In a last-minute add-in for the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford has begun shedding light on its 2013 Ford Flex crossover. Receiving a facelift that includes taking some sandpaper to the front corners of the Flex to give it a rounder look, the Flex also gets a new grille, headlights, and drops the blue oval “Ford” badge up front.
But the front-end overhaul doesn’t begin to explain the details. Beneath the hood, Ford has instilled the benefits of a revised 3.5-liter V-6 engine as its base powerplant. Paired to a six-speed automatic, the engine makes 20 more horsepower than last year’s model—285 horsepower total—and bumps up fuel economy to an estimated 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway. The upmarket 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V-6 engine soldiers on with the same 355 horsepower as last year’s model.
Inside, Ford has equipped the new Flex with an updated version of MyFord Touch and Sync that will be available next year for every new Ford and Lincoln model. In vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch, the Flex has two 4.2-inch monitors built into the gauges and an eight-inch touch-screen monitor built into the center console.
Also available in the Flex are inflatable rear seatbelts that debuted on the 2012 Ford Explorer, collision-avoidance technologies, radar-based cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, and an available appearance package that lets shoppers keep the white top option from that has been popular on the Flex. Blindspot detection is also available.
While this is more of a mid-cycle refresh than an all-out redesign, it still poses as a departure from Ford’s lineup in that the company is ditching the Ford badge up front while retaining the word “FLEX” stretched across the front of the hood, a la Range Rover. Look for this bold box to make its debut next week at the LA Auto Show, hitting dealerships shortly thereafter.