When the Ford Flex first hit the market, the bold and funky styling is what helped sell models. Now that the looks have been around a while the novelty has worn off, good pricing that starts at around $30,000 is what the automaker hopes will attract buyers. The Ford Flex’s odd looks, 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 (and 365-hp EcoBoost V6) and brilliant space should be enough to keep the car relevant, but is it?
When striking looks is something that you must have in a 7-seater SUV, look no further than the boxy Ford Flex. The futuristic front end and the almost simplistic square and flat design make the Ford Flex look like a slab of rolling metal, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Not everyone likes the current design trends out there. The basic design allows for plenty space inside for seven passengers and their daily carry items, and the engines on offer ensure there’s a Ford Flex to cater for most buyers. Tech, specifications and pricing also give potential buyers more to think about.
There’s a lot going on inside the Ford Flex with a few trimmings and features separating the three available models. In the driver’s seat you’ll find power-adjustable controls to get the perfect position, even the foot pedals can move to suit you, instead of the other way around. Seating is for seven, the third row being power assisted to make life easier. Options include a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, and heated power-folding mirrors.
Then the space, there’s a lot, especially if the 2nd and 3rd seats are folded to reveal 83.2 cu. Ft. An array of smaller compartments is spread around too; even 12 bottles can be stored. Trim and materials can be optioned to suit, but even the factory standard is good all round, even though hard plastics are still used. The Ford Flex is a pretty nice place to spend time in for driver or passengers.
Having some different and funky looks is one thing, but the car needs to drive as good as it looks, luckily the Ford Flex is good at this task too. Four models have power sent to the front wheels while the top version can be optioned with all-wheel drive. Both offer up a smooth drive and even though the Ford Flex looks sizeable, lightweight construction keeps the drive feeling more sedan-like, independent front and rear suspension contributes to this. Power feels like it’s more than quoted and the Flex feels punchy with either powertrain in play, more so than the segment competition, if you could identify what that is exactly.
When you look at the Ford Flex you can’t quite make out if it should be fast or slow, thankfully it leans more to the latter. The SE, SEL and Limited models see standard fitment of a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 Engine making 287 hp that drives the front wheels. A 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with shifter button activation is found in all models and does a good job of swapping through the gears. In the Limited model you have the option of all-wheel drive too, but only if you spend around $8,000 for the more powerful EcoBoost lump that, thanks to a pair of turbochargers, produces power up at 365 hp with a healthy 350 lb-ft of torque. This is the preferable setup, and the bonus is it can get you to 60 mph in 6.2-seconds.
The Ford Flex does have some handy features over and above all the things you expect as standard in a new modern car. MyKey technology allows you to program individual keys so that two people can share a car, each user with their own custom settings, like speed and audio volume restrictions for when the kids need to use the car responsibly. Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system is now in play, and that in itself is feature rich while being easy to operate. Safety includes Ford systems like AdvanceTrac combined with Roll Stability Control, active park assist, an optional blind spot information system with cross traffic alert. Those who tow can option a sway control system.
While the initial appeal of such an oddly designed car has worn off since the Ford Flex forts arrived on the scene, it’s still a brilliant option for someone who needs to have a lot of space and is also conscious about performance. The interior could use some newer materials in some spots but the rest of the feature more than make up for any shortcomings. If you have between $30,000 and $40,000 budget and you’re shopping in this segment, don’t overlook a Ford Flex.