$23,550 - $34,014

2018 Ford Flex Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.1

The 2018 Ford Flex has an adequate base engine. A turbocharged V6 that delivers great acceleration is available. With either engine, the Flex gets worse gas mileage than many other midsize SUVs. Handling is reliable and ride quality is mostly fine, but this isn't the most comfortable or athletic SUV out there.

  • "The 2016 Ford Flex is pleasant to drive in any form, but the Limited's optional turbocharged V6 transforms this family wagon into a fire-breather." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • Ford offers two V6 engine choices in the Flex, including a powerful twin-turbo version. Both are reasonably fuel efficient on the highway, though city economy is nothing to write home about. All-wheel drive is available for those who regularly deal with winter's worst. What the Flex lacks in off-road and towing ability (it's rated at a max of 4,500 pounds), it more than makes up for in ordinary driving." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "Other positives include optional all-wheel drive, a respectable driving experience, and an available twin-turbo engine." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The base Flex comes with a 287-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine has enough power most of the time, but it can feel strained when packed with a full complement of people or a lot of cargo.

The Limited trim is available with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine that produces 365 horsepower. This engine feels much stronger and has little trouble moving the Flex. It also provides better acceleration than many class rivals.

Gas mileage is poor for the class with either engine, but the base engine is the better choice. It gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. In comparison, the EcoBoost engine gets just 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway.

  • For the majority of drivers, the base 3.5-liter V6 should be adequate, but a Flex loaded to the brim with passengers and cargo will tax that engine. The turbocharged EcoBoost engine certainly solves that problem, and it's downright fast on the open road, accelerating into arrest-me range with astonishing ease. In addition to the power bump, the EcoBoost adds a hint of athleticism with a slightly stiffer suspension. Of course, the hot-rod Flex commands a hefty price premium, but if you're looking for some excitement in your family hauler, it's well worth the stretch." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Power from the base V6 isn't bad, but we prefer the 365 horsepower offered by the EcoBoost V6. When so equipped, the Flex offers up more power than any rival V6, and even more horsepower than the Hemi-powered Dodge Durango." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The base 3.5-liter V6 is satisfyingly strong and linear when passing and merging, but if you're looking for thrilling acceleration, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is the obvious choice. Not many crossovers can keep up with the twin-turbo Flex." -- Autotrader (2015)

Handling and Braking

The Flex delivers solid, if unspectacular, handling. It's not one of the most athletic SUVs in the class, but it's pretty maneuverable and doesn't lean too much around turns. Steering feel garners mixed reviews: some may find it numb, while others may find it responsive. The Flex rides smoothly over most road surfaces, though bumpy roads can lead to a jarring ride. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

  • With such a strong focus on utility, it's no surprise that the Flex generally prioritizes comfort over responsive handling. That said, the Flex's steering is responsive, and this boxy bus is rock-solid stable on the highway. It's also very easy to see out of. The Flex's age shows when ruts and bumps rock the cabin; most competitors are newer and better at soaking up body movements while traveling over rough pavement. Overall, though, the 2017 Ford Flex makes for a rewarding companion, whether you're tackling the morning carpool or a coast-to-coast trek." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Despite its wide and long body, Ford's Flex crossover SUV for 2015 manages to feel maneuverable and responsive, even in tight situations. The Flex demonstrates impressive poise in sharp turns, remaining relatively flat when cornering but delivering somewhat numb feedback through its electric-assist power steering. Sway and body roll are kept to a minimum, and ride comfort is above par for this class." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "We also like Flex's refined nature and good handling." -- Consumer Guide (2015)

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