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Great design, BIG room, electronics nightare

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 6/13/2017 David

Vehicles owned (personal and/or business), all bought used in the last 20 years, all run to death with hundreds of thousands of miles on each: '99 Honda Odyssey, '00 Odyssey, '04 Toyota Sienna, '96 Audi A6, '02 Audi S4 Avant, '00 BMW 528iT base and '00 528iT Sport, Porsche 911s ('74, '84, '05, '07, I kept the old ones!), Toyota '12 Prius V, '11 Prius, '04 Volvo V70, GMC box trucks, Dodge pick up truck, and sooo many more. I swore I'd never buy another minivan with electronic doors (all a freakin' nightmare of problems). Solutions for AWD 7 passenger vehicles with any left over cargo space are pretty limited with many decent performing SUVs offering very little cargo space when loaded with 6 or 7 passengers! By the numbers, Flex stomped all the competition (besides HUGE silliness like a Suburban) and it drove much like a quality euro wagon with well damped suspension and decent (actually, really good) handling without the higher center of gravity in vans and full SUVs. All sounds good, right? Until the rear door sensor started to insist a door was open (sometimes not allowing interior lights to go out)... OK, no biggie, fixed under "certified" warranty requiring both the sensor and the internal door part of the equation as well. 3 months later the other rear door did the same thing... woops, 1 month out of the EXTREMELY LAME 12 month certified warranty. Sorry pal, no help from the dealer. Still minor issues (though what happened to simple buttons for door switches???!!!). BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE... The stereo/audio, blue tooth (all sound) ceased to work! Integrated system with My Touch or whatever (which wasn't a great feature to begin with)... then it got worse! While my wife was driving 90 minutes away to the airport to pick up her sister, the stereo turned itself on at full screeching volume crackling and popping... and wouldn't respond to volume control or turn off! Not even when the car was turned off. She was hysterical and sort of screwed! From a distance, I called a Ford dealer near her location who referred me to a car audio shop (!) nearby. There they lifted the battery terminal, waited a few minutes and reconnected and the radio was off. There's a fuse for the audio but they didn't have time to find it (after closing hours). Tech (late for a parent/teacher conference) showed my wife what to do with the battery and even gave her the wrench (nice people)! Local dealer says? Oh, at least two hours labor to diagnose... ummm, nothing to diagnose, the entire infotainment unit has to be replaced. Ordered a used one (salvage yard) for $200. We'll see how that turns out. Between complicated drive trains, silly transmissions, automatic electronic doors, electronic "driving aids" (uh, learn how to drive!), connectivity, blah, blah, blah, you can't buy a late model vehicle that isn't plagued with non-stop issues, both minor and major. Sad state of advancing automotive electronic "growing pains" we live in. I'll stick to my '98 E36 M3 and '00 528iT wagon. Still not real major issues (engine, tranny and the like), but ("trust your instincts") I fear I may have purchased my first lemon in 45 years and even though I'm fixing these issues, she is totally turned off to the Flex and has severe stereo trauma being constantly afraid it will happen again. She's currently driving her old '04 Sienna with 210k miles on it (I kept it for awhile as a back up vehicle, no fool am I!) P.S. - The vehicles needing the least major/minor repairs? Our '12 Prius V (not a dime beyond tires, brakes and fluids in 150,000 miles), the Sienna (once I shut off the power doors). I'm a German car freak, but Hondas and Toyotas truly earned their reliabilty reputations. Unfortunately, from my research, the latest models and newer versions appear to be subject to the same technology "growing pains" and complicated system failures as every other manufacturer. Final thought - buy low mileage garage queen vehicles from the 90's and early, early 2000 years. Put a blue tooth to radio device in and motor on!

Average Rating : 3

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