Ford Flex

Ford Flex (Front)
Ford Flex (Front) – photo courtesy of Ford
Ford Flex (Interior)
Ford Flex (Interior) – photo courtesy of Ford

Ford Flex

Model Years Produced: 2009 to 2019

In modern automotive history, there has not been another car like the Ford Flex before or since. As long as an SUV but as low as a car, the Flex captured a unique niche in the market for people who wanted something practical without a tall driving position – basically the exact opposite of how the car market is currently trending.

Initially, the Flex was panned for being another typical recession-era Ford product – cheap interior, quirky but still somewhat-bland exterior. In 2013, Ford rolled out a massive mid-cycle refresh that overhauled the interior and updated the exterior, making both look far more modern and cool. In 2016, Ford replaced the heavily panned “MyFordTouch” infotainment system with Sync 3, which supported Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Limited trim level is the one to get, especially if you can find one with the EcoBoost engine – though be aware of the reliability quirks of that engine in this particular application (listed below).

Over the years, the Flex garnered an almost cult-like following, with numerous reports of people buying a second one to replace their old one. With the market’s current emphasis on crossovers and SUVs, it’s unlikely we’ll see another Flex anytime soon.

Verdict

Pros

  • Cool, unique looks
  • Very spacious interior for the class
  • EcoBoost engine is genuinely fast
  • Drives like a car thanks to its low ride height

Cons

  • Platform felt old by the end of the car’s life, despite numerous updates
  • Reliability issues:
    • Transverse EcoBoost engines with internal water pumps (like the one in this vehicle) leak coolant into the crankcase when they fail, which causes the engine to self-destruct. The only sign of impending failure is a sudden drop in coolant level, so keep a VERY close eye on that. This does not affect the Duratec engine.
    • The PTU (transfer case) in AWD vehicles should have its fluid replaced every 30k miles or so. Ford claims it is “lifetime” fluid. If you do not replace the fluid in your AWD Flex, your PTU will self-destruct.

Reviews

Consumer Reports

Other Outlets

Specifications

All figures are as of 2019 model year.

  • Transmission: GM-Ford 6-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: FWD standard, AWD optional
    • 2-speed transfer case not available
    • Electronically locking center differential not available
    • Electronically locking rear differential not available
  • Base curb weight: 4439 lbs
  • Max cargo capacity: 83.2 cu ft
  • Seating: 3 rows
  • Rear leg room: 44.3 in
  • Towing capacity: 4500 lbs

Engines

Ford Duratec 35 - 3.5L V6

Standard engine

Power Figures

  • 287 hp
  • 254 lb-ft

Fuel Economy

  • 19mpg combined
  • 16mpg city
  • 23mpg highway

Ford EcoBoost (Gen 1) - 3.5L V6 Twin-Turbocharged

Only available as an option on the Limited trim – most car shopping websites list it as a separate trim level called “Limited AWD w/ EcoBoost”

Power Figures

  • 365 hp
  • 350 lb-ft

Fuel Economy

  • 17mpg combined
  • 15mpg city
  • 21mpg highway