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$30,575 - 43,590 MSRP

2019 Ford Flex Review

The 2019 Ford Flex ranks low in our midsize SUV rankings. It does a few things well but not enough to stand out in the class. The Flex is subpar in terms of performance, interior quality, safety scores, and predicted reliability.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful available twin-turbo V6 engine
  • User-friendly SYNC 3 infotainment system
  • Useful cargo area
  • Seats lack support
  • Bad gas mileage ratings
  • Less modern and lower-quality interior than rivals
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Ford Flex's #20 ranking is based on its score within the Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Ford Flex has a score of 7.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 100 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.4
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Ford Flex a Good SUV?

The Ford Flex is an OK SUV. Its list of positives includes a spacious, boxy cargo hold, a user-friendly infotainment system, and a powerful optional turbocharged engine. However, the seats aren't that comfortable, the base engine can feel weak, and handling is dull. The Flex hasn't been redesigned in years, so many midsize SUV competitors have fresher styling and more interior panache than this Ford.

Should I Buy the Ford Flex?

The Flex is not a great option for most buyers because it doesn't really provide anything that you can't find in many higher-ranked rivals. On top of that, it has about-average prices for the class, so it's not attractive as a value proposition. You're better off considering well-rounded alternatives like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Compare the Flex, Highlander, and Pilot »

Should I Buy a New or Used Ford Flex?

The 2019 Flex is part of a generation that began with the 2009 model year. Since 2016, there have been few major changes to the Flex. If you stick with a used model from 2016 through 2018, you'll get a car that's nearly identical to the new model and potentially thousands of dollars cheaper. If you are interested in a used model, be sure to check out our reviews of the 2016 Flex, 2017 Flex, and 2018 Flex.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Flex »

We Did the Research for You: 100 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Flex generation, which runs from 2009 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Ford Flex Cost?

The Flex carries a base price of $30,575. That's in line with many competitors' starting prices. There are two higher Flex trims. The Flex SEL starts at about $33,300, while the top-of-the-line Limited starts at around $38,800. Most rivals' top trims cost more than the Flex Limited.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

Ford Flex Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Ford Flex or Toyota Highlander?

There's a lot to like about the high-ranking Toyota Highlander. Its cabin is full of top-notch materials, and it has one of the highest predicted reliability ratings in the class. The Highlander has three rows of roomy, comfortable seats, and it comes standard with a long list of infotainment and driver assistance features. The Highlander is also more fuel-efficient than the Flex. There's no debate here; go with the Toyota.

Which Is Better: Ford Flex or Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot is another midsize SUV that outranks the Flex. Though it costs a bit more, it's worth the extra money. You'll get one of the most spacious third rows in the segment, along with a nice cabin and more standard features than in the Flex. The Pilot gets better fuel economy estimates too, making it more practical.

Compare the Flex, Highlander, and Pilot »

Flex Interior

How Many People Does the Flex Seat?

The Ford Flex seats seven people. The first two rows of seats provide plenty of passenger space, but the seats themselves could use more support. The third-row seats are big enough for adults, but most people will feel cramped after sitting back there for a while.

Flex and Car Seats

For installing car seats, the Flex has three full sets of LATCH connectors. The lower anchors are easy to maneuver around, but they're set deep in the seat. The tether anchors are difficult to find, and they can be easily confused with other hardware in the vehicle.

Flex Interior Quality

The 2019 Flex has a functional interior, but it falls below many other midsize SUVs in terms of quality, largely because Ford hasn't redesigned the Flex in a decade, while higher-ranking competitors have seen more recent updates. There are a lot of midgrade materials in the Flex, and rivals have more soft-touch materials throughout their cabins.

Flex Cargo Space

Cargo capacity in the Flex is about average for a midsize SUV. You have 20 cubic feet of space with all seats in use, which is enough room for five sets of golf clubs or about 15 shopping bags. Fold the second and third rows down, and you have about 83 cubic feet of space, which is enough room for just about anything you want to carry. While cargo space is merely average, the square design of the Flex allows you to make the most of all that space.

Flex Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Flex comes standard with Ford's SYNC smartphone integration system, which includes a USB port, Bluetooth, and voice command recognition. Available features include a panoramic glass roof, two additional USB ports, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, satellite radio, navigation, and the SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system with Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

The standard SYNC system isn't as easy to use as the available SYNC 3 infotainment system, making the latter worth the upgrade. The menus are easy to navigate, and the touch screen responds well to inputs. However, the touch-sensitive panels, used to adjust some settings, can be tricky to operate.

Read more about interior »

Flex Performance

Flex Engine: You May Want a Boost

The Flex's 287-horsepower V6 base engine fits the bill most of the time, but it doesn't move the vehicle easily if you've got a lot of people or cargo on board. The 365-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 (known as the EcoBoost) feels much stronger and delivers better acceleration than you'll find in many other midsize SUVs.

Flex Gas Mileage: We've Crunched the Numbers, and They're Bad

Almost every competitor gets better gas mileage than the Flex. This Ford earns 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the base engine. Ratings drop slightly with the turbocharged engine.

Compared to rivals like the Highlander and Pilot, you'll spend at least $300 more per year on gas driving the Flex.

Flex Ride and Handling: Solid but Unspectacular

Several class rivals feel nimbler than the Flex. Though it remains composed on winding roads and doesn't have too much body lean, this Ford lacks the agility to aggressively take turns. It's decently maneuverable in tight spaces, though, and the ride is fairly smooth.

Flex Towing Capacity

The Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped. That's an OK number for the class, as midsize SUV towing capacities range from under 2,000 pounds to around 7,000 pounds. With the EcoBoost engine, the Flex easily pulls most small trailers (open-air trailers, boats, ATVs, etc.).

Read more about performance »

Flex Reliability

Is the Ford Flex Reliable?

The 2019 Flex has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Ford Flex Warranty

Ford covers the Flex with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Flex Safety

Flex Crash Test Results

The 2019 Flex received the highest score of Good in four Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests. It earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable for the driver-side small overlap front test. The Flex's two possible headlight setups received the second-lowest and lowest ratings of Marginal and Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead. Properly equipped Flex trims earned a Basic rating for front crash prevention.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Flex four out of five stars in the rollover test.

Flex Safety Features

The Flex comes with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and Ford's MyKey system. Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic parking assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which Ford Flex Model Is Right for Me?

There are three Flex trims. All models come standard with a 287-horsepower V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The SEL trim makes the best choice for most buyers. It offers many of the infotainment and driver assistance features you can get in a Flex, but it costs much less than the Limited trim. If you want the EcoBoost engine or the top-tier comfort and convenience features, however, the Limited trim is your only choice.

Ford Flex SE

The Flex SE has a base price of $30,575. Standard features include the SYNC smartphone integration system (with a USB port, Bluetooth, and voice command recognition), rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and Ford's MyKey system. You can add satellite radio for $185. All-wheel drive is not available on this trim.

Ford Flex SEL

The Flex SEL has a starting price of $33,290. In addition to the SE trim's features, the SEL comes standard with proximity key entry, push-button start, two additional USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, satellite radio, the SYNC 3 touch-screen infotainment system, Siri Eyes Free iPhone integration, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

You can add all-wheel drive for $1,950 and a panoramic glass roof for $1,595. You can also add second-row bucket seats ($695) and navigation ($795). The 202A Equipment package ($2,400) includes leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats, a premium seven-speaker audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a power liftgate.

Ford Flex Limited

The Flex Limited starts at $38,790. The Limited comes with a power liftgate, a three-prong power outlet, leather first- and second-row seats, power-adjustable front seats, a 12-speaker Sony audio system, HD Radio, voice-controlled navigation, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

You can upgrade to the twin-turbo V6 (EcoBoost) engine and all-wheel drive (you're required to add AWD if you want the EcoBoost) for $8,200. All-wheel drive by itself costs $1,950. You can also add a panoramic glass roof ($1,595) and second-row bucket seats ($695).

The 301A Equipment package ($2,900) includes ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and active park assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Ford dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Ford deals page.

See 2019 Ford Flex specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Ford Flex doesn't have the all-around quality of most class rivals, and it feels less modern as well because it's been a decade since the Flex's last redesign. This is an OK SUV, but there are many better options in the class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • Fuel economy is down compared to competitors — or rather, its competitors have improved over the years. The latest in advanced driver safety aids are available, but only on the most expensive trim level. And the Flex's interior design, while functional, lacks the cutting-edge styling and materials that modern cars have. Still, for some buyers, namely those who prioritize function over form, the Flex still presents a worthy investment." -- Edmunds
  • Along with space for up to seven passengers and all of their gear, the Flex boasts an available 355-horsepower EcoBoost V6 and love-it-or-hate-it sheetmetal that sets it apart from the crowd." -- Left Lane News (2018)
  • The Ford Flex … is far from typical. In fact, it only takes one look at its boxy silhouette, grooved side panels and long white-capped roof to see that the Flex is the true heir to the classic American family station wagon. Although the Flex crossover SUV doesn't have the ground clearance or off-road capabilities of the Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer – although it does offer all-wheel drive (AWD) – it does offer similar midsize-SUV interior dimensions, plus the advantage of a more comfortable ride and lower step-in height. The Flex also gives you a choice of powerful yet fuel-efficient engines, a near luxury-car-like interior, and plenty of cutting-edge features to please even the most stubborn tech junkie." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 10, 2020

Extremely Low Sales: Ford Flex sales rose by 20.6 percent in 2019 relative to 2018. Even so, the Flex is still the slowest selling midsize SUV on the market. The Flex likely loses a lot of prospective buyers to its sibling, the Ford Explorer, which outsold the Flex more than 7 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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2019 Ford Flex

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