The Ford Flex 3-row crossover SUV is known for its distinctively boxy shape, but until last year, it didn't have all of Ford's latest and greatest features. Fortunately, the 2014 Ford Flex is fully up to date now, incorporating last year's across-the-board enhancements while keeping the model's winning formula intact. Here are five reasons to welcome a 2014 Flex into your family's garage.

Cutting-Edge Technology

The Flex used to play backup to the related Explorer in terms of technology, but now the latest MyFord Touch system comes standard on almost every Flex. You get a high-resolution 8-inch center screen, dual 4.2-in information screens in the gauge cluster, SYNC voice recognition, Bluetooth and two USB ports. The dashboard looks a lot cooler, too, thanks in part to touch-sensitive buttons located below the center screen.

Plenty of Horses in the Stable

We used to wonder why the Flex's standard V6 had less power than the Explorer's V6, but as of last year, it's now a dead heat. Thanks to 25 extra ponies, the standard Flex is fully competitive with both its corporate sibling and other V6-powered crossovers in this class. As a bonus, fuel economy is up as well, touching 25 miles per gallon on the highway.

Family-Friendly Interior

Passenger space has always been a strength for the Flex, and that's still the case for 2014. Every model has three rows of seats, and the third row has more than enough room for two adults to ride in comfort. It's almost like business class back there, which is a rare treat in a crossover. If that's not enough, the Limited model can even be equipped with a built-in fridge.

Extra-Funky Styling

The Flex was designed from day one to draw stares, but the current exterior is the sharpest yet. Restyled last year, it has a fresh grille marked with F-L-E-X lettering instead of the iconic blue oval. It's not often that a crossover SUV has genuinely desirable looks, but this Ford is the exception. If you just can't see yourself driving a dorky minivan, take the super-fly Flex for a spin.

Available EcoBoost Power

The base V6 is just fine, but there's more water in the well if you want it. The optional twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 generates a colossal 365 horsepower, and all-wheel drive comes standard. Moreover, it gets about the same fuel economy as the all-wheel-drive Flex with the base V6. And if you're feeling a bit of sticker shock at the Flex EcoBoost's price tag, keep in mind that it offers most of the performance and luxury of premium German crossovers for many thousands less.

AutoTrader Says

The 2014 Ford Flex is a thoroughly modern crossover with a timelessly cool character. If you need true 3-row functionality, it's one of the best crossovers you can buy.

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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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