We are currently in Albuquerque, NM to not only view the yearly Albequerque International Balloon Festival, but to pick up a new etching press for my wife's hobby of nature printing leaves, ferns, etc onto all kinds of materials. (check Nature Printing Society via Google). The 26" x 49" press weighs 350 pounds plus the 150 butcherblock and steel table it bolts to gives a combined weight of 500+ pounds. Naturally something nearly 50" tall woud not fit into the cargo opening, so the table was dismantled, legs being bubble wrapped for placement elsewhere in the car. The press itself is still bolted to the butcherblock table top, which produces a 400 pound object to load. The Takach factory used a fork lift to carefully insert the press into the Flex's cargo opening, and then strapped it down to the two Flex attachment points on either side of the cargo hold. I'll obviously need four strong guys to unload the press when we arrive back in Florida next week. Happily the Flex did not squat down hardly at all when the full weight was released into the cargo hold.
We have been getting 22-26 mpg at legal highway speeds since leaving Orlando two weeks ago, so I'll have a good gauge of what an extra 500 pounds will do to mpg.
PS.....Before ever leaving Florida I moved the spare tire and jack from it's normal place to right behind the driver's seat, as there would be NO way to get to the spare tire once the press was loaded in. We're still running the recommened 35 psi tire pressure, but might up it in next day or two and after putting the owner's manual under my pillow one more night for absorbing all the facts. Our SEL Flex now has 6,035 miles on it and handles beautifully on the interstates.