeway.
My guess would be that it has something to do with the drive train or the the anti-sway feature applying the engine management and/or brakes at a certain frequency.
Any guesses, thoughts, additional trouble shooting recommendations before I take it to the dealer. I just know this is going to be one of those difficult to diagnose problems by a dealer, especially in a small town with very few Flex's around. Just trying to increase my odds of finding the problem quickly.
Thanks in advance for any and all input on this. Otherwise the vehicle is an absolute dream to drive and ride in.