The 2014 Ford Flex only offers two options for engine choices: the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, and the 3.5L EcoBoost. This article will explain the key differences between the two, as well as fuel economy for the Ford Flex, and the pros and cons of each engine option.
3.5L Ti-VCT V6 Engine
The 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine has been in the Ford line-up for several years, and is present on a number of different models. This is the engine that comes standard on the 2014 Ford Flex (every trim level).
This engine employs a number of advanced technologies that help to maximize fuel economy without greatly increasing the cost of manufacturing the engine. The main technology employed is Twin independant-Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT). Basically what Ti-VCT does is allow the engine to slightly modify the timings of the intake and exhaust valves opening and shutting. This gives the flexibility of being able to deliver more power when power is needed, and to maximize fuel efficiency when power is not needed as much.
For a very detailed look at how the Ti-VCT system works, check out the video below:
This engine and the 3.5L EcoBoost also employ Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off (ADFSO), which does what it sounds like it does. When you decelerate very aggressively (slam on your brakes), it will temporarily shut off the fuel supply to the engine, so that fuel is not being wasted while you are slowing down.
This engine is mated to a 6-speed SelectShift Transmission, which allows you to run the vehicle either with an automatic transmission, or with a manual mode, where you control the gears using a thumb switch on the shifter knob.
3.5L EcoBoost V6 Engine
The other engine available on the 2014 Ford Flex is the 3.5L EcoBoost Engine, which employs a combination of direct fuel injection and twin turbochargers to maximize the power output from this engine. Because of this, it is able to perform at the level of most V8 engines, while providing the fuel economy of a V6 engine.
This engine is particularly useful if the extra power of V8-level performance is important to you. It is an upgrade that is only available on the 2014 Ford Flex Limited, so if maintaining a low overall price for your Flex is the most important thing to you in purchasing your next car, this engine option is probably not for you.
But, for those people who are looking for a sportier feel, and for a little more get-up-and-go when they hit the gas, this engine is the best way to achieve it. Plus, because it is available on the Limited trim level, you can have all of the great upgrades that come with the Limited, like the 110V AC Outlet, and the optional 2nd Row Refrigerated Center Console.
The 3.5L EcoBoost Engine on the Flex is paired with a 6-speed SelectShift Transmission, with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. This transmission, like the one paired with the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, allows you to operate the car with either an automatic transmission or with a manual mode, but with this one, you shift using racing-inspired paddles on the steering wheel.
A 2014 Ford Flex equipped as a Front Wheel Drive vehicle, with the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 Engine has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 18 MPG-City/25 MPG-Highway.
When equipped as an All-Wheel Drive vehicle, the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine gives the 2014 Ford Flex an EPA Estimated fuel economy of 17 MPG-City/23 MPG-Highway.
With the 3.5L EcoBoost Engine, the 2014 Ford Flex gets an EPA estimated 16 MPG-City/23 MPG-Highway. With the 3.5L EcoBoost, the Flex must be equipped as an All-Wheel Drive vehicle.
As you can see, there’s not a huge amount of difference between each of the engine options on the Flex. In the case of the Flex, the term EcoBoost has sometimes been called misleading: If it’s “Eco”, then shouldn’t it be saving fuel? Shouldn’t fuel economy be better with the EcoBoost engine?
It makes a little more sense when you think of it in terms of performance. The standard 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 performs like a V6, and gets the fuel economy of a V6; the 3.5L EcoBoost performs like a V8, but gets the fuel economy of a V6. What Ford has done is replaced a more normal choice of V6 engine or V8 engine – where the smaller engine gets better fuel economy but lower performance, and the bigger engine gets lower fuel economy but better performance – with the choice of a normal V6, and an EcoBoost V6. Compared to the V8 engine that it is replacing, the 3.5L EcoBoost really is an improvement in fuel economy.
Both engines are rated for the same towing ability. Without any upgrades, the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 is rated to tow up to 2,000 lbs. This is the standard for all 2014 Ford Flex models, and does not come with a factory-equipped trailer hitch. If you would like to get a trailer hitch installed, but don’t want to upgrade to the tow package detailed below, Ken Wilson Ford can have an after-market trailer hitch installed here at the dealership.
With the addition of the Class III Trailer Tow Package, available on the SEL and Limited Trim Levels, the maximum tow capacity is upgraded to 4,500 lbs. This package also includes an engine oil cooler for the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6, as well as Trailer Sway Control, a 4- and 7-pin wiring harness, and a 2″ Class III receiver hitch.
The 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine on the 2014 Ford Flex can deliver up to 287 horsepower, and up to 254 ft-lbs of torque.
The 3.5L EcoBoost engine on the 2014 Ford Flex can deliver up to 365 horsepower, and up to 350 ft-lbs of torque. Both of those sets of numbers were acheived using 93-octane fuel, so if you normally fill up on 87-octane (standard), you probably won’t get to quite these numbers.
These numbers are a little useless outside of context, so here are a couple of comparison numbers:
The 2014 Chevy Traverse, equipped as an LS with AWD and a V6 engine, can get up to 281 horsepower and 266 ft-lbs of torque – pretty comparable to the V6 engine on the Flex (although with a slightly higher base MSRP). There’s no V8 option on the Traverse, so there’s not really anything to compare the EcoBoost engine against.
The 2013 Dodge Durango (at the time of writing, the 2014 had not yet been released), equipped as a STX with Rear wheel drive and a V6 engine, can get up to 290 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque. Again, this is pretty comparable to the Flex, and they’ve got a more similar base MSRP as well. With the Durango, though, you don’t get quite as much interior room as you do in the more spacious Flex.
On the higher end of the large crossover vehicle spectrum, you’ve got things like the Audi Q7 Prestige, which, when comes equipped with a 3.0L V6. This engine 333 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque, which is not quite as much as the Flex Limited with a 3.5L EcoBoost, but it is in basically the same range. The big difference here, though, is that the base MSRP for an Audi Q7 Prestige with a 3.0L V6 is in the low-$60,000 range, while the MSRP for a Flex Limited with a 3.5L EcoBoost is in the mid-$40,000 range . This is a pretty significant difference, for not a huge amount of performance. The Audi also has very slightly lower fuel economy, at 16 MPG-City/22 MPG-Highway (1 MPG less than the Flex for both city and highway).
All in all, the 2014 Ford Flex is a capable vehicle that can perform well, gets good fuel economy, and has a lot of options for luxurious or high-tech features.
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