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8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 9.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Ford Flex Review

The 2016 Ford Flex has a roomy interior, a comfortable ride, and strong engine performance, but a merely average reliability rating lands the Flex in the middle of the very competitive midsize SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample space for adults in all three rows
  • Powerful available EcoBoost engine
  • Refined ride and handling
  • Marginal fuel economy

New for 2016

  • SYNC 3 infotainment system replaces MyFord Touch
  • Rearview camera made standard

2016 Ford Flex Overview

Is the 2016 Ford Flex a Good Used SUV?

The Ford Flex is a decent option if you’re shopping for a used midsize SUV. Befitting its name, the Flex is just as capable of fitting seven passengers as it is packing away an entire dorm room. It’s quiet inside and pleasant to drive, and it offers unique convenience features like a refrigerator and reverse-folding seats designed for game-day tailgating. It’s far from the only pick in its crowded class, though. Popular alternatives like the 2016 Chevy Traverse rate higher in reliability, and others like the 2016 Mazda CX-9 offer superior fuel economy.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 89 Ford Flex reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Ford Flex?

You can expect to pay between $20,900 and $33,000 for a used 2016 Flex. These figures are based on 230 listings for the 2016 Ford Flex on our site. The average price is $26,200. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Ford Flex Cost to Own?

The Flex’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $25,000 – or $5,000 per year. That’s about average for the midsize SUV class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Flex?

The 2018 Flex starts at $30,285, and top trim levels can exceed $43,000. You can save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used Flex. On top of that, you’ll find the same engines and safety features in 2016 models as in 2018 models. There are a couple of perks to buying new, though. For example, the 2018 Flex supports the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps. You also won’t have to worry about a questionable maintenance history, since it’s a new vehicle. Still, for most buyers, the 2016 will be the better choice.

Read about the new Ford Flex »

While buying a new 2018 Flex may not be a good way to go, there are other new cars you can buy for about the cost of the 2016 Flex. The 2018 Ford Escape starts at just $23,940. It can’t seat seven like the Flex, but it does offer higher fuel economy. Additionally, its compact size makes it a breeze to park. Other options in the compact SUV class include the 2018 Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain. All are excellent vehicles – and all are less than the average cost of a used 2016 Flex.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Ford Flex?

The Flex has an average reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Flex reliability »

2016 Ford Flex Recalls

As of this writing, there is one recall for the 2016 Flex. Ford identified a defect with the turbocharger oil supply lines found in certain Ford Flex Limited AWD models (equipped with the EcoBoost V6 engine). These lines may leak oil on the turbocharger or surrounding engine components, which increases the risk of a fire. If this recall affects the 2016 Flex model you are considering, make sure the issue is resolved before you buy.

See more information on Ford Flex safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Ford Flex Is Best?

The 2016 Ford Flex marks the eighth model year of the vehicle’s first generation. The Flex has seen few updates over the years. In 2010, a twin-turbocharged V6 (EcoBoost) became available. In 2013, the Flex received a redesigned grille and dashboard, a bump in horsepower for both V6 engines, and newly available safety features (adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and blind spot monitoring).

The most important update, however, arrived in 2016 with the debut of the easier-to-use SYNC 3 infotainment system (a replacement for the frustrating MyFord Touch system). If you’re shopping for a used Flex, these 2016-and-newer models are your best bets.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Flex »

Which Used Ford Flex Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Flex comes in three trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. The base model Ford Flex SE has cloth upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a CD player, an AM/FM radio, a 4.2-inch display screen, Bluetooth, USB and aux ports, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and alloy wheels.

The Ford Flex SEL adds an 8-inch touch screen, satellite radio, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, and remote start. The Ford Flex Limited adds leather seats, a navigation system, blind spot monitoring, a power liftgate, and rain-sensing wipers. Rear-seat DVD screens are optional in all trim levels. Only Limited models are available with heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats (with reverse-fold function), and a refrigerated rear center console.

See 2016 Ford Flex trims and specs »

Certified Pre-Owned Ford Flex Warranty

For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Ford extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles and provides a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty. Each CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program.

Ford’s CPO program is not one of the better ones on the market, according to our analysis. Chevrolet, Buick, and Honda all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Ford certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Flex?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Flex the highest safety rating of Good in four out of five crash tests, in addition to the second-highest rating of Acceptable in small overlap front crash testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Flex four out of five stars for its performance in rollover testing.

Ford equips all 2016 Flex SUVs with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors as standard equipment. Flex SEL and Limited models are available with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Only Limited models are optional with parallel park assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning.

See Flex safety scores »

2016 Ford Flex Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Flex or 2016 Chevrolet Traverse?

The 2016 Chevy Traverse is a top pick in the midsize SUV class. The Traverse rates higher than the Ford for reliability, boasts a far roomier cabin with seating for up to eight, and offers best-in-class cargo space (just over 33 cubic feet more than the Flex). Used models are typically less expensive as well. Overall, the Traverse is a better people- and cargo-hauler than the Flex, though it’s still not very fuel-efficient at just 15/22 mpg.

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Flex or 2016 Honda Pilot?

We named the Honda Pilot our 2016 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money and Best 3-Row SUV for Families. The Pilot seats up to eight and offers comparable cargo space to the Flex. The Honda also boasts nicer cabin materials, higher fuel economy (up to 20/27 mpg city/highway), and more advanced safety features. That said, used Pilot SUVs tend to be much more expensive.

Which Is Better: 2016 Ford Flex or 2016 Ford Explorer?

The 2016 Ford Explorer and Flex are built on the same vehicle platform. These seven-seat SUVs have similar cargo space and share a number of tech and safety features. The Explorer is available with a more efficient four-cylinder engine (19/27 mpg), and its all-wheel-drive system offers greater off-road ability. Still, the Flex is the better buy for most shoppers. It features a simpler infotainment system and much roomier third-row seating. Used models are typically less expensive as well.

Compare the Flex, Traverse, and Pilot »

2016 Flex Performance

How Does the 2016 Ford Flex Drive?

Ford offers the 2016 Flex with two engine choices. A 287-horsepower V6 comes standard in all models, along with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available. A twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 with 365 horsepower is optional in Limited models, and it’s paired with all-wheel drive. The standard V6 is more than capable of hustling the Flex up to speed quickly, but the EcoBoost V6 feels far more muscular, and it offers better passing power with a minimal drop in gas mileage.

The Flex impresses with its smooth and comfortable ride. Its suspension sops up uneven road surfaces without fuss, yet it also keeps the boxy SUV composed around tight corners. The brakes provide confident stopping power, and the responsive steering helps the Flex feel quite maneuverable for its size.

Does the 2016 Ford Flex Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Flex gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway (16/22 mpg city/highway, AWD) with its standard V6 engine, which is a bit low by class standards. The twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 returns a similar 15/21 mpg.

2016 Ford Flex Towing Capacity

The Ford Flex is rated to tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped with its optional towing package.

Read more about Flex performance »

2016 Flex Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Flex Seat?

The 2016 Ford Flex is a 3-row SUV with seating for seven. Second-row captain’s chairs are available, but they lower the seating capacity to six. The Flex offers generous head- and legroom in its first and second rows, and unlike many of its midsize SUV competitors, even its third row can fit adults comfortably. Accessing these back seats is simple, thanks to middle seats that fold forward with the pull of a lever. The Flex’s driving position offers great outward visibility. Its cabin features crisp styling and remains hushed at highway speeds as well. That said, a number of the interior plastics look and feel rather cheap.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Ford Flex?

The Flex has three full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child seats. The IIHS gave the SUV’s LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use, noting some of the anchors are hard to access and can be confused for other hardware.

2016 Ford Flex Features

The Flex is available with two different infotainment systems. Base models are equipped with a 4.2-inch screen, which displays the radio, CD player, and Bluetooth functions. The Flex SEL and Limited models each have an 8-inch touch screen with Ford’s SYNC 3 software. The standard screen and its buttons are small and fairly awkward to use. The SYNC 3 touch screen reacts quickly and features user-friendly menus. It also recognizes many common smartphone inputs, like pinch-to-zoom and swiping.

See 2016 Ford Flex specs »

Read more about Flex interior »

2016 Ford Flex Dimensions

Ford Flex Cargo Space

The Flex has 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, and 43.2 cubic feet with the seats folded. Overall cargo space jumps to 83.2 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded, which is about average for the midsize SUV class.

2016 Flex Length and Weight

The 2016 Ford Flex is 16.8 feet long. Depending on the engine and trim level, the Flex’s curb weight ranges from 4,439 to 4,828 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Ford Flex Built?

The 2016 Ford Flex was built in Canada.

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