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Ford Flex, Mazda CX9 & Ford Taurus X in top 10 of 3-row SUV’s…

October 8, 2008

Source: Freep.com

The new Ford Flex and upgraded Mazda CX-9 now rank among the top five three-row SUVs tested by Consumer Reports, the magazine reports in its November issue, which goes on sale today.

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The Flex and CX-9 trail only the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the conventional Highlander, and the Acura MDX in Consumer Reports’ ratings of 17 midsize models. Meanwhile, the redesigned Honda Pilot fell from one of the top-rated vehicles in the category to No. 11, with the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, Hyundai Veracruz, Buick Enclave and Ford Taurus X nudging it out of the top 10 in the field of 17.

The magazine ranked the Flex No. 4 on its list with high marks for its ride; “quiet, well-finished interior, vast rear-seat room, flexibility and optional SYNC electronics package.” The seven-passenger vehicle earned low marks for “driving position, turn circle and “so-so” braking distances.”

“Ford’s new Flex wraps a versatile, cavernous interior in a distinctly boxy styling,” the magazine writes. “It is also lower and more wagon-like than the others in this class.”

It is just the latest critical accolade for the new crossover. Yet Ford has struggled to approach projected sales volumes in one of the worst auto markets in years.

The CX-9 came in No. 5 in Consumer Reports’ rankings with high marks for “agility, quietness, steering, transmission, interior flexibility and optional blind spot detection.” The magazine listed only its “modest cargo capacity” as a detracting factor.

“The CX-9 has improved considerably since the last one tested by CR last year,” Consumer Reports wrote. “It is one of the sportiest SUVS that CR’s engineers have ever driven.”

The Honda Pilot received high marks for its “powertrain refinement, eight-person seating and interior room,” the magazine wrote, but low marks for such things as “road noise, so-so braking, and fit and finish.”

Full tests and ratings of the SUV group appear in the issue.

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