The Ford Flex is a modern-day cult vehicle. Owners love it, reviewers love it, but sales have been slow from the beginning. It's not the car's fault -- the big, distinctive seven-seater mixes together double doses of comfort, practicality, unique design and solid driving characteristics. In a market full of conformist crossovers dressed up in off-road costumes, the Flex makes a statement about living in the real world with style.
What's New for 2015
The Flex is unchanged from 2014 save for minor details: new paint options include Magnetic (metallic medium gray) and Guard (metallic dark gray), heated side mirrors are now standard across the line, and a heated steering wheel is available on the Limited.
Choosing Your Ford Flex
The Flex is available in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. The standard powertrain for each is Ford's 287-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 driving the front wheels. All-wheel-drive is available on the SEL and Limited, and the Limited with all-wheel-drive can be had with an EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 that cranks out 365 horsepower. The standard V6 provides plenty of power for everyday driving duties, while the Limited with the EcoBoost motor is a secret muscle car.
Standard equipment for any Flex include sensors to detect obstacles while backing up and second-row climate control. The SE starts at $29,100 before incentives but its equipment level is best described as adequate: it's not a penalty box but luxury touches are lacking and there are few extras available at this level.
Stepping up to the SEL costs $3000 more, includes standard features like heated seats and SiriusXM radio, and -- more importantly -- also allows access to more options, from all-wheel-drive and a trailer package to leather seats and a navigation system and even additional paint choices.
The Limited piles on standard features like HID headlamps and a 12-speaker Sony sound system, and opens up the availability of even more options including adaptive cruise control and cooled front seats. All those extras and extra choices add something extra to the bottom line: the Limited starts at $37,700 MSRP and the sticker price can crowd $50,000 if the buyer isn't careful with the order form. Even so, a serious argument can be made that a fully-loaded wagon is worth the high tab.
The SEL makes the most sense for most customers, splitting the difference between the SE's basic feature set and the Limited's high price, and deserves a good look from people in need of serious interior space.