A couple of small callouts: Given this vehicle's mission and all the standard features on board, we were a little surprised to learn the rear seat entertainment was optional. And while it's a niggling thing, what's with not having an auto up/down passenger window button? C'mon now, Ford. The power liftgate also takes longer to open and close than your local drawbridge, but it is a pretty massive piece.

In the dash department, the EcoBoosted Flex moves out with crazy authority. We recently tested an MKT with Ford's outstanding 3.5-liter twin-turbo mill, and it moved the Lincoln luxo barge to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. We had zero reason to doubt that number every time we stomped the Flex Titanium's adjustable pedal. For a 4800-odd-pound boxy hulk, this Flex flat out flies in a straight line. If you desire, you can push the paddle shifters with your thumbs in order to get a little more control over the six-speed automatic's shifts.

The Titanium's all-wheel drive is a welcome option in Great White North states like Michigan, and with the 20-inch rubber affixed, this Flex feels like it has a little less flex in the suspension. A vehicle like this is never going to be a world-class handler, nor should it be, given its people-hauling mission. But it handles its business surprisingly well given its dimensions, due in large part to its fully independent suspension setup with MacPherson struts up front, optimized shock positions, and thick anti-roll bars front and rear.

So, about that sticker again...When you start ticking off the competitors in this price range, including premium offerings such as the Mercedes R-Class, Acura MDX, Audi Q7 -- not to mention the MKT -- and the 50 thousand dollar question becomes harder to answer. But the Flex Titanium's unique style, mission, and luxury trimmings at least put it in the conversation, especially if a domestic-produced people mover is high on your priority list.

2011 Ford Flex Titanium with EcoBoost
Base Price $45,960
Price as tested $50,145
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 6- or 7-passenger SUV
Engine 3.5-liter/355-hp/350-lb-ft DOHC twin-turbo V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight 4850 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 117.9 in
Length x width x height 201.8 x 79.9 x 68.0 in
0-60 mph 6.1 (MT est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/21 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.06 lb/mile
On sale in U.S. Currently