The spy shots above and below (at right) show a number of minor changes to the prototype Flex Flex model since we first saw it at the New York auto show last month. Weâ€™ll get to all of them in a minute, but our first impression upon seeing the Flex hit the road? It looks long, long, longâ€”much bigger than the discontinued Ford Freestar minivan itâ€™s replacing. Flex could fit in well as an airport shuttle van, but we do still like the hinged rear doors (they could convince soccer moms that this is a perfect new ride after all those long years of service from the family minivan).
Detail-wise, most noticeable is the paint scheme: This prototype offers an all-white body and roof, while the show car displayed different colors for the body and roof. Front and rear bumpers are black on the proto, while the show car used a monochromatic scheme, with red bumpers matching the doors and fenders. The one-color-fits-all plan extends to the finish of the grille, where white paint differs from the bright finish on the introduction car.
You can see two other deviations from the original Flexâ€”one in the execution of door handles and the other in wheel design. In the spy shot above, the handles are body color, whereas the show car offered a polished metal finish. And eight-spoke wheels on the proto look a lot less flashy than the chrome, nine-spoke version from New York.
Getting more particular, you can spot differences in the roof rack on the proto, as opposed to none on the show carâ€”not to mention the smaller rub rail on the doors.
Have we missed anything? Ford reports that the Flex, set for production next summer, will offer a car-based front drivetrain, using a 3.5-liter, 260-hp V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Price is reported to be in the upper $20,000 rang for a rubber mat version, but could jump to the upper 30â€™s when equipped with glass roof, rear seat TV and refrigerator options. â€”Jim Dunne