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  • James Flammang
    Contributing Editor - January 19, 2016

    Expert Rating

    4.5 (Excellent)
    16 City / 22 Highway

    Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

    You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

    5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

    4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

    3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

    2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

    1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

    2016 Ford Flex OVERVIEW

    The Ford Flex seems to qualify as a modern-day cult vehicle. Owners love it, most reviewers love it, yet sales have been slow from the start. That's not the car's fault. This big, distinctive seven-seater mixes hefty doses of comfort, practicality, unique design, and solid driving characteristics. In a market full of conformist crossovers, often dressed up to appear off-road ready, the Flex makes an unmistakable statement about living in the real world with a sense of style.

    What's New for 2016

    New for the 2016 model year, a Flex Appearance Package includes black door handles, window sills, roof, and grille, as well as 20-inch wheels. SEL and Limited trim levels get Ford’s new SYNC 3 infotainment system with conversational voice recognition, which promises markedly improved operation, an intuitive touchscreen, and a more understandable interface compared to the previous setup. Otherwise, little has changed apart from three new color choices.

    Ford Flex

    Choosing Your Ford Flex

    Ford’s Flex is available in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. Standard powertrain for each is a 3.5-liter V6, which develops 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on the SEL and Limited. In addition, the Limited with all-wheel drive can be equipped with an EcoBoost twin-turbocharged V6 that cranks out 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet. The standard V6 provides plenty of power for everyday driving duties, while a Limited with the EcoBoost motor could almost qualify as a clandestine muscle car.

    Fuel economy is nothing to boast about, estimated at 16 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on the highway with the standard engine. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 16/22 mpg, while EcoBoost is estimated at 15/21 mpg (city/highway). Standard equipment for every Flex includes a rearview camera and sensors to detect obstacles while backing up. Optional active park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to locate a parallel parking space, and can then steer the Flex into position as the driver operates the gas and brake pedals.


    Starting at $29,600, the base version has an equipment level that’s best described as adequate. Luxury touches are lacking, with few extras available. Standard are air conditioning, a power driver’s seat, CD player, SiriusXM satellite radio capability, SYNC with MyFord, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.


    Stepping up to the SEL costs $2,700 more, but includes dual-zone automatic temperature control, foglamps, heated power front seats, keyless entry with pushbutton start, SYNC 3 infotainment, and 18-inch wheels. You also get access to more options, from all-wheel drive, a trailer package, and DVD entertainment to leather seat upholstery, blind-spot monitoring, and adjustable pedals.


    As expected, the top trim level piles on standard features such as HID headlights and a 12-speaker Sony sound system, while making even more options available, including adaptive cruise control and cooled front seats. Each Limited has blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, a power liftgate, perforated leather-trimmed seats, and 19-inch wheels.

    CarsDirect Tip

    A midlevel SEL makes sense for most customers -- not much more costly than the SE with its basic feature set, but well short of the Limited’s price. The SEL deserves careful consideration from families in need of serious interior space, who also appreciate a distinctive look. The Limited starts at $37,800, but the sticker price could approach $50,000 if the buyer isn't careful with the order form. Even so, a serious argument can be made that a well-equipped Flex is worth the high tab.

    Get your price on a Ford Flex »

    Read our review on the Ford Flex »

    Ford Flex Rear Quarter

    Best Ford Deals & Lease Offers In January

    Ford's offers aren't as strong as we saw last month but that doesn't mean a good deal can't be found. Rebates are particularly strong on the 2019 Edge when configured in SEL... View All Ford Lease Deals


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