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#16

in 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $12,737 - $16,968
Original MSRP: $28,550 - $36,810
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2009 Ford Flex Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Ford Flex delivers competent performance, though some reviewers find it boring. Test drivers especially like the ample engine power and smooth ride, but most still classify the overall driving experience as just adequate.

  • "Although looking at a Flex might get people excited, driving it won't. With its 262-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 248 pound-feet of torque, it is far from slow, but it's also far from fun." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Flex is remarkably quiet, with a well controlled ride, yet has the steering response of a much smaller car." -- Road and Track
  • "The experience of driving or riding in the 2009 Ford Flex is more serene than you might anticipate, given Ford's previous family-truckster efforts." -- Edmunds
  • "According to Ray, it drives exactly like a Taurus X, which is to say depressingly adequately, which doesn't compensate for the fuel consumption, 16/22 for the AWD version is too SUV-like to wow us." -- Jalopnik
  • "In our testing, we found the Flex to be an easy driver, if a bit bland. To overcome the transmission's high shift points, you will have to lead foot it for merging and passing maneuvers, but the Flex cruises without hassle. The transmission has a low range, but that's only suitable for steep grades or slippery surfaces at low speeds. All normal driving is handled by the Drive mode, with no option for manual gear selection." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

The Flex comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 262 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. According to the EPA, the FWD Flex achieves 17/24 mpg city/highway, while the AWD model achieves 16/22 mpg city/highway. Testers say the Flex's power is just adequate, and many are looking forward to the 2010 model, which will offer a much more powerful turbocharged V6 on its options list.

  • "The engine is silent at cruising speeds but is loud and rather unhappy under full throttle." -- Car and Driver
  • "Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that is designed to pull away in first gear, the Flex easily moves itself around without hesitation. Only in the canyons did we find ourselves getting a bit frustrated with the transmission's electronic brain. The slushbox wanted to save fuel. We wanted torque." -- Autoblog
  • "Should you want to humiliate a Honda Odyssey in a boulevard drag race, you're going to have to wait until next year when the twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 sneaks onto the Flex's options sheet. The 340-hp so-called EcoBoost mill should make the Flex the undisputed badass of the day care circle drive." -- Edmunds
  • "No powerhouse, but Flex has adequate muscle to cope with most passing and merging needs, even with a full load of passengers." -- Consumer Guide  

Handling and Braking

The Flex features an independent front and rear suspension that makes for a smooth ride. Reviewers say its handling isn't sporty, but it takes turns and bumps better than some of its more softly-tuned rivals. 

  • "Regardless of whether one chooses the front- or all-wheel-drive model (weighing 4500 or 4650 pounds, respectively), there is nothing overtly sporty about the Flex. But in all fairness, this shouldn't be problematic for buyers. The chassis is well tuned for a family crossover, with pleasantly direct steering that has just the right amount of boost and good on-center feel." -- Car and Driver
  • "As if the styling isn't enough to differentiate the Flex from workaday crossovers and stroller-toting minivans, Ford has been eager to make the driving experience something unexpected. And, indeed, for a big ocean-going passenger liner of a vehicle, the Flex is pretty damn composed through bends." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling is as you would expect in any large vehicle. Which is to say that this is not really a corner clipper. Special attention needs be paid while parking and lane changing, as one would with a minivan." -- Left Lane News
  • "Driving Flex threw me back to the family station wagon days -- I felt like my dad must have felt, cruising down the highway in my land yacht. The vehicle is too wide and too slow-footed to really get under the skin of a driving enthusiast, but it is so loaded with style and technology that it is bound to catch the interest of automotive enthusiasts." -- About.com