Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2009 Ford Flex VS 2009 Dodge Grand Near Goodyear, AZ

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2009 Ford Flex

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VS

2009 Dodge Grand

Safety Comparison

The Flex offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Flex and the Grand Caravan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Flex with leather seats is safer then the Grand Caravan:

Flex

Grand Caravan

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Restraint Design

GOOD

GOOD

Distance from Back of Head

18 mm

32 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

10 mm

33 mm

Dynamic Test Rating

GOOD

MARGINAL

Seat Design

Pass

Fail

Torso Acceleration

10.7 g’s

12 g’s

Neck Force Rating

Low

Medium

Max Neck Shearing Force

0

219

Max Neck Tension

324

680

(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side and rear impact tests, and its standard AdvanceTrac™, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Flex as a “Top Pick for 2009,” a rating only granted to 51 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Grand Caravan was not a Top Pick.

Warranty Comparison

The Flex comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Ford will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Dodge doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Grand Caravan.

The Flex’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Grand Caravan runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 33 percent more Ford dealers than there are Dodge dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the Flex’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Flex’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Grand Caravan 4.0 SOHC V6’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt, which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Grand Caravan’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the Flex has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Grand Caravan.

The Flex has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the van’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 27th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics, which show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 17th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

The Flex’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 92 more horsepower (262 vs. 170) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (248 vs. 205) than the Grand Caravan SE’s standard 3.3 V6. The Flex’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 65 more horsepower (262 vs. 197) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (248 vs. 230) than the Grand Caravan SXT’s standard 3.8 V6. The Flex’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (262 vs. 251) than the Grand Caravan SXT’s optional 4.0 SOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Ford Flex is faster than the Grand Caravan SXT 3.8 V6:

Flex

Grand Caravan

Zero to 30 MPH

3.2 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9 sec

10.3 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.2 sec

7.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.9 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

79.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Flex uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Grand Caravan SXT requires mid-grade for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 15 cents more per gallon.

The Flex has a standard capless fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Grand Caravan doesn’t offer a capless fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Flex’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Grand Caravan:

Flex

Grand Caravan

Front Rotors

12.8 inches

11.9 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12 inches

The Flex’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Grand Caravan are solid, not vented.

The Flex stops much shorter than the Grand Caravan:

Flex

Grand Caravan

70 to 0 MPH

189 feet

203 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

144 feet

154 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

157 feet

182 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Flex has larger tires than the Grand Caravan (235/60R18 vs. 225/65R16).

The Flex’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio), which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Caravan’s standard 65 series tires. The Flex Limited’s tires have a lower 55 series profile than the Grand Caravan’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Flex has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Grand Caravan. The Flex Limited’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the Grand Caravan SXT.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Ford Flex has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Dodge Grand Caravan has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Flex has 2 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 7.9 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more third row headroom than the Grand Caravan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Flex’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Grand Caravan’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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