The huge Ford Flex, unveiled at this week’s Los Angeles motor show, has undergone a make-over, including a new nose and a updated dashboard styling.
Ford US’s seven-seat, three-row Flex crossover (which is claimed to have the highest owner retention rate of any Ford model) is also the world’s first production car to get inflatable, airbag, rear seat belts.
Advances in airbag inflation and safety belt construction methods have enabled Ford and its suppliers to develop inflatable seat belts that are designed to deploy over a vehicle occupant’s torso and shoulder in 40 milliseconds in the event of a crash.
The new second-row belts inflate when sensors indicate a collision event. Each belt’s tubular airbag inflates with cold compressed gas, which flows through a buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat.
It also comes equipped with collision-avoidance technologies, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, first-row heated and cooled seats, power-fold mirrors and an optional new appearance package. There are two 3.5-litre V6 engines: 285bhp and a 355bhp Ecoboost, both mated to a six-speed Selectshift transmission that offers manual or automatic operation.
The Flex’s new front end rounds out the previously boxy edges, creating more visual harmony between the front and the rest of the vehicle. The signature Ford blue oval has been removed from the front, which now solely bears the Flex badge.
An optional Appearance Package on Limited and SEL models includes two-tone roof and mirrors, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels, leather seats, unique door trim panels and other interior upgrades.