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Space race

Discerning customers could call the Flex a minivan in an SUV costume. Chop off the long hood and give it sliding doors and it's a next-generation Freestar.

The look is, as they in car design circles, "polarizing." Reactions to the Flex ranged from "Awesome!" to "Hideous!" But it got noticed wherever it went.

Inside, the Flex takes the term "roomy" literally. It really is like piloting a room down the highway. Second row riders have a remarkable 44.3 inches of legroom. That's 7.5 inches more than in the competing GMC Acadia, which is by no means cramped, and 8 inches more than a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. It's so much that, in top-of-the-line models, the second row floormats have raised footrest wedges lest passengers stretch their calf muscles too much.

The inside of the Ford Flex Limited looks much more conservative than the exterior but, with handsome faux wood trim spilling partway into the instrument cluster, it's warm and inviting. All three rows can get optional sunroofs, bathing the interior in natural light, but only the front one opens.

NEXT: Clever amenities

Last updated July 16 2008: 1:36 PM ET
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