Ford has refreshed the Flex for 2013, most notably with new front-end and rear-quarter treatments, along with fully updated SYNC and MyFord Touch inside. There are a few other tweaks, none of which feel like difference-makers to us: an updated steering wheel; new seat foams and trim; a thumb rocker to switch between automatic shifting and manual; rain-sensing wipers; new alloy wheel designs and dual chrome exhaust tips. But let’s talk about the front and rear ends first, because they reveal a strategy that leaves we journalists muttering, though most car buyers could probably care less.

Ford has removed its iconic, beloved blue oval logo from the vehicle’s front fascia. In a move that troublingly reminds us of the strategy General Motors employed in the 1990s when it deleted the Oldsmobile badging from its Aurora sedan because young buyers wouldn’t touch something from the brand, the Ford blue oval is