Buyers haven’t been rushing toward the Ford Flex, which almost seems to qualify as a modern-day cult vehicle. Owners love it, most reviewers at least like it, and yet sales have been slow from the start. That's not the car's fault. This big, distinctive seven-seater mixes welcome 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 squared-off Flex makes an unmistakable statement about living in the real world with a sense of style.
What's New for 2017
Aside from some new color choices, the Flex is unchanged.
Choosing Your Ford Flex
Ford’s Flex is again 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.
A 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 energetic EcoBoost engine 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 (19 mpg combined) with the standard engine. All-wheel drive drops the estimate to 16/22 mpg (city/highway), while the EcoBoost, offered only with all-wheel drive, is estimated at 15/21 mpg (city/highway).
Available SYNC 3 infotainment promises quicker performance, conversational voice recognition, an intuitive touchscreen, and straightforward graphical interface, compared to previous systems.
Standard equipment for every Flex includes a rearview camera and rear 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 accelerator and brake pedal. Additional safety options include adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Inflatable rear seatbelts rear also are available.
A midlevel SEL should make sense for most customers . The SEL costs just slightly more than the basic SE, and yet stops well short of the Limited’s price. The SEL deserves careful consideration from families in need of serious interior space, and who also appreciate a distinctive look. The Limited will approach $50,000 if you're not judicious with options. Even so, there's a case to be made for the relative value of a fully loaded Flex.