The American automaker Ford just announced that the 2010 Flex crossover will also be available with the blue oval’s range topping 3.5 Liter EcoBoost V6, an engine that make the same amount of power as a V8, but with the economy of smaller engine, the gas sipping Flexes should be arriving in Ford showrooms by the end of this summer.
The twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 produces 355 HP and 350 lb-ft of torque. An added benefit of the EcoBoost is that it is the first and only full-size crossover utility vehicle to offer Trailer Sway Control, a technology that will help bring both the vehicle and trailer-in-tow back under control if a dangerous swaying situation occurs.
Ecoboost engine will be available in SEL and Limited trim levels. The crossover will be offered with Active Park Assist, an automated system which parallel parks the vehicle with only the touch of a button, Paddle Shifters and a 4,500 pound Class III Trailer Tow with the standard Trailer Sway Control. Not to mention the Flex’s unique exterior deisgn.
Press release after the jump.
Distinctive appearance. A wealth of customer-friendly technology and interior appointments. Fun to drive. Now, add more power without sacrificing fuel economy to the growing list of ways to describe the Ford Flex.
The 2010 Ford Flex with the new twin-turbocharged all-aluminum 3.5-liter EcoBoost™ V-6 engine, available later this summer, allows customers of this unique full-size crossover to do even more.
“Customers who drive the Flex want to make a statement, and adding the new technologically advanced twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 is very much in keeping with that attitude,” said Ron Heiser, chief engineer of the Ford Flex . “Complementing Flex’s unique style are the many benefits of EcoBoost, including V-8 power with V-6 fuel economy and a wealth of low-end torque coupled with a wide power band that makes towing up to 4,500 pounds that much easier.”
EcoBoost will be packaged with the most popular options for the SEL and Limited trim levels.
“We know there are customers who are looking for the power and performance of a traditional V-8 but do not want to sacrifice this for fuel economy,” said Kate Pearce, Flex marketing manager. “No one else in this segment offers this level of performance and versatility, and when you wrap it up in Flex’s unique package, it will be a compelling buy in the crossover segment.”
New segment features; tow package adds confidence
New-to-segment features such as Active Park Assist, which parallel parks the vehicle at the touch of a button, Paddle Shift and 4,500-pound Class III Trailer Tow with standard Trailer Sway Control, demonstrate Flex continues to lead the way in the technology customers want and value.
Customers who opt for the Class III Trailer Tow Package receive the added safety benefit of advanced Trailer Sway Control technology – a first in the full-size crossover segment and available with all 2010 Flex models. It works in conjunction with AdvanceTrac® with RSC (Roll Stability Control™) and can determine from the yaw motion of the vehicle if the trailer is swaying and take measures – such as applying precise braking or reducing engine torque – to bring both vehicle and trailer under control.
With towing capability of up to 4,500 pounds, the Flex with EcoBoost allows customers who are looking to downsize from a full-size SUV the opportunity to purchase a stylish and fully contented vehicle that still meets their requirements.
“We’ve taken the award-winning Flex, added an optional advanced powertrain and breakthrough features to make the 2010 model even better,” said Pearce. “The result is a great-looking vehicle that performs well and is fun to drive, but also has serious capability in areas such as towing.”
The 2010 Ford Flex SEL with EcoBoost will come with an amply equipped content package that includes:
- All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
- Six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission with Paddle Shift Activation
- Sport-tuned suspension
- SYNC® with 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report
- Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), which enables Active Park Assist and Pull-Drift Compensation
- Chrome dual-tip exhaust system
- 20-inch bright painted aluminum wheels
- Leather-trimmed seats
- Sony® premium audio system with 12 speakers in 10 locations
- Convenience package (includes adjustable pedals with memory, power liftgate, memory driver’s seat and mirrors, heated mirrors, puddle lamps and 110-volt inverter)
- Available Trailer Tow Package with standard Trailer Sway Control
In addition to all of the Flex SEL content, the 2010 Ford Flex Limited with EcoBoost also will include standard Limited series content, such as Ford’s Voice-Activated Navigation System with Rear View Camera, ambient lighting, HID headlamps and LED taillamps.
Electric Power Assist Steering benefits
Ford’s Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system, standard on Flex with EcoBoost, provides several benefits and enables technologies, including:
- Active Park Assist (APA), which uses ultrasonic sensors to parallel park the vehicle in a minimum slot of 1.2 times the vehicle length. In Ford standardized testing, the APA system helped park the vehicle approximately three times faster and 4 to 8 inches closer to the curb than the Lexus LS 460L Advanced Parking camera-based system
- Pull-Drift Compensation, which is a software-based technology that, working with EPAS, helps drivers offset vehicle pulling or drifting that can occur in steady crosswinds or on uneven roads. Pull-Drift Compensation uses sensors to constantly measure the steering input applied by the driver to maintain the vehicle’s path; it automatically compensates for slight steering input changes caused by environmental factors such as road crowning or steady crosswinds
Unlike the common hydraulic-powered systems that continuously draw power from the engine, EPAS draws power from an independent electric motor only as needed. EPAS also improves steering feel at low speeds and provides confident, precise steering on the highway.
Ford’s EcoBoost strategy
The EcoBoost program is part of Ford’s ongoing and wide-ranging initiative to deliver fuel-efficient powertrain systems with the power and performance found in larger-displacement engines. By 2013 more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American nameplates will be available with EcoBoost.
The Flex with EcoBoost boasts 355 horsepower and produces 350 ft.-lb. of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm, allowing Flex to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about seven seconds.
The key to the EcoBoost system is the harmony between the twin turbochargers and direct-injection fuel system. The turbochargers recover energy from the exhaust that otherwise would have been wasted and put it back in the engine to gain efficiency. Simply, the turbocharging system puts more air into the engine for more power. A compressor increases or “boosts” the pressure of the air entering the engine. An intercooler reduces the air temperature before it enters the engine.
How EcoBoost delivers the power
The twin parallel turbochargers, which are water cooled and operate simultaneously, combine with a direct-injection fuel system to produce power when the driver pushes down on the gas pedal. The high-pressure fuel pump operates up to 2,175 psi – more than 35 times the pressure seen in a conventional V-6 engine. The high-pressure pump is a cam-driven mechanical pump with a single piston and an electronic valve that controls fuel-rail output to the injectors.
As demands on the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine increase, the control system responds to maintain optimal combustion, timing and injection duration. On each stroke, six individual jets spray fuel directly into the combustion chamber, mixing with the incoming air. The fuel injectors are located on the side of the combustion chamber. When the fuel is injected into the cylinder, it evaporates and cools the air that has been inducted into the cylinder, improving engine breathing and minimizing knock.
The direct injection of fuel into the cylinder also helps provide a well-mixed air-fuel charge, increasing engine efficiency. Direct injection provides several benefits in terms of fuel burn and lower emissions.
Turbo lag eliminated
Turbo lag – a main reason turbocharger technology was not previously more widely used – is eliminated through the use of EcoBoost’s simultaneous turbocharger operation paired with the direct-injection system. The dual-turbocharger setup has several advantages over previous turbocharging systems, including:
- The turbochargers are smaller and spool up more quickly, allowing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine to reach peak torque faster. The turbochargers can spin in excess of 170,000 rpm. By comparison, the redline for the engine is approximately 6,200 rpm
- Turbochargers are packaged adjacent to the cylinder block and have improved mounting, which provides NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) improvements
The two turbochargers both operate identically over the speed range of the engine – one gets its energy from the left bank and the other gets its energy from the right bank, with both feeding together into the engine. Both spin immediately and produce boost, even at low engine speeds.
New, dedicated transmission and SelectShift complement EcoBoost
Mated to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is the six-speed 6F-55 SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, which is dedicated to the twin-turbocharger engine. The 6F-55 transmission was developed to specifically respond to the increased torque demands of the EcoBoost V-6 engine. Upgrades were made to the transmission’s friction material in response to the higher shift energies, and a new torque converter has been optimized for performance and fuel economy.
The 2010 Flex with EcoBoost driveline combines the high-capacity 6F-55 SelectShift Automatic transmission with a sophisticated torque-sensing All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. These components work in harmony to deliver ample traction when putting EcoBoost power on the road. The six-speed transmission offers a wide array of gears to enable spirited acceleration, yet comfortable high-speed cruising.
SelectShift provides conventional automatic operation or a manual shift mode that gives the driver complete control over gear selection. For performance-minded drivers, paddle controls allow “match-rev” downshifts and will hold manually selected gears for precise control. Intuitively operated, a squeeze on either paddle will deliver an economical upshift under acceleration, while a gentle push forward brings a smooth downshift, synchronizing the engine and transmission speeds for responsive and positive engagement.
The Ford Flex is manufactured at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada.