Ford’s recent strategy of car first, new engine later continues with the Flex. Introduced for 2009 with the corporate 3.5-liter V-6, we placed the Flex fourth out of six in a recent crossover comparison, where its prodigious poundage was hard to hustle with only 262 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque on tap.
Technology comes to the rescue for 2010, via twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection. Ford’s long-awaited EcoBoost engine program finally bears fruit in the form of a revised version of its 3.5-liter that gets a big-time power boost—to the tune of 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque—with no change in combined fuel economy. Ford estimates 22 highway mpg for the EcoBoost Flex, which matches that of current all-wheel-drive models. The engine will be an option over the naturally aspirated V-6 on all-wheel-drive SEL and Limited models. To handle the higher torque output, some internals have been upgraded, as has the six-speed automatic transmission.