Like Mariah Carey’s ancestry, modern crossover vehicles have unusual roots. The award-winning American singer’s family tree is more varied than the flora of a rainforest understory. Her unique blend of nationalities includes African, Venezuelan and Irish. That’s more ingredients than Belorussian variety sausage. Who’s hungry for some lean, finely textured opossum?
AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Autoguide Five-Point Inspection
During this week’s Five-Point Inspection we put the Ford Flex crossover to the test, stuffing all our family and friends into the three rows of seats, and driving it in the city, highway, and rural gravelly side-roads.
A visually striking vehicle, the base Flex SE starts at $30,885, while we drove the upgraded Limited model with AWD and the 365-hp EcoBoost Engine.
Ford is rather proud of its new SYNC system, and will be making it standard equipment on all 2013 Ford Fusion and Ford Flex models, the American automaker announced. Their MyFordTouch system will only be seen on upper trim levels however.
Surprisingly the 2013 model year of the Fusion and Flex will be the first time ever Ford has made their SYNC standard equipment. Since its introduction in 2007, Ford has installed SYNC in over four million vehicles. Now that it has become standard fare in the Fusion and Flex, Ford expects to add another nine million vehicles on the road with SYNC over the next three years.
“ Ford SYNC technology has led the industry in transforming the way we connect to our cars,” said Dave Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager. “SYNC has enabled Ford drivers to take advantage of the latest communication and entertainment technology with an easily upgradeable architecture that is friendly to use.”
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Flex
Ford will debut an updated look for its Flex family hauler next week at the LA Auto Show. The new design is tipped to steer away from the polarizing boxy look of the original, with softer, more rounded lines.
Other updates to the 2013 model year Flex will include a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine with 20 extra horsepower, raising the total to 285-hp. Fuel economy will also increase slightly to 18/25-mpg. No changes will be made to the EcoBoost V6 engine option. Inside, updates will include an updated version of Ford’s MyFord Touch system while outside look for the Ford Blue Oval logo to disappear in favor of large FLEX lettering above the grille.
Ford’s other major debuts in LA include the Fiesta ST concept, the Focus ST.R race car and the all-new 2013 Escape, featuring a range of new EcoBoost 4-cylinder engines.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Flex
If you were one of the Ford owners who weren’t thrilled with MyFord Touch, you’ll be happy to learn that the system is receiving an upgrade that will make it more user friendly and easier to operate.
The upgrade, which will be available early next year and offered at no extra charge to exsisting MyFord Touch owners, will feature simpler graphics, faster touch-screen response and easier-to-use controls. The upgraded voice-activated in-car connectivity system will also be available with the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus.
Ford decided to upgrade the MyFord Touch system after conducting a series of polls, as well as receiving a flurry of bad press that stated the system wasn’t user friendly and was a bit buggy. To enhance the user experience, Ford has added Apple iPad connectivity and access to Audible.com audiobooks through voice commands or the touchscreen. Other improvements include better Bluetooth telephone connectivity, an updated map experience from TeleNav and Navteq and improved voice recognition powered by Nuance technology.
MyFord Touch is also getting some visual enhancements. Users will be treated to larger, bolder fonts, while designs are made more consistent and low-priority elements have been removed. In total, more than 1,000 screens have been updated with the improved look.
If you need a tutorial about the upgraded system, you can watch how-to videos at www.syncmyride.com or set up a free “SYNC My Ride” personalized training session at a Ford dealership. If you already have the MyFord Touch system, you’ll be sent a USB flash drive with the software upgrade for installation or you can visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for the software installation.
You can also check out a video of the upgraded system after the jump.