Ford enters 2020 without a single traditional station wagon in its U.S. lineup, an inauspicious start to the new decade to be sure. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Flex represents the last model they did sell. Let’s see if its price makes it a fitting bearer of that standard.
You’ve no doubt noticed that in horror movies people do dumb things. Whether it’s going down into that creepy basement even though the light has inexplicably burned out, or getting too close to the thing that oozed out of the meteorite that just crashed into your barn, it’s a given that poor choices are going to be made.
We saw a similar outcome with Friday’s 2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 wagon. Many of you noted in the comments that this era of VW aligned with the complexity of the VR6 engine and option-heavy GLX package could spell future heartbreak—or worse, wallet break. With a modest $2,995 price tag, however, those warnings seemingly went unheeded, and the car took home a massive 84 percent Nice Price win. Just promise us you thumbs up voters will stay out of the basement, okay?
Have you ever owned a station wagon? I’ve had three in my stable over the years, including currently, the 1999 Audi A6 Avant that we’ve discussed here before. I love that a station wagon gives me the utility of a crossover without the unsettling tippy feeling that I’m driving around on a bar stool.
Unfortunately, my opinion appears to be in the minority as sales of station wagons in the U.S. have been dwindling for years, supplanted by those aforementioned tippy travelers.
Ford has given up not only on the station wagon category here in the U.S. but on sedans and small hatches as well. The former is a damn shame because when Ford did wagons, they were among the best. Hell, the Country Squire pretty much defined the American suburban landscape for most of the latter half of the 20th Century.
Today we’re looking at a 2013 Ford Flex SEL AWD, and this, my friends, is pretty much what the last Ford station wagon in the U.S. looks like.
What that looks like is a pretty damn big car. Based on the D4 platform which can trace its roots back to Volvo’s P2 from when Ford owned the Swedish brand, the Flex features an ample 117.9-inch wheelbase and 201.8-inch overall length. Within those dimensions, the company made room for three rows of seats and wrapped it all in an iconic box design based on the 2005 Fairlane concept car. The production model debuted three-years later, nominally replacing the Taurus X in the Ford lineup.
The production Flex ditched the show car’s suicide rear doors but kept the floating roof greenhouse and panel embossments on the flanks. This 2013 edition represents the model’s first major overhaul, with new facia and lights, upfront, and a revised rear end. It comes in Deep Impact Blue Metallic with a black roof, and sports what are seemingly rare 20-inch alloys. At least I’ve only ever seen them on the odd occasion.
The car is not the top of the line Limited, but the reasonably well-equipped next level down, SEL. That gains it leather seating on all three rows and some additional fancifications inside. The bodywork looks to be in fine shape, however, those rare wheels do exhibit a bit of curb rash so deduct points there.
The interior seems equally up to the task, and features not one, not two, not three, but fully four windows up in the roof. The front one of those opens in the traditional manner, while the others offer screens for proper SPF. The rear pair of seats offer an interesting capability too, that being the ability to fold fully rearward to serve as tailgate seats as long as you don’t mind afterward resting your head against the headrest where your butt used to be. Back there you’ll also notice the enormous strut for the auto-close hatch. I think that’s the biggest one of those I’ve ever seen.
The car comes with just 105,000 miles on the clock, which is right where you would expect it to be for its age. The ad doesn’t mention any mechanical maladies, and to be honest the 3.5-litre Duratec V6 isn’t known for many major issues. That’s a 287 horsepower mill, which offers reasonable a counter to the burden of the Flex’s almost two and a half-ton weight.
The 6F50 six-speed automatic can get cantankerous with time. That’s a joint GM/Ford design and the differences between each maker—brass vs. aluminum valve assemblies—can cause different issues. This one is said to “drive(s) great!” It carries all-the-time AWD and a remote start so it should make for a decent cold-weather companion.
The title is clear so it wouldn’t be one of those companions with a dirty little secret either. How much to gain this companionship? The asking is $13,000, and as they say in the funny pages, ‘they ain’t makin’ em any more’ so from now on if you want a Ford station wagon here in the States, used is going to be your only bet.
What do you think, at that $13,000 price, is this Flex a safe bet? Or, does this last of the wagons not make a lasting impression at that asking?
H/T to minaviggen for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at email@example.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.