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WonderDad Review on the 2011 Ford Flex

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WonderDads is a new addition to the WonderMoms website, we found there was a need to reach out to our Men, Dads, Uncles, of our Moms. We will have monthly articles that will be submitted by WonderDad himself or guest Dads. 

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WonderMoms was recently selected by Ford Motor Company to participate in a media opportunity involving the testing of new vehicles. Being the parents of 4 children, we are well aware of the importance that size plays when deciding whether or not a new car will meet your families needs.

We chose to test and review the 2011 Ford Flex Titanium Edition. A vehicle designed with independent minded people as their demographic. The Flex doesn't look like anything else in its class, and for me, that is a good thing. The entire industry has become somewhat of a "cookie- cutter." They all start to look the same after a while. Ford has stretched their thinking and went with something that after getting behind the wheel completely won me over.

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When making that big purchase, you not only must take into consideration the feelings of those who will drive it, but also those who will be seen in it, the impressionable kids. My 4 daughters were a little apprehensive about the boxy feel initially, but when we got them in it and began to show them the "way cool" features, the mood changed almost instantly.

Ford has developed some amazing family features for this vehicle. As a family who does several long road trips each year, the onboard refrigerator was somewhat of a revelation. Packing it up with juice boxes, water and the like was rather easy, not to mention easy to retrieve when needed.

The Flex Titanium Edition comes with many first class safety features as standard equipment. The all new "MyKey"system is one such item, which allows parents to simply program the vehicle key through the message centre with items that reflect the family driving values. You can be pestered by the Persistent Belt-Minder chime, top speed limiter of 130km/h, traction control system that limits tire spin, speed alert chime to remind the teenage son that 75, 90 and 105km/h are being arrived at. My favourite feature has to be the audio system volume limiter. Where was that when I was a teen driver?

The Flex continues its safety list with RSC (Roll Stability Control), dual stage front air-bags, integrated key transmitter remotes, child seat anchors and tethers, side curtain air-bags and rollover sensors. SecuriLock passive anti-theft engine immobilizer system and tire pressure monitoring rounds out the list. I truly felt the safest I have ever been in a car.

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The kids were the most impressed by the back up camera that appears in the navigation screen when reversing out of a driveway or parking space, designed to eliminate any accidental bumps on the trash cans on garbage day. Couple that with the panoramic moonroof system and we were ready to roll anywhere and at any time.

Ford has certainly got themselves a game changer for families who want all the safety features and creature comforts rolled into one vehicle. The Flex is an amazing ride with its 20 inch polished aluminum wheels and enough power to get you anywhere fast. Our test vehicle came with Ford's new 3.5L V6 EcoBoost twin-
turbocharged, direct-injection engine. It produces an astounding 355 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque and gives you relatively good gas mileage for something that spouts these credentials. Ford is claiming 13.1/100km (22mpg) city and 9.2L/100km (31mpg) highway. Not having the vehicle long enough, I certainly can't dispute these numbers. We were however, pleased with the fuel consumption that we experienced.

The Ford Sync system that they have been employing in their fleet of cars for the past several years is seamless. It allows the driver several options without removing your hands from the steering wheel. You can adjust your stereo, activate cruise control or ask the car to complete phone calls and to play your favourite songs from your MP3 player. Way cool to be able to do all these things while driving safely to your destination.

The final feature that won everyone over was the Active Park Assist, which helps you conquer parallel parking fears. It is so easy to work, we had our Flex parked within inches of the curb in about 30 seconds. It is activated by pressing a button on the control panel, which then engages the Ultrasonic sensors to find a space large enough to do the job. I have witnessed the park assist on a much more expensive European car with less favourable results. The Ford Active Park Assist is the most accurate that I have seen to date. Ford tells us that this feature is being rolled out in many of their other lineup.

For those people out there who do not want to drive a minivan, I urge you to give the 2011 Ford Flex Titanium Edition a look. You will be pleasantly surprised in everything it has to offer the family. It truly was fun to drive, and to say the kids liked it would be an understatement. My 5 year old has asked for one for her birthday.

Our next test opportunity is the 2011 Ford Explorer Limited...