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2019 Ford Flex Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.0

The 2019 Ford Flex gets adequate power from its base engine, but the available turbocharged engine feels much stronger and makes for a better driving experience. With either engine, expect to spend plenty of time at the gas station; the Flex's fuel economy ratings are among the worst in the class. 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)
  • "Both [engine choices] 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 features a 287-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. For daily driving, this engine gets the job done. However, it can feel overworked if you have a vehicle filled with people and/or cargo.

The Limited trim offers a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine that produces 365 horsepower. It provides noticeably better acceleration than the base engine and doesn't have the same strained feeling in certain driving situations. Note that upgrading to this engine also requires you to add all-wheel drive.

According to EPA estimates, the Flex gets 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with its base engine. Those are some of the worst ratings in the class. With the EcoBoost engine, the numbers are even worse: 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

When properly equipped, the Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds. That's a respectable amount for a midsize SUV, though some competitors can tow more. On the bright side, the Flex generally doesn't feel strained when pulling an open-air trailer or a boat, as long as it's equipped with the turbocharged engine.

  • "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

This Ford delivers a generally smooth ride, and comfort is its top priority. The ride does get a little rough over shoddy pavement, however. The Flex is no corner carver, but there isn't much body lean around corners, and it's more maneuverable than its size would indicate. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Flex drives smaller than it looks because it doesn't lean as much as taller SUVs when you're going around turns. But it never feels nimble due to its long length, high weight, low-grip tires and occasional intrusive stability control system." -- Edmunds
  • "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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